Ever since the beginning of time people have always believed, or wanted to believe, that alcohol is good for your health. Wine is something that the Ancient Egyptians held in high regard, and even used it as a form of daily medicine.
Sort of like how people take a multivitamin today.
In addition, spirits have been used for medicinal purposes all throughout history. People were often given a “dab of brandy” on cold days to warm them up. It has been used to cure coughs and help with pain.
Like it or not, alcohol has been used and accepted as a health benefit. However, is there any truth to this, or is it all personal beliefs and old wives’ tales?
You bet there is! In the 1940’s scientists really got into studying alcohol to show that it does, indeed, have health benefits. The Framingham Heart Study provided some solid evidence that alcohol is a great cardio-protectant.
Of course, many more studies soon followed. When researchers around the world realized that they could drink as a part of their daily jobs… Bottoms up! They were all on board. Since then, dozens and dozens of studies have been conducted claiming that alcohol is great for your health and can be used to increase life expectancy, reduce stress, help your heart, and many other things.
However, physicians in the medical industry have been reluctant to recommend alcohol consumption because of the many well-known health consequences associated with drinking excessively.
It’s no secret that drinking too much too often can cause liver problems, hypertension, increased rates of cancer, and blood issues. Not to mention all of the psychological and emotional consequences like anger, stress, poor judgment, slow response time, et cetera.
Obviously, alcohol can be both a good and a bad thing. But consider this, so can a lot of things. Take any great medicine that can save lives and really help you. Now, if you start taking way too much of that medicine you’ll be in for all sorts of problems.
However, if you consume it in moderation, then it will do what it is supposed to do and help you. The same is true with alcohol. If you consume it in moderation, then it will help you. If you abuse it, then it will end up doing more harm than good.
Therefore, the question is, how much is too much?
Several large-scale studies have set out to examine this question. The general consensus has been that men and women who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol live longer than those who drink no alcohol at all.
One study of roughly 90,000 men found that the men who drank five drinks a week lived longer than those who drank no alcohol. In addition, they also found that those who had more than two drinks each day had a higher risk of death than those who drank no alcohol.
In other words, those who drink one alcoholic drink a day five days a week have a greater chance of living longer than those who drink no alcohol. However, if you drink two or more drinks a day, then that is too much and the consumption of alcohol is no longer beneficial. So bottoms up! Start drinking to your health today! But what exactly are you drinking towards?
Alcohol can help increase levels of good cholesterol by reducing bad cholesterol. This is most likely due to the sanitization effect of alcohol and the fact that it has the power to increase feelings of euphoria in small doses. Alcohol also has antiplatelet effects.
This means that it can thin the blood making the cells in your blood less sticky and thus, less likely to clog arteries. This will also help with blood flow. Of course, it could be a problem if your blood gets too thin.
Alcohol also decreases certain elements for inflammation in your blood. These elements are elevated when you are stressed. Therefore, since alcohol decreases these elements, alcohol can also help reduce stress.
Moderate alcohol consumption may also help improve insulin resistance, which is a step below having diabetes. Thus, alcohol will help prevent the risk of heart disease for diabetic individuals.
In fact, those with diabetes who consume alcohol in moderation have the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease by 60 percent. Whereas, those without diabetes only have a 40 percent decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Clearly, drinking alcohol in moderation can be beneficial to your health. However, what form of alcohol is best? Basically, if you are drinking hard liquor or red wine then you are better off than if you are drinking beer or white wine.
This is because beer has a lot of carbohydrates and white wine has a lot of sugar. Whereas, hard liquor is straight alcohol and red wine is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants as well as being alcoholic.
Therefore, if you like beer, that is okay, but if you want the health benefits then you should be supplementing your beer with lower carb drinks.
It is also important to note that any kind of alcohol should be limited to one or two drinks for women and two or three drinks for men. However, to get maximum health benefits, women should only drink one drink three times a week and men should drink one drink five times a week.
This is simply based on body size, muscle mass, fat content, et cetera. Of course, these numbers are all changeable in the plus or minus one variation. Therefore, this is by no means a perfect amount for everyone. It is only a recommended amount.
A drink is defined as 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. It is important to remember to drink alcohol at your own risk and you must be of legal drinking age, which is something that should go without saying.
In addition, make sure you consume it in moderation and never operate machinery while under the influence of alcohol. Other than that, Bottoms Up! Here’s to your health!