How Alcohol May Be Beneficial to Your Health
It's no secret that alcohol consumption comes with a range of potential health risks. But what you may not know is that moderate drinking - within sensible limits - can actually have some benefits for your health. So before you write off alcohol entirely, read on to learn more about the potential perks of indulging in a drink or two. You just might be surprised!
Helps Your Heart
It's well-known that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. But did you know that moderate alcohol consumption may help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease?
Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems than those who abstain from alcohol altogether. This is likely due to the fact that alcohol can help reduce levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood, as well as improve circulation and prevent blood clots.
Of course, it's important to remember that more is not always better when it comes to alcohol and your health. Drinking too much can actually increase your risk of developing heart disease, so it's important to drink in moderation.
Boosts Your Immunity
Did you know that moderate alcohol consumption may help boost your immune system? It's true!
Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to get colds and other respiratory infections than those who abstain from alcohol altogether. This is likely due to the fact that alcohol can help increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections.
However, as with heart health, it's important not to overdo it when it comes to alcohol and your immune system. Consuming too much can actually weaken your immune system and make you more prone to illness. So be sure to stick to sensible limits when it comes to indulging in a drink or two.
Fights cognitive decline
As we age, it's normal for our brains to slow down a bit. But did you know that moderate alcohol consumption may help protect against cognitive decline?
Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer from dementia and other forms of cognitive decline than those who abstain from alcohol altogether. This is likely due to the fact that alcohol can help increase blood flow to the brain, helping keep your mind sharp and functioning well for years to come.
As with any other health benefit of alcohol, it's important not to overdo things. Drinking too much can actually hurt your brain and cause damage, so stick to sensible limits and enjoy the benefits of moderate drinking!
Gets You More Active
Moderate drinkers are 30 percent more likely to be physically active than non-drinkers, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. And people who down two or three drinks a week are 15 percent more likely to exercise regularly than those who don’t drink at all.
There are a variety of reasons why alcohol could be helpful for your health. The most likely explanation is that moderate drinkers benefit from the social aspects of drinking, which can lead to more opportunities for physical activity. For example, spending time with friends at a bar or restaurant after work, going on hikes or bike rides with other active people who drink, and joining clubs or sports teams that require physical activity can help you get more active.
Kidney Stones Are Prevented
One possible benefit of alcohol consumption is the prevention of kidney stones. While some people are more prone to developing this painful condition, the researchers found that moderate drinking lowers the risk for kidney stone formation. This is partly due to increased water intake that can help dilute urine and flush out toxins in your kidneys.
Moderate drinkers also have a lower risk of developing gallstones. Alcohol consumption can increase the production of bile, which helps dissolve cholesterol and prevents it from hardening into stones.
Boosts Your Sex Life
We all know that alcohol can lower inhibitions and make people feel more amorous. But there’s also some evidence that drinking in moderation can improve sexual function. One study found that men who consume one or two drinks a day are 32% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction than nondrinkers.
Another study of older adults found that moderate drinkers had better sexual function than those who abstained from alcohol. They also reported more enjoyable sex lives and were more likely to be satisfied with their overall health.
Makes You More Social
If you’re the type of person who sometimes feels shy in social situations, alcohol may help you feel more relaxed and sociable. That’s because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can reduce anxiety and make you feel more outgoing.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that too much alcohol can have the opposite effect. Drinking too much can make you aggressive and increase your risk of saying or doing something you regret.
Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
A little alcohol can improve your blood sugar control by balancing out the spikes that occur after eating a carbohydrate-heavy meal. Researchers found that moderate drinkers had better glucose tolerance, which is important for preventing diabetes and maintaining overall health.
The Bottom Line: How to Balance Risks and Benefits
As with any other health benefit of alcohol, it’s important not to overdo things. Drinking too much can actually hurt your brain and cause damage, so stick to sensible limits and enjoy the benefits of moderate drinking!
If you are interested in learning more about how alcohol can improve your health, talk to your doctor or research reliable sources of information online. Whether you’re a heavy drinker or don’t drink at all, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy and active!
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