12 Health Benefits of Alcohol
Friday, February 10, 2017 8:05 AM
Alcohol, when taking in moderation can be good for our body.
- Boost brainpower. Researchers hypothesize that since moderate drinking raises good cholesterol, it can improve blood flow to the brain. Alcohol could also “toughen” brain cells by stressing them a little, preparing them to cope with major stresses later in life that could cause dementia.
- Get rid of bad breath. Any case of bad breath can be helped by a shot of vodka. The high alcohol content in vodka (and other alcohols) helps kill bad odor bacteria. Two pro tips: make sure to spit it out after use, and don't use any liquors with high sugar content, as they can eat away at all that healthy enamel.
- Drinking occasionally could add a few years to your life. A study by the Catholic University of Campobasso reported that drinking less than four or two drinks per day for men and women respectively could reduce the risk of death by 18 percent, as reported by Reuters. "Little amounts, preferably during meals, this appears to be the right way (to drink alcohol)," said Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano of Catholic University, another author on the study. "This is another feature of the Mediterranean diet, where alcohol, wine above all, is the ideal partner of a dinner or lunch, but that's all: the rest of the day must be absolutely alcohol-free."
- Alcohol increases levels of a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity. In other words, it makes it easier for your body to process glucose and use it as energy. This helps reduce the amount of sugar in the bloodstream and ultimately reduces risk for developing diabetes.
- Soothe a sore throat. Not much of a voice to shout over that thumping bar music? Order another whiskey. Gargling some whiskey, combined with a spoonful of warm water, can help ease pain by numbing the throat. As with the mouthwash, make sure you don't swallow the dose. We want to feel better, not get smashed by accident.
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The School of Public Health at Harvard University found that "moderate amounts of alcohol raises levels of high-density lipoprotein, HDL, or 'good' cholesterol and higher HDL levels are associated with greater protection against heart disease. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been linked with beneficial changes ranging from better sensitivity to insulin to improvements in factors that influence blood clotting....Such changes would tend to prevent the formation of small blood clots that can block arteries in the heart, neck, and brain, the ultimate cause of many heart attacks and the most common kind of stroke." This finding is applicable to both men and women who have not been previously diagnosed with any type of cardiovascular disease.
- Libido boost. Contrary to prior beliefs, newer research has found that moderate drinking might actually protect against erectile dysfunction in the same way that drinking red wine might benefit heart disease. In a 2009 study published in the, Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that the chances of erectile dysfunction were reduced by 25 to 30 percent among alcohol drinkers. The lead researcher, Kew-Kim Chew, an epidemiologist at the University of West Australia, conducted the study with 1,770 Australian men. In his study, Chew cautiously noted that he and his team in no way are advising men to hit the bottle, and that further research is needed to accurately connect impotence and alcohol consumption.
- Beat belly bulge. Researchers believe that the bodies of long-term moderate drinkers somehow adapt to metabolize alcohol differently than those who concentrate their cocktails into the occasional big night out. Plus, women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol tend to eat less food, particularly carbohydrates, according to Lu Wang, lead researcher on the study and an instructor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
- Look younger for longer. Drinking is not known for helping people look their best, but the special antioxidants in wine (such as phytochemicals and resveratol) can increase energy levels and combat signs of aging.
- Get rid of gallstones. Remember how alcohol increases good cholesterol in your bloodstream? Well, it affects cholesterol in the gallbladder too. Plus, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for developing gallstones, so moderate drinking can reduce your risk by helping you maintain a healthy weight.
- Get over malaria infection. Granted, malaria is not a going concern for the Western world, but the tonic (in gin and tonics) has historically been used to treat malarial infections. Tonic contains quinine, an alkaloid that also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
- Prevent common cold. The Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University found that while susceptibility to the common cold was increased by smoking, moderate alcohol consumption led to a decrease in common cold cases for nonsmokers. This study was conducted in 1993 with 391 adults. In 2002, according to the New York Times, Spanish researchers found that by drinking eight to 14 glasses of wine per week, particularly red wine, one could see a 60-percent reduction in the risk of developing a cold. The scientists suspected that this had something to do with the antioxidant properties of wine.