Certainly not "lots" but moderate amounts of both coffee and alcohol have been associated with some health benefits. Keep in mind as you read below that if you are not drinking alcohol or coffee now, there is no reason to start, i.e. you can achieve the same health benefits consuming a healthy diet with a daily multivitamin & mineral and exercising regularly. As mentioned, health benefits have been associated with moderate alcohol consumption (2 drinks/day for men; 1 for women) and regular coffee drinking (3-6 cups/day and more in some cases). Benefits of moderate alcohol consumption: reduced risk of heart attack and stroke; increases HDL (good cholesterol) and reduces blood clotting, which is probably the reason for a reduction on heart attacks and strokes.

Additionally, just recently moderate alcohol consumption was connected to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, gallstones and cognitive decline. The down side is that moderate drinking can lead to excessive drinking that is not only extremely detrimental to YOUR health but also to the health of people around you. So keep it moderate or don’t drink*. One drink contains 14 grams of alcohol, meaning one 12 oz beer (5% alcohol), one 5 oz glass of wine (12%) or one 1.5 oz of hard liquor (40% or 80 proof). It does appear that alcohol itself, and not the source, is responsible for the benefits.

Coffee benefits mainly come from caffeinated coffee and they include increases in HDL, reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, some cancers, dementia and diabetes. In the latter, the more you drink the greater the benefit up to 12 cups/day! As long as you can tolerate caffeine, moderate coffee drinking appears to be part of a healthy diet.

*Although high consumption of alcohol (2-3 times more than moderate) was still associated with a reduction in heart disease, drinking more than 2-4 drinks daily dramatically increases the risks of consuming more, which not only will negate any benefits, but will also lead to disease and danger to others.

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