You ever had a discussion with a self-proclaimed health expert that tried to convince you to stop drinking? Annoying right?! Especially since that person probably didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. One drops the word ‘cancer’ a few times and the ignorant majority embraces abstinence. Time to give you some ammo for the next time you get into such a discussion. These are 11 health benefits of alcohol consumption.
The consumption of alcohol is important for a lot of creatures in nature. Long before the invention of beer and wine human-beings were already eating fermented fruits. A lot of animals still do. In fact, moderate intake of ethanol is vital to make the human body function in an optimal way. Like oil for a machine, one doesn’t need booze to function properly, but it is definitely better in the long run. Here is why…
1. Live longer
Let’s start with the most important benefit: people who drink alcohol in general live a lot longer than teetotalers. Especially the moderate drinkers, but even heavy drinkers outlast abstinent people. So don’t let anybody tell you to stop drinking completely, it’s actually the most unhealthy option of the three. For the how and why, just keep reading.
2. Lower chance at heart diseases
More than a 100 studies have shown that regular alcohol intake is great for the heart and circulatory system. We are talking all kinds of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, ischemic strokes, peripheral vascular disease and sudden cardiac death. Consuming alcohol reduces the risk of catching any of these by 25 to 40%. The scientific explanation for this fact is that alcohol prevents the formation of blood clots that can block arteries in heart, neck and brain, which are the common causes for most heart attacks and strokes.
3. Lower chance type 2 diabetes
People who drink alcohol have less chance to catch type 2 diabetes, a disease that people usually develope at a higher age as a result of an unhealthy diet. Alcohol causes a better sensitivity to insuline and therefor lowering the risk of catching type 2 diabetes. Don’t believe us? Check out this Dutch study from 2005 on the matter.
4. Reduce risk of gallstones
A study by the University of East Anglia showed that 2 units of alcohol a day lower the risk of gallstones by a third. Gallstones can lead to intense pains in multiple places in the body and the usual cure is the surgical removal of the gallbladder.
5. Lower blood pressure
We’re not going to lie to you, this is a tricky one since heavy drinking can also lead to high blood pressure. However, for people who already suffer from this illness, moderate alcohol consumption can be the answer. Especially red wine is said to work excellent.
6. Boosts ‘good’ cholesterol
When you hear your doctor complain about your cholesterol, know it’s time to open a bottle of wine. Like so many things in the human body there is good and bad cholesterol. Alcohol and especially red wine contains the good kind, which purifies the body of the bad cholesterol.
7. Prevent common colds and flu
Although usually not a cause of death, it can be pretty annoying to catch a cold or the flu. While many kinds of booze were once invented as a cure for these diseases, a Spanish study proved in the late 1990’s that the regular intake of red wine could even prevent the risk of common colds by an impressive 60%.
8. Decrease memory loss
Sounds weird right? Alcohol is usually linked to memory loss, but that is just from heavy drinking. Moderate drinking can actually prevent memory loss at an older age. Also because dementia is linked to high blood pressure. Since 1977 the huge amount of 365.000 people were tested in various studies and the results were anonymous: moderate drinkers run 23% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia.
9. Prevent depressions
Another negative stereotype about alcohol is that it would make people depressed. While actually in the right dose it’s been proven to prevent depressions. Another Spanish study showed that red wine is the key to stay happy.
10. Increase the libido
Another important thing that alcohol can do, is improve the libido. Besides the fact that sex at itself is healthy for body and mind, it can also increase your happiness. Sexologist and marriage therapist Dr. Kat van Kirk even advices men to drink beer to keep their marriage on track.
11. Reduce stress
A few drinks after a stressful day is an excellent way to take the edge off. According to researchers at the University of Montréal 2 beers a day are perfect, but probably 2 units of any other drink have the same effect. Since stress and anxiety can lead to serious physical problems, this is another good reason why a few drinks a day are actually keeping you healthy.
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