Is Alcohol Really Healthy for You?
In the Bible, the Apostle, Paul, recommended that Timothy drink wine for his stomach’s sake and for his continuous ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). Recent studies in the United States found that a drink of almost any type of alcohol can lower death rates by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
So it seems the ancients and even modern scientists agree that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is good for you. By moderate, I mean no more than one serving a day for women and no more than two servings per day for men. Examples of one serving:
• 5 ounces of wine – about half a glass
• 12 ounces of a beer or wine cooler
• 8 ounces of malt liquor
• 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey, etc.
The Darker the Alcohol the Better
Darker alcohol such as red wine and dark brown beer are in a more natural state so that’s why I recommend them over the lighter forms of alcohol, but research does not distinguish between red wine, white wine, or any other type of alcohol for that matter. The health benefits are seemingly the same if consumed according to the recommendations of one serving per day for women and no more than two servings per day for men.
How Does Alcohol Actually Work to Improve Health?
Some think that the health benefits of drinking wine is due to the antioxidant action of polyphenol compounds or, resveratrol, in grapes used to make wine. Alcohol is also believed to protect the heart by preventing clotting of the blood. Also proven is that alcohol increases HDL (good cholesterol), and lower LDL (bad cholesterol), while decreasing blood pressure.
No matter what the results are from the final research, maybe the real benefit of drinking alcohol is its ability to allow people to relax in a very stressful world.
Drinking moderate amounts alcohol is believed to:
• Prevent heart disease
• Prevent or control diabetes
• Lower risk for dementia as well as boost memory
• Prevent certain types of cancer – such as kidney cancer
Drinking Moderates Amounts of Alcohol May Help You Lose Weight
In a study of almost 50,000 women, those who drank moderately (one drink per day) gained less weight than women who abstained—and less than those who had two or more drinks per day. The researchers conducting this study are not sure how this works but they think alcohol may help burn calories if consumed in moderate amounts.
Over Drink Alcohol and You Will Suffer
When it comes to the health benefits of drinking, more alcohol is certainly not better. Once you exceed one glass of wine per day for women or two glasses a day for men you are entering into the land of possible complications. By exceeding the daily limit of alcohol your liver goes into overdrive in order to clean out your system. This excessive work by the liver can ultimately lead to liver failure.
Other problems can also occur in the body due to consuming excessive amounts of alcohol such as:
• Breast cancer
• Uterine cancer
• Liver cancer
• Colon cancer
• Cancers upper GI tract – mouth, throat, and esophagus
• High triglycerides (a type of bad fat)
• High blood pressure
• Heart failure
Yikes! The above list is one you want to avoid.
Remember Alcohol is Very Additive
If you drink, be aware of the risks of alcoholism. People who have a family history of alcoholism, have about three times the risk of becoming alcoholics, so make certain you are aware of your family history if you are considering drinking for health benefits.
Also, if you know in your heart that you are not able to stop at one to two drinks a day, you just shouldn’t drink. In addition, people with liver disease and heart failure (a weak heart) shouldn’t drink. Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent disease.
Have Wine with Foods that are Filling
If you drink alcohol with a well balanced diet of whole grains, quality protein, healthy fats and veggies you’ll feel full, and subsequently, you will drink less. You should never drink on an empty stomach.
Also a good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every serving of alcohol.
Give yourself a chance to recover after drinking alcohol
It takes four to six hours for the body to break down alcohol, so if you know you have to be at work at 7 AM and you need to be sharp and alert don’t drink alcohol too late the night before.
Summary About Drinking Alcohol
1. Any type of alcohol, in moderation, appears to provide some health benefits.
2. Darker colored alcohol is healthier
3. Over drinking poses risks for alcoholism and other health problems
4. Never consume alcohol on an empty stomach and drink plenty of water while drinking alcohol.
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