The human race has long engaged in the debate over whether alcohol’s detriments outweigh its benefits. Although alcohol is not an essential resource to the body, like water or food, studies have shown that one or two daily drinks can be good for your health, depending on your age and other factors.
Alcohol can certainly be a harmful and addictive substance to some, with excess use increasing risk of stroke, heart failure, some cancers, and high blood pressure. But since over 55% of American adults drink alcohol, how can we learn to balance these negative effects (and the high caloric content) with the positive effects to our health?
For adults who are not pregnant, do not have a risk for breast cancer, do not have a history of alcohol abuse in their family, and are not taking medications that can interact with alcohol, one to two drinks daily can present a variety of advantages. These advantages include an increase in good cholesterol, insulin sensitivity (which reduces the risk of diabetes), and a reduced risk of mental decline as you age.
So, if you do choose to drink, what should you select to ensure that you’re getting all of the health benefits? According to the research, it doesn’t matter if you pick a beverage based on wine, liquor, or beer. It’s the ethanol in the alcohol that creates the positive benefits. A good choice is a drink with a lower sugar content and lower caloric content for maximum health benefits.
Because alcohol stimulates your appetite, when you drink is also important: ensure that you’re enjoying your drink with a meal. Alcohol also slows the time it takes your stomach to empty, making you feel fuller faster with food, and ensuring that you eat less at each meal!
Here’s 8 Questions to ask yourself when considering whether a drink a day will really positively benefit you:
- Do I currently drink at all?
- If no, though alcohol has some positive health benefits, it’s not the best idea to start.
- Do I have a family history of alcohol abuse?
- Because alcohol addiction runs in the family, your risk of becoming addicted to alcohol could be much higher, even if your goal is to drink in moderation.
- Am I on any medications that interact negatively with alcohol?
- Am I currently pregnant or breast feeding?
- Does my job require me to operate heavy machinery, or to use skill or coordination to perform a task?
- Do I have enough discretionary calories in my dietary plan to add alcohol in? If not, are there treats that I am willing to cut out?
- Am I able to drink with a meal, or are all of my meals on-the-go?
- Do I have liver disease or an ulcer?
In Good Health,