You’ve likely heard about all the negative health effects of drinking alcohol, but did you know that there are also some useful benefits?
That isn’t to say that you should simply drink whenever you feel like it, nor should you drink solely for the benefits of it.
Instead, it just means that alcohol isn’t entirely bad so long as you drink in moderation.
Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t drink and drive! There are nearly 300,000 incidents of drunk driving each day and there’s no need to add to this number.
We’ll analyze the health benefits of alcohol below so you can better understand how to take advantage of them.
Moderate Consumption Is Key
As with all things in life worth enjoying, moderation is essential when it comes to drinking alcohol.
There certainly are benefits to moderate drinking, but these go right out the window when you start drinking too much.
What is moderate alcohol consumption? It depends on your gender, but for women, it’s a single drink and two for men. This is because women are more affected by drinking than men due to differences in how their bodies process alcohol.
Since there are multiple different types of alcohol, one drink means a single beer, five ounces of wine, or a single shot of hard liquor.
Exceeding the limits for both men and women on a weekly or daily basis is where the benefits are no longer relevant. Moderation and light drinking is the only way to enjoy the benefits of alcohol without putting yourself at risk for suffering the negative consequences of drinking.
All of the advantages listed below only apply when you’re sticking to the one/two drink per day limit stated above.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
One of the greatest benefits of light drinking is greater cardiovascular health.
This shows up in the form of a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. More specifically, coronary heart disease.
This disease occurs when the blood vessels responsible for keeping your heart supplied become damaged. Your heart needs an ample supply of oxygen, blood, and other important nutrients.
Drinking reduces your risk of heart disease by creating good cholesterol. Red wine is particularly effective because it has antioxidants.
While drinking can reduce your risk for heart disease, it isn’t always a perfect correlation. For example, those that drink red wine may also eat a healthier diet.
If you’re hoping to reduce your risk of heart disease, then stick to red wine and keep it to just one glass per day.
Lower Risk for Diabetes
Alcohol has also been linked to reducing your risk of developing diabetes. In this case, it’s type 2 diabetes.
This is the variant that is associated with insulin resistance. People with type 2 diabetes have a hard time processing glucose.
This is significant because alcohol has been shown to combat the effects of insulin resistance. When drinking, your body will process glucose easier to help you have adequate blood sugar levels.
Make sure to not overdrink because the inverse of this is true when you drink more than just moderately. Your body will have an even tougher time processing glucose when you drink heavily.
Great Way to Unwind
The final advantage of drinking is that it is a classic method of unwinding.
People have turned to alcohol for relaxation for centuries. You’re likely familiar with the concept of drinking an ice-cold beer or a glass of wine after a long day at work.
Alcohol has a sedative effect that lets you quickly take your mind off of the hassles of a long day. It’s great for calming your nerves and putting you at ease.
However, there are plenty of other ways of unwinding that don’t come with negative side effects. Drinking in excess can even make your stress and anxiety worse!
Try meditating, practicing yoga, watching tv, journaling, or even eating dark chocolate for healthier ways to relax.
Moderation is Difficult
The main problem with drinking is that moderation is incredibly difficult.
Just one drink might be enough to start with, but after a while, you’ll begin to develop a tolerance. That’s what leads to having another drink and it can quickly lead to several.
When you aren’t feeling the relaxing effects you’re looking for, you’ll feel like drinking more to get the great feeling you’re used to.
This is where problems crop up because you begin to dip into the realm of excessive drinking. Health benefits are no longer present and now you’ll begin to deal with the downsides if you keep it up.
It’s also important to keep in mind that alcohol can be addictive. When it makes you feel amazing and relaxed, it’s hard to turn it down when it gives you the promise of a good time.
While alcohol can provide you with health benefits, the important thing to remember is to keep it in moderation.
Women can have one drink a day while men can have two. Drinking more than this will nullify any advantages earned by drinking.
Moderate drinking has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the chance of type 2 diabetes, and it’s also a great way to unwind.
The issue with drinking is that moderation is almost impossible. Alcohol is addictive and any positive health advantages can quickly disappear when you start to drink too much.
Light drinking can provide you with slight health benefits, but don’t drink just because you want to be healthy!