In the same way that a little wine may be good for the heart, it might also help avoid depression, a Spanish study suggests.
Drinking a lot of wine or other alcohol may be a sign of depression or other mental health problems, but alcohol in moderation may benefit mental health, the study authors contend.
"One drink a day, preferentially wine, may help prevent depression," said lead researcher Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, chair of the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra, in Pamplona.
But several mental health experts not involved with the study had reservations about the findings. And the research only found an association between moderate drinking and emotional well-being; it didn't prove cause-and-effect.
Martinez-Gonzalez said he thinks the apparent benefit of wine in preventing depression may work the same way that moderate drinking helps prevent heart disease. If the connection does exist, it could have to do with the neuroprotective effects of the antioxidants in wine, like resveratrol.
"Depression and heart disease seem to share some common mechanisms because they share many similar protective factors and risk factors," he said. However, he added that depression prevention is not a reason to start drinking.
"If you are not a drinker, please don't start drinking," he said. "If you drink alcohol, please keep it in the range of one or less drinks a day and consider drinking wine instead of other alcoholic beverages."
The report was published in the online journal BMC Medicine.
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