Daily distraction: Cheers! 6 ways a little booze does the body good

Dec. 30, 2009 at 10:37 AM ET

Drinking in moderation may ward off dementia and prolong your life For many Americans, drinking is as much a part of this season as mistletoe and noisemakers — it’s hard to imagine a celebration that doesn’t go better with a little liquid cheer. To be sure, alcohol is addictive to a certain percentage of the population; approximately 17.6 million Americans abuse alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Further, scientists have demonstrated beyond a doubt that heavy drinking can hurt your heart and rot your brain. But those who can hail the holidays with just a glass or two, can relax and have fun knowing their drinking might actually bring some health benefits. Researchers have determined that moderate alcohol consumption is good for a host of body systems, from the head to the heart. So this year, feel free to eat, drink and be merry as long as you follow the age-old adage: “Moderation in all things.”... Read the full story.Related stories:Ring in 2010 with Mark Bittman's tasty meal