Whenever my friend orders a drink or a glass of wine, he always jokes that it's "strictly for medicinal purposes" or "doctor's orders." After all, moderate alcohol consumption appears to have a number of well-publicized health benefits. Statistically, people who have a drink or so a day live a bit longer than teetotalers.
Why? Mostly because moderate alcohol consumption is good for your heart. It reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke-presumably by thinning the blood and reducing inflammation. Although the cardiovascular benefits account for most of the impact on longevity, a bit of alcohol also seems to reduce the risk of many other diseases.
It doesn't matter what kind of alcohol you drink, either. Red wine may offer a little extra health boost in the form of polyphenols that are found in the skins of the grapes. You can get these same compounds in nonalcoholic grape juice, by the way. But in terms of overall health and longevity, beer, wine, and spirits all have about the same benefits.