Drinking in moderation helped one perform better on index measuring dexterity, emotion, mobility and the ability to understand, than abstaining completely.
Researchers from US-based Boston University School of Medicine studied 5,404 people aged 50 years and continued to observe them over a follow-up period.
Most showed a stable pattern of alcohol consumption and “persistent moderate drinkers” were identified.
Regular moderate drinkers, those who consumed a maximum of 14 drinks a week and no more than three a day for women and four a day for men, were found to score highest in each section of the 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, the Daily Mail reports.
The authors write: “Overall, this study shows a positive relation between regular moderate alcohol intake and quality of life in middle-aged adults.”
They said it was unclear exactly why continued moderate alcohol consumption seemed to have such a beneficial effect.
Other experts warned that the study did not take into account the reasons for people stopping drinking or cutting down.
Harvey Finkel from the Boston University Medical Centre said: “As people age, even disregarding medical obstacles, social interactions generally decrease, which leads to both less stimulation to drink and less opportunity to drink.”