Believe it or not, ending your day with a glass of wine or a serving of port may help your health in more ways than one. Here are four unexpected reasons a nightcap may be good for you.
1. A nightcap could help your ticker.
“If you’re not a wine lover, go ahead and pour yourself your favorite stout,” Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, owner of Nutrition à la Natalie, told Fox News. “Even though wine gets all the love, some research shows that beer might be just as healthy.” Consider a Swedish study published in July 2015 in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Care, which found that women who drank beer monthly or weekly had a 30 percent decreased risk of heart attack, versus non-beer-drinking ladies.
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2. A nightcap could help your cholesterol.
“Feel free to indulge in that vino on a daily basis,” Rizzo said. Why? It could help increase your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels. “A study (published in October 2015 in Annals of Internal Medicine) found that beginning a regimen of one 5-ounce glass of red wine per night in people with type 2 diabetes resulted in increased HDL levels,” Rizzo said. Higher HDL levels could help your heart health. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar level before, during, and after drinking — and eat before you drink to slow your body’s absorption of the alcohol into your bloodstream.
3. A nightcap can help you de-stress.
It’s called a nightcap for a reason. “Nightcaps add a nice punctuation to the end of your evening and may even support cardiovascular health,” Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, owner of ChampagneNutrition.com, told Fox News. Hultin suggested sipping on 1 to 2 ounces of Cognac. “It’s a liquor that contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, similarly to those in red wine. While a nightcap portion may not be enough to elicit benefits to your heart, Cognac does contain compounds that may be beneficial to your health.”
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4. A nightcap could save calories.
When you replace a high-calorie dessert with a small serving of alcohol, you could save calories. “Skip the rich treat and have a small nightcap instead,” Hultin said. “For comparison, a 2-ounce serving of port contains about 100 calories and no fat, while a cup of vanilla ice cream contains 170 calories and 15 grams of fat.” Hultin suggests having 1 to 2 ounces of port — and choosing a tawny one versus a ruby variety for a mellow and sweet drink. “Like red wine, port contains heart healthy antioxidants,” she added.
Whichever type of alcohol you choose to sip, remember to drink in moderation. The American Heart Association advises that women have an average of one drink or less daily and men have an average of two drinks or less daily. Drinking too much could lead to high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and other health problems. What counts as a drink? That would be 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirit, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirit.