Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Moderate alcohol intake is defined as an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is considered 12 oz beer, 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz of 100-proof spirits, all of which contain approximately 13 to 15 grams of ethanol.
Consumption of alcohol is akin to a double-edged knife when we consider its health effects. Depending upon how it is used, alcohol can cause damage in either direction than perhaps any other single aspect of lifestyle. Cardio-protective benefits are seen in mild to moderate consumption of alcohol, while increasingly excessive consumption results in negative outcomes on health.
Moderate consumption= 1- 2 drinks/day for males and 1 drink/day for females.
A drink= 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz of 100-proof spirits i.e. approximately 13-15 grams of ethanol

A growing amount of research in this subject indicates that mild to moderate alcohol use is associated with reductions in risk for a variety of diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD) and dementia. Moreover, mild to moderate alcohol intake is associated with decreased prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PVD) and atherosclerosis when consumed over a long period of time.
On the hand, excessive alcohol intake devastates health in all aspects of health, due to which it is the third leading cause of premature death. It is now imperative for us to be aware of the risks and benefits of alcohol use, beverages, the ideal quantities, patterns of consumption, and who may safely consider mild to moderate alcohol and who are probably better off avoiding alcohol. The cardio-protective effects and other health benefits in mild to moderate alcohol consumption is due to its action on the glucose metabolism and increase in the levels of the ‘good lipids’ i.e. high density lipoproteins (HDL)
HDL increases about 5% for each drink consumed on a daily basis. HDL are good for the body as they help in lowering the Cholesterol levels. Though mild to moderate alcohol is good for health, more is definitely not better. This can be sited by a study conducted amongst Russia’s general population. Russia enjoys a higher mean HDL level than any other country but then the rates of Heart Diseases are significantly higher than those noted in Western Europe or USA, which can be further explained by the adverse effects of excessive intake of alcohol such as high blood pressure, predisposition to accidents, impaired cardiac function and carcinogenicity, when the dose of ethanol exceeds about 15 to 20 grams/day

Former US President Harry Truman started off each day, with bourbon whiskey, before his daily morning walk. Although this a bit seems ill advised, it might have contributed to Truman’s long life. Just like exercise, alcohol consumption, is most beneficial when done daily but in moderation. On most of the days, the only alcohol Truman consumed was contained in his morning dose of whiskey.
Mild to moderate amounts of ethanol, just like exercise, will increase insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism for the ensuing 12 to 24 hours. Infact, daily consumption of low dose of ethanol is associated with a healthy life than less frequent consumption.
It has been demonstrate that the maximum health benefits of alcohol are observed when it is consumed before or during a meal. Indeed, many cultures follow a tradition of regular mild to moderate alcohol consumption with or before the evening meal leading to exceptionally good health and longevity.
However, if we look on the other side, occasional excessive alcohol intake, also known as BINGE drinking i.e. ?5 drinks/day presents a health threat by increasing the risk of heart and liver related disorders.

According to the current guidelines of American Heart Association, individuals who do not already drink alcohol should not to start drinking since it is difficult to predict in which people alcohol abuse might become a problem.
Alcohol abuse, the third largest preventable cause of death, is responsible for killing more than 100,000 Americans annually. This is seen more commonly in young people. Excess intake increases risks for motor vehicle accidents, sudden cardiac arrest , stroke, cardiomyopathy, cardiac dysrhythmia, suicide, depression, cancer (gastrointestinal tract and breast), liver cirrhosis, fetal alcohol syndrome, sleep apnea and all-cause mortality.

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