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The risks involved with alcohol, though, are associated with heavy or at-risk drinking, rather than regular light to moderate drinking.

Did you know?

All of us know that alcohol consumption can cause health problems, including major ones like cirrhosis of the lever. Alcohol has been linked to more than 60 diseases. It does all kinds of things to your body, and we are still not fully aware of all its effects.

The risks involved with alcohol, though, are associated with heavy or at-risk drinking, rather than regular light to moderate drinking. And to be honest, the health effects of alcohol are actually very complex and vary between individuals. They also depend on the amount consumed as well as the type of alcoholic beverage.

Alcohol, the most popular recreational beverage in the world, can have very powerful effects on your mood and mental state. It makes it easier for you to act without inhibition, by reducing self-consciousness and shyness. It can also impair judgment and make you do things that you end up regretting doing. But as long as you are not binge drinking, it might even be good for your health.

Know Your Drink – Wine, Beer, Liquor and other spirits

Red wine, in small amounts, is linked to various health benefits. A glass could help you with weight loss. According to a study, a chemical called ellagic acid is present in the dark grapes found in some types of red wine can help people manage a metabolic fatty liver and obesity. This chemical helps boost the metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells by slowing down the growth of fat cells and stopping new ones from being created.

Antioxidants in red wine can help you reduce the risk of a cold by 60 per cent, though probably you should not drink while you have a cold. If you drink wine a few times with dinner a week, it can also help enhance the effects of vaccines, thereby working in your favour during the flu season.

Wine drinkers experienced lower rates of erectile dysfunction than those who do not drink, found scientists from the University of Western Australia. This may also be attributed to the same antioxidants which are also good for the heart. And women who drank one to two glasses of wine had heightened libido, as compared to those who did not drink it, says a Journal of Sexual Medicine.

According to a research published in the Journal of Physiology, the resveratrol found in most red wines can improve muscle strength and enhance exercise performance.

Beer is packed with high levels of magnesium, calcium and B vitamins, riboflavin and thiamin. Dark beers have even more benefits because of the high iron content in it, which helps in oxygen circulation around the body. An ice cold beer can hydrate you just as water does, suggests a Spanish study.

According to a report by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a compound called xanthohumol is found in beer. It could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease by protecting brain cells from damage. The high silicon content in beer is responsible for an increase in bone density, especially for women.

Another reason why beer should be a girl’s best friend is that according to a 2006 study, the chemicals in the beer may act as phytoestrogens, which can lessen menopause symptoms like hot flushes. A bottle beer reportedly can help you reduce the risk of kidney stones by 30 per cent.

Now for a quick look at the harder stuff.

– Apart from improving blood circulation, vodka helps more collateral vessels to develop, which in turn helps connect the heart to the lungs

  • Research suggests that the natural sugar found in tequila is better than artificial sweeteners to help you shed the pounds
  • According to a study from Consciousness and Cognition, cranberry and vodka can boost your creativity

Before you pick the glass up

Moderate drinking looks to be good for the heart and circulatory system. It is also said to protect against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. But what does moderate drinking mean? It means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.

The definition of one drink is –

Beer: 12 fluid ounces or 355 ml

Wine: 5 fluid ounces or 148 ml

Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 ml

*Disclaimer

Even if alcohol offers benefits, too much of it may damage your heart and increase your risk of health problems. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified alcoholic beverages as a Group 1 carcinogen (cancerous) as well.

Moderation is the key when it comes to alcohol. If you drink, do so moderately, but if you do not, it’s better not to start just to reap the possible benefits. It is safe to avoid alcohol entirely in some cases because the risks involved are not outweighed by the benefits.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising are some other steps you can take to improve your health besides drinking. It is universally agreed that no one with a problem with an alcohol dependency should drink, and nor should a woman who is pregnant. Drinking has to be individualized according to the specific person. Age, sex, specific medical problems, and family history should be taken into account.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the question if it is better to drink or not to drink. Follow this rule – too much of nothing is good, and you should be okay. Happy sensible drinking!