The term alcohol usually incites judgment and association with its destructive effects. We can’t blame you for that because alcohol is indeed the cause of many health issues and interpersonal incidents. However, new studies suggest that alcohol could improve your health and lifespan. The key to enjoying the benefits of alcohol is consuming it in moderation. An article released in The Time Magazine states that moderate drinking can help you lead a longer and healthier life.
This research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference. The individual behind these findings is neurologist Claudia Kawas, who states that drinking two glasses of beer or wine daily can reduce the risk of premature death. In fact, she adds that it has even better statistics than those who exercise on a daily basis.
In order to determine this conclusion, Kawas and her colleagues took data from a long-term study that was conducted at the UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders and analyzed it. The study was called the 90+ study, which has been following elderly individuals who have lived in historic landmarks since 2003. This study exists to see which lifestyle practices gave people the best longevity.
After her team analyzed the data from the study, they concluded that individuals who consumed two glasses of wine or beer per day reduced their risk of early death by an astonishing 18%. To compare that statement, individuals who exercised between 15 to 45 minutes per day cut the same risk, but only by 11%.
This newfound research suggests that consuming alcohol could be the secret to living a longer life. But this study isn’t the first to link alcohol to a longer life. A 2015 study published in the journal BMJ Open found that those with mild Alzheimer’s and moderate drinking were less likely to die. In addition, a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that moderate drinkers reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn’t drink.
For the 2017 study, over 333,000 people were surveyed about their alcohol consumption and the type of lifestyle they lived. They were tracked for an average of eight years. Those who were light and moderate drinkers reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 25 to 30%.
Although research does suggest that moderate drinking could contribute to a longer life, we still need to remember that consuming large quantities of alcohol has consequences. If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol contains empty calories that will contribute to weight gain. I would also like to mention that if you are drinking alcohol, always make sure that you have the proper transportation home. Never drink and drive.
Depending on the dose and frequency of consumption, alcohol can either be a tonic or a poison. When you consume alcohol in moderation, you can reap its hidden benefits. However, you need to remember that everyone has a unique alcohol tolerance level, and even the mildest alcoholic beverages can act as potential gateways to addiction.
We can attribute the ambiguous nature of alcohol to its main active ingredient, the simple compound called ethanol, which affects the human body in different ways. Ethanol impacts the function of your brain, heart, stomach, liver, and gallbladder, as well as your insulin and lipid levels (including cholesterol and triglycerides). Furthermore, it can influence the processes of coagulation and inflammation. Lastly, alcohol significantly impacts your mood, focus, and coordination.
Without further ado, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of alcohol consumption so that you can drink responsibly and use alcoholic beverages to your advantage.
1. Alcohol lowers the risk of heart disease. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, moderate consumption of alcohol (that is, less than 3 average drinks per day) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Alcohol reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. A 2005 study conducted by the American Diabetes Association found that men who drink alcohol responsibly appear to have a 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers involved in the study found a link between moderate alcohol consumption and improved blood glucose levels.
3. Alcohol can prevent the common cold. Unlike smoking, which can make you more vulnerable to the common cold, research has shown that moderate drinking can decrease the risk of catching a cold.
4. Alcohol lowers the risk of developing gallstones. According to a 2009 study at the University of East Anglia, if you want to reduce your risk of developing gallstones by ⅓, drinking one unit of alcohol per day is a great option to try.
1. Alcohol can lead to addiction. With the relatively low prices and accessibility of some alcoholic beverages, developing alcoholism is easier than you might think. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only ⅙ of the estimated 39 million adults with a drinking problem seek professional advice.
2. Alcohol is bad for your skin. Drinking too much may dehydrate your skin, depriving it of vital nutrients. Therefore, heavy drinking can permanently damage your skin in the long term, leading to premature aging and deep wrinkling.
3. Alcohol contains a lot of calories. Most alcoholic beverages are loaded with empty calories that cannot satiate your hunger. For instance, a standard 12 oz beer bottle contains around 160 calories, whereas a glass of white wine can have up to 300 calories. Adding several alcoholic drinks to your weekly diet can lead to quick weight gain.
4. Alcohol increases crime rates. Finally, heavy drinking has a negative impact on your behavior and judgment, leading to many embarrassing moments. Extreme cases of drunkenness also cause violent crime and fatal traffic accidents.