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Alcohol - Health Boost or Health Risk?

Alcohol - Health Boost or Health Risk?

Health conscious people are confused on whether they should enjoy alcoholic beverages or not. Some people tout the health benefits offered by alcoholic beverages, while others warn about the health risks associated with alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol does have both advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to know how to reap the benefits without taking a change on the dangers.

How much is enough and how much is too much

Determining the appropriate amount of alcohol to drink to reap the health benefits and avoiding the health risks is difficult; however, the latest consensus is no more than one or two drinks daily for men and no more than one alcoholic beverage for women. One drink equals five ounces of wine, twelve ounces of beer or one and a half ounces of spirits. These measurements deliver approximately twelve grams of alcohol.

The Health Benefits of Alcohol Consumption

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with lowering the risk of ischemic stroke, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease and other fatal cardiovascular episodes. In fact, studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk by as much as 40 percent. This reduction has been observed in both men and women equally. Researchers believe that alcohol protects against cardiovascular disease by raising good cholesterol in the body, which helps protect against heart disease.

Additionally, moderate consumption helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30 percent.

Another benefit is a reduced risk of developing gallstones. The University of East Anglia found that drinking two servings of alcohol daily could decrease the risk of gallstones by as much as 30 percent. However, too much alcohol can actually increase your risk of gallstones.

Drinking a glass of wine or enjoying a beer can help protect against erectile dysfunction. Researchers at the University of West Australia have found that moderate consumption can lower the risk of developing erectile dysfunction by 25 percent.

Say goodbye cold and hello health. Spanish researchers have found that drinking one to two glasses of red wine daily can reduce the risk of developing a cold by as much as 60 percent. The researchers think that this has to do with the antioxidants found in red wine.

Do you want to reduce the risk of developing dementia?

Moderate alcohol consumption can lower stress and help protect the brain cells. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that moderate alcohol consumption could lower the risk of developing cognitive impairments, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease by as much as 23 percent.

The dangers of alcohol consumption

Heavy drinking (more than three drinks a day) and binge drinking (more than four drinks in two hours) can cause serious health problems, including increasing the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing breast cancer in women. Both men and women are at an increased risk of developing mouth, larynx, esophagus and pharynx cancers. This risk is exponentially increased if tobacco products are used in conjunction with alcohol consumption.

Too much alcohol can cause a variety of cardiovascular problems, including alcoholic cardiomyopathy, which is damage to the heart muscle directly related to alcohol consumption. Researchers believe that overindulgence may also cause heart arrhythmias, also known as irregular heart rhythms. Finally, heavy alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and sudden cardiovascular related deaths.

Alcohol consumption can damage the liver and lead to liver disease. Patients who binge drink or drink more than two servings of alcohol daily increase their risk of alcoholic hepatitis. Scar tissue, also known as cirrhosis, forms in the liver when the liver breaks down alcohol.

Excessive alcohol consumptions can allow toxic substances to build up in the body, which can cause a variety of problems, including damage to the excretory system, the central nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system and the immune system. To protect your health, limit your consumption to one to two servings.

To drink or not to drink- that is the question haunting so many people today. There are many health benefits offered by consuming moderate amounts of alcohol; however, there are also many health risks associated with overindulging. Therefore, if you are going to drink for your health, it is essential to drink in moderation.

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