It’s been widely reported (and documented in countless viral memes and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol purchases among US adults were up most months of 2020 over the previous three years. If you’ve found yourself reaching for an extra glass of wine or beer more often over the past two years, you’re not alone. But, new research suggests your drink of choice could impact your likelihood to catch — or avoid — Covid-19.
A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition evaluated data from nearly 500,000 individuals and found that while mortality rates from Covid-19 didn’t appear to vary between those who consumed alcohol and those who abstained, consumption of some types of alcohol reduced the risk of contracting Covid-19 while others increased it.
Before we go any further, it’s critical to note that no risk reduction is a substitute for full vaccination against Covid-19. Your best protection against the virus is to remain up to date with all recommended vaccinations and boosters first and foremost.
The Results — Good News for Wine Drinkers
The study found that those who drank one to two glasses of red wine per day had between a 10 and 17 percent lower risk of getting Covid-19 when compared with teetotalers. White wine drinkers in the study who drank between one and four glasses a week reduced their risk of contracting Covid-19 by 7 to 8 percent.
Meanwhile, beer and cider drinkers increased their risk of contracting the virus by 28 percent over non-drinkers, regardless of the amount they consumed. Those who drink five or more hard alcohol drinks a week also increased their risk of infection. Heavy drinkers of all types of alcohol also had an increased risk.
The study cited the presence of polyphenols in red wine as a likely explanation for the findings, noting that polyphenols inhibit the effects of several types of viruses.
While the study’s findings don’t mean you should start guzzling Cabernet with reckless abandon, they do reinforce previous research highlighting red wine’s health benefits and serve as a good reminder that all drinks are definitely not created equal.