Drinking a little alcohol every day, especially wine, may be associated with an increase in life expectancy in middle-aged men.
Dutch researchers, reporting on March 1, 2007, at the American Heart Association's 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease and Prevention, found that light intake of wine - an average of roughly a half glass per day - by men tracked for more than 40 years was associated with a lower rate of cardiovascular death and of death from all causes, and a nearly four year increase in lifespan.
Light consumption of spirits and beer showed an average 1.6 year lifespan increase.
This study interests me because it shows a mortality benefit to light alcohol consumption, rather than a mere cardiovascular benefit, as some previous studies have done.
If you don't drink, I do not recommend starting solely in pursuit of better health, because other studies have shown more ambiguous results.
But if you enjoy occasional alcohol anyway, it is becoming increasingly clear that light alcohol consumption can indeed be part of a healthy lifestyle.