List of Pros and Cons of Alcohol

We’ve heard all the bad things about alcohol and it seems to be the main focus of all the newsreels. However, there are also some very good things to be gained from drinking alcohol when done properly. This article will discuss both sides of the argument.

The Pros of Alcohol

1. It Can Reduce The Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease
A study by the School of Public Health at Harvard showed that moderate drinking of alcohol raises the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein and also the ‘good’ cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL have been associated with increased protection against developing heart disease. Additional benefits to moderate alcohol consumption include an increased sensitivity to insulin and decreased risk of blood clotting.

These types of changes tend to prevent the forming of the smaller blood clots that are able to clog arteries in the neck, brain, and heart (which are the main cause of lots of heart attacks as well as the most common types of strokes). This applies to both men and women that have never been diagnosed with any kind of cardiovascular disease before.

2. Longevity
Having a few drinks now and then can actually add a few years onto your life. The Catholic University of Campobasso did a study and reported that having less than 4 drinks a day (both men and women) could lower the risk of death by as much as 18% (according to Reuters).

Small amounts, especially during meals, seems to be the proper way to consume alcohol. This is according to Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano from the Catholic University. He also states that this is one of the features of the Mediterranean diet that shows that drinking alcohol, mainly wine, as part of a lunch or dinner, can be quite beneficial. However, the rest of the day should be alcohol-free.

3. Improvement of Your Libido
This goes against most prior beliefs but new research has discovered that drinking in moderation can actually guard against erectile dysfunction, very similar to the way red wine can benefit heart disease.

A study, published in 2009, from the ‘Journal of Sexual Medicine’, revealed that alcohol drinkers experienced a decrease in erectile dysfunction of 25 to 30%. That certainly goes against the grain of all previously held notions.

4. Helps to Prevent the Common Cold
Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Psychology recently discovered that even though smokers were more susceptible to the common cold, moderate drinking individuals who did not smoke experienced a decrease on common cold cases. The 1993 study was conducted with 391 adults. According to the New York Times in 2002, Spanish researchers discovered that drinking 8 – 14 glasses of red wine a week, could actually lower the risk of developing a cold by as much as 60%. They believe it has a lot to do with the antioxidant properties found in the wine.

5. Decreases Your Chances For Developing Dementia
A study was conducted that included over 365,000 participants. It began in 1977. The ‘Neuropsychiatric Disease & Treatment’ journal reported that moderate drinkers are 23% less likely to experience cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or other types of dementia.

“Moderate amounts of alcohol could, in effect, make your brain cells more fit. Moderate amounts of alcohol stresses the cells. This toughens them up so they cope better with major stresses on down the road that possibly lead to dementia.” This is according to Edward J. Neafsey, Ph.D. and co-author of the study (this was reported by Science Daily).

6. Can Lower the Risk of Developing Gallstones
If you drink 2 units of alcohol daily, you can lower your risk of developing gallstones by a full 1/3. This is according to the researchers from the University of East Anglia. This study showed that people who reportedly consumed 2 units a day, experienced a 1/3 reduction in the risk of having gallstones.

7. Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
A Dutch study revealed that healthy adults who had 1 to 2 glasses a day decreased their chances for developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who didn’t drink at all. The researchers say their findings who moderate alcohol intake can have a part in leading a health lifestyle by helping to avoid the developing of type 2 diabetes.

The Cons of Alcohol

1. Overdoing it With Alcohol
The CDC says there is an estimated 38 million U.S. adults who drink too much. Out of those only 1 out of 6 have every discussed drinking with any kind of health professional. That means that those 38 million are not diagnosed as being alcoholics. Still, they drink too much. There are around 88,000 U.S. deaths due to alcohol abuse every year. 1 out of 3 violent crime cases involve alcohol.

2. Increased Risk For Cancer and Other Diseases
A lot of over-drinking effects are very well-known. Drinking heavily can cause both cirrhosis and hepatitis, and those can be very serious. Heavy drinkers can experience ans increase in blood pressure as well as damage to their heart muscles. It also leads to things such as lessened inhibitions, addiction, inappropriate behavior, and osteoporosis especially in young women. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, alcohol can be liked to cancer of the mouth, larynx, colon, esophagus, pharynx, and increases the risk of breast cancer.

3. Can Really Harm Your Skin
According to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist, author, and a clinical assistant professor who works at the Dept of Dermatology at the New York University Medical Center – Alcohol can do serious things to the skin

Alcohol is notorious as being a diuretic and dehydrator. this explains a lot of the hangover symptoms and the reason a drinker’s skin becomes so dull and dry. It is also a vasodilator, meaning that the blood vessels widen, especially in the face, making people look all red and puffy. He also adds that drinking water will easily fix the dehydration problem and restore hydration to the body.

4. There Are No Calories in Alcohol
Heavy drinking has also been attributed by some as having the hidden effect of weight gain. The reason that is believed is because of the seemingly ‘lack of resolve’ that alcohol can bring out of some people. They loosen up and are much less likely to say ‘no’ to an extra rack of ribs, that dessert, or even another drink.

The drinks themselves are not so ‘calorie-rich’. However, once you pass the moderation point, the calories do begin to add up.

5. Alcohol Affects Judgment and Thinking
It’s common knowledge that alcohol can impair good judgment. Most of the illogical and embarrassing moments that drinkers experience is due to over-indulgence. It also costs lives. DUIs and accidents of all kinds can be traced back to poor judgment brought on by having too much alcohol. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep patterns.

6. Results of Excessive Drinking
There is a wide variety of serious health complications that accompany heavy drinking. Some are physical, some are mental. Many heavy drinkers experience suicidal thoughts and suffer from mild to sever depression. Some additional conditions like miscarriage, elevated triglycerides levels in the blood, stroke, chronic pancreatitis, and alcohol poisoning, and much more like chronic alcoholism which can lead to hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, obesity, and arthritis.

From all the studies it is evident that the key to the whole question of alcohol is the ‘moderation’ point. Moderate drinkers are able to get the benefits and avoid the negative impact that over-drinking brings.

They are more responsible and their bodies don’t suffer from the harmful effects mentioned above. There are, however, other factors not mentioned as of yet, that also play a part in how alcohol will affect a person’s body. That is ‘lifestyle’.

Some of the pre-determinate factors for how a person’s body will handle alcohol includes their overall physical health, whether or not they smoke, if they are active or not, and their dietary practices.