Health Drink: Alcohol?

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Studies have shown that those who consume alcohol in moderate amounts may have better health than does people who do not drink at all.  So would you qualify alcohol as a health drink?

These researches showed that those who drink alcohol moderately have lower risks and fewer heart attacks and strokes.  They are also less likely to have hypertension, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even the common cold.

In the Old and New Testament, the medicinal properties of alcohol were mentioned.  In the early 1900s, moderate alcohol drinking was already associated with  decreasing the risk of heart attacks.  Since then, there are continuous research studying on the medical attributes of alcohol.

Drinkers who drink sensibly are said to have longer lives.  Harvard and Chinese research show that men who drink have lower risk of death compared to those who does not drink at all.  Average difference would be from 21 to 28 percent.  Longevity is associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease.  Moderate drinkers showed that they have less cases of hospitalization.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism discovered that in 20 countries world-wide, those who have 20- 40 percent lower chances of having coronary heard disease are those who moderately drink alcohol.  Those who abstain and drink heavily has higher rate of mortality due to coronary heart disease.  A Harvard study was also conducted and showed that women who drink half a glass or five grams of alcohol a date lower the risk of coronary heart disease by half.

Aside from decreasing heart disease risk factors, moderate consumption of alcohol also increases the survivability of those who fall victims of this disease.  Light to moderate drinking of alcohol a year before an acute myocardial infarction or AMI can reduce the risk of death after.  While those who drink two to four drinks of alcohol after a heart attack are less likely to have a second heart attack incident.  Compared to those who abstain from alcohol, the risk factor is cut into half.

An American Heart Associate research states that light to moderate alcohol consumption can also lower the risk of stroke both in men and women, regardless of their age and their ethnicity.  While those young adults who drink one to three drinks a day have the lowest levels of hypertension.  Moderate drinkers are also less likely to have the Type 2 diabetes compared to high drinkers and abstainers.

Light to moderate drinkers are also more resistant to common colds compared to those who does not drink at all.  They also have a lower risk of kidney cancer.  They also have lower risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or cancer by 27 percent compared to abstainers.  And it goes on. 

Alcohol consumption, as long as it is light and moderate has significant health benefits.

But once alcohol is consumed in large doses and amounts, then we encounter a problem.  When we talk about drinking moderately, medical researchers and professionals would say that it is about one to three drinks a day.  For women, it should be 20 to 30 percent less than the average consumption of a man.  It is attributed mainly to smaller size and biological differences.

There are also some studies indicating the consumption of alcohol, even if in moderation, have significant effects on having higher risk of certain disease.  For women, there are studies that showed that an average one to two drinks a day can increase their risk of breast cancer. Pregnant women drinking can also fall victims to miscarriage or fetal alcohol syndrome which can have negative effects on the nervous system of the unborn child.  Cirrhosis of the liver, heart muscle damage and stroke can still be attributed to alcoholic consumption.

There are always two sides of a coin.  For alcohol it can be a drink beneficial to our health, but too much would lead to more sickness than cure.

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