Figures show a fifth of men and one in ten women drink nearly every day, with the middle-aged and middle-class most likely to fall into this category.

Drinking a couple of glasses of wine each day improves your quality of life, researchers say.

They found that those who drink in moderation had better scores in an index that measures factors such as dexterity, emotion, mobility and the ability to understand, than those who abstained.

US researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine studied 5 404 people of age 50 and continued to observe them over a follow-up period.

Those who drank in moderation scored better for dexterity, emotion and mobility, according to research.

Most showed a stable pattern of alcohol consumption and “persistent moderate drinkers” were identified.

They found that the regular moderate drinkers – those who consumed no more than 14 drinks a week and no more than three a day for women and four a day for men – scored highest in each section of a health utilities index.

Subsequent changes in quality of life past 50 were similar in all groups, except for those who cut down on drinking from moderate levels – and these showed signs of decline.

Other findings were:

l A brisk daily walk can cut the risk of breast cancer.

l Daffodils might hold the key to treating depression since compounds in the flower can pass through a blood brain barrier.

l Living near loud traffic increases your risk of having a heart attack.

The authors write: “Overall, this study shows a positive relationship between regular moderate alcohol intake and quality of life in middle-aged adults.”

They said it was unclear why continued moderate alcohol consumption seemed to have such a beneficial effect.

Other experts warned the study did not take into account the reasons people stopping drinking or cut down.

Harvey Finkel of Boston University Medical Centre said: “As people age, even disregarding medical obstacles, social interaction generally decreases, which leads to less stimulation to drink and less opportunity to drink.” – Daily Mail