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Recent scientific findings show that drinking one or two glasses of wine a day can help protect against brittle bones. The study found that women who regularly drank wine experienced a reduction in bone density when they gave up drinking for a couple of weeks. However, other studies show that drinking every day can be damaging to your health. Reading about research results such as these often leave me wondering where the happy medium is: when is wine good and when is it bad?
The results of the study, conducted by Swedish researchers, were published in an online medical journal, Menopause. The results of the study showed that having three glasses of wine halved a women’s risk of developing arthritis. Women often experience a drastic drop in bone mass when they reached menopause. To avoid this leading to problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis, it’s generally recommended that women build up a healthy bone density by maintaining a healthy balanced diet and by exercising enough to ensure joint resilience and mobility. So for those women who are concerned about osteoporosis or arthritis, a regular glass of wine isn’t such a bad way to maintain healthy bones.
The reason women tend to lose bone mass after menopause is the reduction in the production of oestrogen. Oestrogen keeps bone turnover down. Alcohol, researchers discovered, worked in a similar way to oestrogen, in other words reducing bone turnover. They also noticed that the key to maintaining a healthy bone mass is moderation, as heavy drinkers showed the same bone mass levels as those who didn’t enjoy the odd glass of wine.
So what we can really conclude from research such as this, which is always the case, is that wine is good in moderation and when it forms part of a healthy diet. This is particularly important in a woman’s menopausal and postmenopausal stages. According to the charity, Drink Aware, the government recommends that women keep to 2 – 3 units of alcohol three to four times a week. Drinking more than that is considered regular drinking. This means that drinking this amount of alcohol every single day is not recommended and won’t just affect bone density but also your overall health. You can work out how many units of alcohol you’ve taken in by using this calculation:
Strength x Volume (ml) ÷ 1000 = Number of units
By this I don’t mean that drinking should be considered a food source or a replacement for anything you eat, but it’s important to consider the calorie intake when you drink. This can ensure that you are aware of how drinking fits into your diet, as many people don’t always consider that what they drink as a dietary factor. If drinking is considered as part of your diet it can make you more aware of your intake.