Drinking alcohol for some is a right of passage. For others, it is simply something to enjoy with a well-cooked meal. Sometimes alcohol is consumed as a distraction against difficult emotions. When it comes to alcohol consumption, there are some benefits that can be achieved, but the risks of disadvantages can be quite high. Here are some key points to consider before picking up your preferred alcoholic beverage the next time.
What Are the Pros of Alcohol Consumption?
1. It could lower the risks of cardiovascular disease.
Moderate alcohol consumption is believed to be able to raise the levels of the good cholesterol in the body, known as HDL, to protect against heart disease issues. It may also improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, promote better blood clotting, and both men and women benefit equally. Most importantly, it can stop the common small clots which lead to common strokes and heart attacks.
2. It increases the strength of the immune system.
People who drink moderately and do not smoke may see up to a 60% reduction in the development of colds. Multiple studies have shown that between 8-14 glasses of wine per week, especially if it is red wine, can provide the body with enough antioxidants to help reinforce the immune system benefits a person already has.
3. It may reduce the chances of developing dementia.
For more than 40 years, alcohol consumption has been studied in over 360,000 people. What was found was staggering: people who drink moderately are 23% less likely to develop any form of dementia. That includes the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that the alcohol consumption makes the brain cells healthier and more resilient to stress.
4. It reduces the chance of developing a gallstone.
Just two drinks per day is enough to reduce gallstone development by 33%. This means there is an associated decrease in the health complications that are caused by gallstones, such as bile duct blockage, an inflamed organ, or even the foundation of a malignancy.
What Are the Cons of Alcohol Consumption?
1. It can be highly addictive.
Alcohol is one of the most addictive substances that exists today. People can quickly become abusers of alcohol and may not even realize it because the body tends to adapt to a person’s consumption levels. Over time it takes more alcohol to feel the same buzz and that can lead to a plethora of future health problems. It also tends to mean that people switch to a higher proof of alcohol over time, which just enhances this issue.
2. It can cause organ damage.
The most common organ issue associated with alcohol consumption is liver cirrhosis. The liver helps to filter out the alcohol from the bloodstream, along with help from the kidneys, and it can only remove so much at a time. If it must constantly be trying to process alcohol that has been consumed, it can begin to experience injuries and may result in scar tissues or cirrhosis. Once liver disease sets in, a transplant may become the only treatment method available.
3. It changes how people make decisions.
People tend to fall into two different categories on this point. They either have their inhibitions reduced and are more likely to become sexually active when they don’t intend to be or they become angrier with fewer controls, providing a higher chance for violence when compared to not having any alcohol. That is why light to moderate alcohol consumption is encouraged, but heavy drinking is discouraged.
4. It limits a person’s ability to react.
This is typically seen while driving, but it can occur in a number of different ways. Alcohol acts as a depressant, which means a person’s reactions are slower after consumption than before. It may also make a person feel sleepy. Both cause reaction problems that could be life threatening depending on the circumstances. The sleepiness is also a temporary symptom, which means someone may pass out, but then wake up only a couple of hours later and not be able to go back to sleep.
The pros and cons of alcohol consumption show that moderation is the best way to go. Excessive drinking can lead to a number of health and personal problems that may take a lifetime to resolve. The health consequences of heavy drinking are also well known. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per day, keep these key points in mind, and then you’ll be able to enjoy your alcohol consumption a little bit more.