Drink To Your Health – The Health Benefits of Alcohol
When people think about being healthy, thoughts of eating chicken and broccoli, running countless miles on the treadmill, and eliminating anything enjoyable, start to come to mind. Little do they know that they could be taking shots of vodka and reap the benefits that dieting and exercising offer. It’s not just vodka that offers health benefits; beer, wine, and all other types of liquors offer the same great health benefits as well.
This doesn’t mean, go run off to the nearest bar and start downing drink after drink. There is a huge difference between getting wasted and drinking. Binge drinking can introduce many health problems, even if it doesn’t happen frequently. In order to experience the multiple health benefits alcohol has to offer, the key word you have to remember is “moderation.”
How much is a “moderate amount”?
This is an area that isn’t as clear cut as the evidence supporting the health benefits. The word “moderation” can be defined differently and is based on the consumer’s health and family history, age, and sex. It’s not solely based on how much you have to drink in one setting, but also how frequently you drink as well. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers a more detailed guideline for moderate drinking; recommending that women consume no more than three drinks a day with an average of seven drinks per week and men consume no more than four drinks a day with an average of fourteen drinks per week.
What constitutes as one drink?
A standard drink is classified as:
1 ½ ounces of 80 proof liquor
5 ounces of wine
12 ounces of regular beer
What is the main benefit of moderately drinking?
A reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart disease is a primary benefit of moderately drinking. In the United States alone, heart disease kills around one million Americans per year and cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death. Multiple medical studies show that men and women, who drink at least 3 days a week, have fewer heart attacks and have longer lives than those who abstain from drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has shown that moderately drinking can decrease the risk of heart disease by 40-60 percent.
How does moderately drinking reduce cardiovascular and heart disease?
The main contributing factor alcohol has on heart health, is it’s affects on the blood vessels and arteries. Alcohol increases the elasticity of arteries, decreases LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), increases HDL cholesterol (the so-called good cholesterol), and decreases thrombosis (blood clotting). As a result, blockages in the arteries leading to the heart and brain are reduced. Alcohol also acts as a blood thinner and lowers blood pressure.
Isn’t exercise enough, to lower the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease?
Exercising and moderately drinking both lower the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease. The lowest risk is found with those who drink moderately and exercise, but those who moderately drink and don’t exercise have a lower risk of cardiovascular and heart disease than those that abstain from drinking and exercise.
What other benefits are associated with a moderate consumption of alcohol?
Medical studies have shown that men and women that engage in a moderate consumption of alcohol have a lowered risk of developing Type-II diabetes mellitus, than those who abstain from drinking. Alcohol reduces blood insulin levels and improves the sensitivity of insulin in the body, which helps prevent the onset of Type-II diabetes.
Research has found that men and women who drink frequently have a higher resistance level to five different strains of the common cold virus. The greatest resistance was in those who had 2-3 drinks daily and resistance was lower in those who consumed less.
The American Stroke Association has stated that due to the positive effect on HDL cholesterol levels, moderately drinking can reduce the risk of stroke by 50 percent.
Moderate Alcohol consumption has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing:
Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia
Different kinds of Arthritis
An enlarged prostate in men
Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
Cancer – Kidney, Lymphoma, Pancreatic, and Thyroid
Remember, Moderation is the only way to experience the benefits of drinking. Overdrinking/binge drinking is not only dangerous, but will eliminate all of the possible benefits alcohol provides, reduce your life span, and expose you to an array of disease. There is a huge difference between drinking one alcoholic beverage a day and drinking 15 drinks in one sitting. As long as you can control yourself, are considered “medically healthy and capable of,” and are of age, go ahead and drink up, your body will thank you with improved health.