The Health Advocate

 
by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

 
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Although drinking too much alcohol comes with a long list of health, social and legal problems, there are some real health benefits related to moderate alcohol consumption. There are also certain alcoholic drinks that have above average health benefits. This means that enjoying the occasional drink or two with lunch or dinner may do more good than harm for most people.

A Winner in Red Wine


Red wine ranks as one the healthiest of all alcoholic drinks. There are several reasons for this. First, red wine possesses a substance call resveratrol, which has been linked to a variety of health benefits, longevity and resistance to obesity. Red wine even benefits the gut flora and provides a decent amount of soluble fiber, so it is great for your digestive system.

Importantly, only red wine has these benefits. White wine has little to none of the same extra benefits as red wine. This is primarily due to the way red wine is made compared to white wine. Red wine is red because the skins, seeds and stems of the grape are left to soak in the juice. This allows the beneficial chemicals and compounds to leach out.

Although you can get resveratrol and soluble fiber from regular grape juice that has not been turned into wine, some research has indicated that the percentages may be higher in wine due to the longer processing and greater care of making wine compared to regular juice.

Heart Benefits of Alcohol


Alcohol from any source may have mild heart and blood pressure benefits. Research has shown that alcohol has a relaxing effect on the body that lowers blood pressure and eases strain on the heart. A person does not have to become intoxicated to receive this beneficial effect. In fact, most of the benefits related to alcohol consumption don’t require a person to get drunk or even buzzed. For the average adult, moderate alcohol consumption amounts won’t result in intoxication. More is not better in this case because the risks, such as a DUI, cirrhosis of the liver, dehydration and other problems begin to outweigh any benefits.

Alcohol should not be considered medication for heart problems or high blood pressure and is certainly not a replacement for prescriptions related to any heart condition. In fact, the alcohol may interfere with the effects of such medications, so it is important to speak to a doctor before drinking alcohol when on any prescription.

Reduce the Risk of Ischemic Stroke


An ischemic stroke occurs when the arteries in your brain become narrow or blocked. Restricted blood flow to the brain deprives it of vital oxygen and nutrients and can rapidly result in permanent brain damage or death. Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of this issue because of the role in plays in reducing blood pressure and relaxing the circulatory system.

Brain Health


A relatively large-scale study in 1977 showed a link between moderate drinking and resistance to dementia. The study showed that moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers concluded this was likely due to alcohol putting stress on brain cells. Cells under stress get tougher and become less likely to break down or malfunction. Of course, this applies only to moderate drinking because there is a fine line between stress that benefits and stress that hurts cellular health.

Those who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner each night or those who like to go out and have a few drinks with friends can rejoice in the fact they are probably doing their body some good. The most important thing to keep in mind is that drinking is only positive when it is moderate. While different people ...    Continue



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