How socializing with a cocktail is good for you!

by DavalosMcCormack on March 20, 2009

There is new research from Japan which focused on the health benefits of a good support network and a good stiff drink.   Well, actually the study didn’t say what kind of alcoholic drinks were used, but they studied the social benefits of blending  buddies and booze.

Now we all know that being social is better for your health because it means you have friends, a social network of people who support you through the good and the bad.

The Japanese study suggests that moderate social drinking coupled with high levels of social interchange boosts the benefits of  social and health aspects of alcohol.

So what do we learn?  Don’t drink alone?  Don’t drink to much? Or if you are around friends, have a drink?

Actually, they learned that light to moderate drinking and engaging in a social activity were linked to lower rates of heart disease and stroke.  The study, lead by Dr. Hiroyasu Iso from Osaka University warned that the beneficial effect is confined to light-to-moderate drinking.  Heavy drinking can become detrimental to the social occasion and the social exchanges experienced.

And if you know my family you can believe that too much socializing and too much alcohol make Big Rudy and Little Rudy trade fists on the front lawn… which, I can tell you wasn’t healthy for either one of them….but I digress.

The study only included Japanese men and it was done over 9 years of follow-up, which included  some folks who drank in the past and gave it up, some who drank lightly, moderately or more.  Those who  continued the light to moderate drinking and socializing were associated with reduced risks of stroke and heart disease.

And the benefit was more even more pronounced for men who had high levels of social support.

Dr.  Iso suggested that a larger support group may reflect more acceptance and therefore result in less unhealthy social behavior and that this support can then carry people through more stressful times.

The men who experienced lower levels of social support had unhealthier lifestyle behaviors and were more prone to a sedentary life, no job, no spouse, in general no one to bounce things off of, and less medical care for themselves.

So what do we learn?  While the study was only carried out in Japanese men it’s not too much of a stretch to see how it could apply to all men, and all women too.

So. Bottom line. Don’t drink alone, don’t drink to much, and enjoy your friends.

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