Side Benefit for Alcohol Imbibers

Drinking wine, beer or other alcoholicbeverages may help prevent foodborne illness,according to an investigation in Spain that looked at who got sick and who didn’tin a group of 51 people exposed to contaminated food at a banquet. Partyers whodrank more than 40 grams of alcohol (about three beers, three glasses of wine orthree cocktails) during or immediately after eating were only half as likely tosuffer food poisoning from Salmonella-tainted food as teetotalers.Imbibers drinking up to 40 grams of alcohol had one-quarter the rate of illness.Alcohol may prevent infection by altering stomach acidity or via antibacterialeffects of the alcohol itself or of substances in alcoholic beverages. Previousstudies found alcohol was also protective against hepatitis A virus and Helicobacterpylori. Still, the investigators do not recommend drinking alcohol as asafeguard against foodborne illness.

Epidemiology, March 2002.
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