A glass of whiskey on a wooden table.

The Benefits of Functional Alcohol

Understanding the Benefits of Alcohol

Is alcohol good for you? Are there any health benefits gained from consuming alcohol in moderation? This article will discuss the health benefits of alcohol while consumed in moderation, the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption and how you can enjoy the benefits of alcohol consumption by following safe drinking tips.

What is a Moderate Drinker?

According to the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory, moderate drinking equals a maximum of one drink per day for women, and a maximum of two drinks per day for men. There have been studies that show that moderate drinkers of alcohol experience some health benefits.

Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with reduced hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to fat deposits, decreasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Studies on beer and wine have shown that both beverages, when taken moderately, provide these cardiovascular effects.

Among alcoholic beverages, wine is thought to have the most beneficial effect on cardiovascular problems. Wine contains polyphenols which are found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These phenols are also found in beer.

Drinking alcohol in moderation has also been linked to decreased risk for type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies have documented this, but the exact cause is still not clearly identified.

Drinking alcohol moderately can also help to keep your cognitive function sharp as you age. Moderate drinkers were found to be less likely to develop dementia and other cognitive illnesses. Experts believe that alcohol itself may help protect the brain from damage. For example, red wine has a compound called resveratrol which was found to be neuroprotective and can be responsible for preventing dementia among elders.

Understanding the Risks

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to several health risks. These include an increased risk of liver inflammation, causing significant damage and scarring. Too much alcohol has been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as mouth and throat cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.

Consuming alcohol can also interact with certain medications, leading to the prolonged circulation of these medications in the bloodstream.

If someone drinks too much alcohol regularly, they can also develop an addiction. Alcohol abuse often requires treatment and a support system in order for the person to get and stay sober.

Safe Alcohol Consumption

Every person may react differently to alcohol and the amounts they consume. Some people may be able to drink more than others without feeling any negative effects. However, others may have a low tolerance to alcohol. That is why it’s important to know how to safely drink alcohol and make sure you only consume it in moderation. By doing this, you can enjoy the alcohol benefits while minimizing the risks.

The first tip to drink safely is to set a limit. We now know that moderate drinking consists of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women, and we should stick to that. Another way to limit yourself is to only drink on certain days, such as on the weekend.

Another tip is to drink slowly, especially if you are not used to consuming alcohol or are trying a new alcoholic beverage. Alternating alcoholic beverages with nonalcoholic beverages is also helpful, or you can put ice or water in your drink to dilute it. You can also eat food before or during drinking alcohol so you feel full and would not reach for another alcoholic drink.

Having a support group is also helpful so you can be accountable for each other.

Part of being safe includes knowing what activities you should limit once you consume alcohol. If you're drinking alcohol, don't get behind the wheel of a car, and be sure you are with people that have your back and can keep you safe. Be sure to listen to your body as well; it is better to be safe and responsible.

Final Notes

It's important to drink in moderation and be aware of the potential risks of drinking too much. Doctors may still warn you about alcohol, but alcohol benefits you if consumed moderately. Always consult with your doctor first to make sure drinking alcohol will not cause any health problems.

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