Alcohol consumption has become a regular habit in several households. It has become as normal as eating, breathing, and sleeping. Regular alcohol consumption has many detrimental effects on the body and mind. However, many propose that moderate drinking is acceptable and does not do anybody harm. While we are at it, here is a rundown on the some of the pros and cons of moderate drinking on health.
The manifold pros of drinking alcohol
Experts say that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can in fact be good for the heart and the respiratory system. Studies have also linked moderate alcohol consumption to the treatment of conditions like Alzheimer’s and high blood pressure. It has also been noted that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol occasionally can help individuals reduce weight. When compared to other beverages, alcohol has lower calories and less fat, thus making it a better choice for those who wish to lose weight.
Aids in digestion
Alcohol if consumed after a meal, can aid in digestion. The drink makes it easier for the body to break down the foods and make them move through the upper and lower intestines faster.
Relaxes the mind
Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts is known to relax the mind significantly. The so called ‘feel good’ drink allows individuals to lose their inhibitions and relax. However, that can be said only for the initial few glasses as too many would result in the person becoming irritable instead.
Some of the other known benefits of drinking moderate levels of alcohol include lowered risks of stomach ulcers, heart diseases, peripheral vascular diseases, leg pains, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairment, stroke and heart attack. Consuming moderate amounts of alcohol has also been associated with the increase of the HDL aka good cholesterol levels in the body and improved bone protection.
The cons of drinking alcohol
Alcohol is healthy for the body only when it is consumed in moderate amounts. Anything even slightly above that would lead to the opposite and cause several health complications. Some of the more common side effects of drinking too much alcohol include depression, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, suicidal thoughts, chronic pancreatitis, fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage, liver cirrhosis and elevated triglyceride levels.
Individuals who drink regularly also stand chances of suffering from conditions like chronic alcoholism and alcohol poisoning. Chronic alcoholism can damage the liver extensively and lead to liver failure or fibrosis in the long run.
Alcohol consumption is also known to cause liver, oral, gastrointestinal, pharynx and esophageal cancers in adults. It also increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Drinking alcohol would affect the normal production of hormones like progesterone and estrogen, thus fueling hormone driven tumors.
Studies have related alcohol consumption to weight gain in the recent past. These studies showed that the empty calories provided by alcohol can contribute to fat stores in the body. They would also reduce the body’s metabolic rate, thereby delaying the breakdown of fat deposits. The carbohydrates in the body also burn up the empty calories first for energy, thereby leaving the calories from other sources untouched. This could lead to the deposition of more fat in the body, thus causing significant weight gain.
Many individuals who consume alcohol tend to face issues like malnutrition on a regular basis. Alcohol suppresses the appetite by filling the body with empty calories devoid of any nutritional value. As such, it would prevent individuals from eating healthy foods, resulting in a poor, malnourished diet that would sooner or later damage all the vital organs in the body.
Other health related complications caused by alcohol consumption
The other health complications that affect the body owing to alcohol consumption include arthritis, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, nervous disorders, obesity and psychological disturbances.
While many advocate that drinking alcohol can be detrimental for health, others believe that drinking it in moderate amounts would be healthy for the body. Moderate alcohol consumption may have a few health benefits. However, the cons arising from drinking alcohol overshadow these benefits to a great extent. Hence, one would need to be extremely wary about the health benefits he/she can face in the long run by drinking too much alcohol.