Most people think that drinking alcohol, no matter what, is harmful for individuals. Commonly known health risks of alcohol consumption include liver damage. However, it has recently been found that moderate consumption of alcohol might even have some health benefits.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS “MODERATE” ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION?
“Moderate” consumption, in terms of alcohol, refers to upto two drinks a day for men, and one for women.
To exemplify, one drink means 355 millilitres of beer, 148 millilitres of wine, and 44 millilitres of distilled spirits.
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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION?
Moderate alcohol consumption can have some health benefits. However, these benefits are relatively small. Furthermore, they may not happen for all individuals.
Moderate alcohol consumption can lead to:
- Reduced risk of developing and dying of heart disease
- Lowered risk of ischemic stroke (severely reduced blood flow to the brain because of narrowed or blocked arteries to the brain)
- Reduced risk of diabetes
However, much greater health benefits can be derived from being physically active and eating a healthy diet. These benefits have also been studied more extensively.
Additionally, scientists have made it sufficiently clear that individuals who do not consume alcohol should not start because of its health benefits.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF HEAVY CONSUMPTION?
Although moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to some health benefits, heavy consumption has absolutely no benefits. This also includes binge drinking.
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3 drinks a day or 7 drinks a week qualifies as heavy drinking for men over 65, and women. On the other hand, men under 65 are considered to be heavy drinkers if they consume 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks a week.
4 drinks within 2 hours for women and 5 drinks within 2 hours for men is considered to be binge drinking.
This can have adverse effects on health. It increases the risk of contracting serious diseases, including certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and liver. This also includes pancreatitis, stroke, and high blood pressure.