The Pros and Cons and Consuming Alcohol
What do you think of when you hear the word “socialize”? Perhaps you picture a night out with friends, brunch with “the ladies” or happy hour with colleagues. While not always present, drinking alcohol is often an important part of the social lives of many people. You may drink to relax, drink to celebrate, or drink to have fun.
But as you enjoy alcohol as part of your “social life” are you putting your “healthy life” at risk by consuming it?
Actually, research has shown that drinking alcohol in moderation can be good for us. Moderation is defined as two drinks a day for men and one a day for women (drinks being 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits).
People over the age of 65 should limit their consumption to less than a drink a day, and individuals with liver disease, pre-cancerous conditions, or prior strokes are advised not to drink alcohol at all. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, pain relievers and sleeping pills, may be affected by alcoholic consumption.
Moderate consumption among healthy people can even help to reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and lower the development of gallstones.
Red wine, in particular, seems to be the best choice. Red wine contains flavonoids, a compound that reduces the risk of coronary artery disease by raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. The antioxidant resveratrol, also found in red wine, may also inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and help to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions as well as support overall health.
So, how much alcohol is too much? You may be considered an alcoholic if you feel you can’t function or socialize without a drink and don’t know when to stop drinking. Hiding alcohol from others is also a sign. Look out for these symptoms: shaking, sweating, restlessness, seizures, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate or blood pressure, trouble sleeping or concentrating, and a strong desire to drink to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal.
Before alcohol treatment and withdrawal can begin, however, you must first admit that you have a problem and take responsibility for it. Some people know they have an alcohol problem but deny that they need help to stop drinking. When you can take responsibility for your problem and admit you need help, a good first step is to call your healthcare provider.
I for one am actually glad to hear that overall, alcohol can be a healthy part of your life, WHEN consumed responsibly and in moderation.