While experts agree that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious health problems, some research suggests that moderate alcohol intake may have certain health benefits. Alcoholic drinks with potential health benefits include red wine, vodka soda, and light beer.

Not all alcoholic beverages are equal, and some may be healthier than others. For example, some cocktails contain excessive sugar and calories, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues. In contrast, other drinks, such as red wine, may contain compounds beneficial to health.

By understanding the potential risks and benefits of different types of alcoholic beverages, individuals can make informed decisions and opt for the healthiest alcohol to drink in moderation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderation, or a standard drink in the U.S., is two drinks or less a day for men and one drink a day or less for women. One drink can mean 12 ounces (oz) of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 8 oz of malt liquor.

This article explores 10 options for healthier alcoholic drinks.

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For those who enjoy an occasional drink but still prioritize their health, it can be challenging to understand which alcoholic beverages are the healthiest options.

Experts agree that excessive alcohol consumption can have serious negative health consequences, including:

However, research suggests that alcohol is both toxin and tonic, meaning that moderate alcohol intake has potential health benefits. These include cholesterol-lowering effects and heart health protection. Therefore, people should make informed choices when selecting what to drink and limit their intake.

Learn more about the potential health benefits of alcohol here.

Red wine comes from grapes, which contain antioxidant polyphenols, including resveratrol, anthocyanins, and catechins. These substances can help with:

  • lowering the risk of heart disease
  • protecting the brain and nerve cells by penetrating the blood-brain barrier
  • reducing platelet aggregation
  • preventing the formation of blood clots

Additional benefits may include protection from some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Learn more about the benefits of red wine here.

Vodka soda is low in sugar and fat. A standard vodka soda has 133 calories in a 7.5-oz serving, so it is relatively low in calories.

Furthermore, consuming vodka increases leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that adipose tissue (body fat) releases. It plays a crucial role in regulating long-term body weight as one of its primary functions is to regulate hunger and promote the sensation of satiety, or fullness, in the body.

Tequila comes from the blue agave plant, primarily grown in Mexico. This flavorsome spirit contains natural sugars called agavins, which may support digestive health and weight management.

A 2014 study showed that mice with free access to water with agavins consumed less food and lost more weight than mice given water with other sweeteners. However, results from animal studies do not necessarily translate to humans.

Learn more about the potential health benefits of tequila here.

The Bloody Mary combines vodka with tomato juice and various other seasonings, such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and celery salt. Besides the health benefits of vodka, they also provide vitamins and nutrients due to the tomato juice content.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that may protect against cancer, heart diseases, cognitive decline, and osteoporosis.

Learn more about the benefits of tomatoes here.

A white wine spritzer is a mix of white wine with club soda or sparkling water. With a 5-oz serving of white wine containing 121 calories, people can reduce their calorie and sugar intake while still enjoying a drink by diluting or mixing it with a calorie-free carbonated beverage. Choosing drier wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, further reduces the sugar content.

Like red wine, white wine also contains polyphenols that may provide health benefits.

Sparkling wines and Champagne are low in calories and carbohydrates, with a 4-oz serving containing around 80 calories. Like their noneffervescent counterparts, these wine varieties also contain healthy antioxidant polyphenols.

The bubbles in champagne also tend to make a person feel fuller, which may facilitate drinking less.

Mulled wine pairs the antioxidants of red wine with a blend of spices and herbs that may boost the health-supporting properties of the drink, such as ginger.

Traditionally, mulled wine contains sugar, but it can be replaced with stevia, a natural sweetener and alternative to sugar.

Hailing from Cuba, this refreshing cocktail contains rum, mint, lime, sugar, and soda water. Although rum does not appear to provide any specific health benefits, a Mojito is a low calorie option that people can dilute with more soda water and lime to lower its relative alcohol content.

A 6-oz serving of mojito contains around 140 calories, but people can replace the sugar in this zesty drink with stevia to reduce the sugar and calorie content.

Light beer is a lower calorie and sometimes lower alcohol alternative to regular beer. A person can enjoy 12 oz of light beer for around 100 calories.

Studies show that moderate beer consumption of one drink per day for females and one to two drinks daily for males helps decrease the risk of heart disease and overall mortality. It also has other metabolic health benefits.

Learn more about the potential health benefits of beer here.

Made from apples, cider contains less alcohol content than wine but is also rich in antioxidant plant compounds. These antioxidants help the body to fight free radicals and cell damage, which helps lower the risk of certain types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Cider is also gluten-free.

Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health consequences. However, consuming moderate amounts of some types of alcohol may have the opposite effect.

Some options for the healthiest alcohol to drink in moderation include red, white, and sparkling wine, low sugar cocktails, light beer, and cider.