Is alcohol good for you? 9 surprising health benefits to know
While alcohol isn’t listed on the pyramid as a major food group, evidence shows that booze might actually be good for! Like any other indulgence in life, you should consume alcohol responsibly.
That includes waiting until you’re legally old enough, not driving while under the influence, and not becoming dependent. With those major issues aside, indulging in a cocktail (or two) a few times a week could have positive impacts on your health.
Still not convinced? Keep reading to learn nine reasons you can answer “yes” to the question, is alcohol good for you?
Grab your glass and let’s get into it!
1. Boosts Libido
Are you or your partner having trouble getting your motor running in the bedroom? While drinking too much alcohol can make getting and keeping an erection difficult for men, some studies show that moderate drinking can actually prevent ED (erectile dysfunction).
Wine, specifically, is credited for the way its heart-healthy antioxidants keep ED at bay – lowering the rate of incidents by nearly 30% according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
But let’s not leave all the fun for the men! Women can benefit from a heightened sexual desire after a few glasses of wine.
The same antioxidants that benefit men’s performance in the bedroom also trigger oxide production in women. This helps relax the artery walls, increasing the blood flow “down there”.
The effects include overall relaxation and increased sexual excitement.
2. Weight Loss
Forget your personal trainer telling you that alcohol is nothing but empty calories. While this may be true, in excess, there are countless low-calorie alcoholic drinks available that you can enjoy, guilt-free!
A glass of wine, for example, has fewer calories, fat, and sugar than a single can of soda. Low-fat beer is another diet-friendly option. Vodka and other clear liquors are low in calories and sugar when mixed with seltzer or club soda.
Not only are there low-caloric beverage options available, but one study showed that drinking wine reduces your risk of becoming obese or overweight.
Wine contains polyphenols which are linked with reduced body mass index (BMI), waist size, overall weight, and obesity rates.
3. Protect Against Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, 50 million people suffer from some form of dementia. It’s believed that moderate drinking helps “exercise” your brain cells, making them more fit and less susceptible to cognitive disorders.
People often turn to alcohol for stress relief and to calm their nerves. It’s believed that alcohol actually mildly stresses brain cells, strengthening them against other stress that might cause dementia.
This theory is similar to exposing your body to small doses of a specific virus or bacteria in an effort to build-up antibodies and your immune system.
4. Prevents the Common Cold
Speaking of your immune system, if you’ve ever suffered from a common cold, you know the symptoms all too well. Sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, coughing, and overall feeling miserable!
Before you reach for the over the counter medication, you should consider alcohol as medicine. Some studies show that nonsmokers who consume alcohol at moderate levels experience a reduced risk of developing common colds.
A 2002 study reported that individuals who consumed an average of 12 glasses of red wine per week saw a 60% decrease in the risk of developing a cold. Similar to its ability to prevent weight gain and boost libido, the antioxidants in red wine are to thank.
5. Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is another common condition that impacts over 29 million people — and one that moderate alcohol consumption might help control. For patients interested in an alternative approach to treating their diabetes, alcohol might unlock a secret treatment option.
The most impressive research shows that consuming one to two glasses of alcohol per day can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.
For those who already struggle with the disease, moderate alcohol consumption is believed to support an overall healthy lifestyle. Drinking alcohol over the short-term can also increase your body’s insulin production, lowering your blood sugar levels.
6. Prevent Gallstones
Gallstones are relatively common and harmless, but quite painful. In short, gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid.
The gallbladder is located below your liver, which is the organ responsible for processing 90% of all the alcohol you consume.
Researchers believe that having one to two alcoholic drinks a day can actually reduce your risk of developing gallstones by 1/3. Alcohol consumption can also increase gallbladder function and prevent stones from forming.
In addition to protecting against gallstones, alcohol may also reduce your risk of developing gallbladder disease and other complications.
7. Longer Life Span
Although you may not find the fountain of youth at the bottom of a bottle of Glenlivet scotch, indulging in moderate alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of death by nearly 20%.
Pairing your favorite meal with a glass of wine, beer, or other cocktail seems to be the most effective way to consume alcohol for its health benefits.
Just remember, drinking too much alcohol or consuming alcohol at every meal could lead to a different set of health complications that might inadvertently shorten your life span.
8. Improve Memory
In addition to keeping cognitive diseases such as dementia at bay, moderate alcohol consumption can actually improve your memory and boost brainpower.
If you’re looking for increased focus, reach for a bottle of red wine. The skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, which is proven to improve cognitive function and memory.
This positive impact is most obvious when recalling previously learned information. The greater your alcohol consumption, the easier it is to make these mental connections.
9. Support Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is a leading killer in the country — which is why treating yourself to a few drinks might actually promote a healthy heart.
Alcohol increases your body’s high-density lipoprotein, also known as good cholesterol. It also reduces the formation of small blood clots which are responsible for blocked arteries in the brain, heart, and neck. These clots can cause not only heart attacks but strokes.
Indulging in a few drinks can help lower cholesterol levels and promote healthy heart function.
Is Alcohol Good for You?
Are you still wondering, “Is alcohol good for you?” The answer is yes — in moderation. Alcohol can benefit your health in small doses and for short-term use.
Pairing a glass of wine with dinner or enjoying a cocktail to relieve stress can actually promote heart health, liver function, and boost your sex drive!
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