Booze, Health Benefits

10 Health Benefits of Booze

0 Comments 15 August 2012

compiled by thedrinksbusiness.com

“If Big Pharma came up with a pill with all the health benefits of alcohol, it would be hailed as the greatest medical discovery of all time.” ~Frank Kelly Rich

Study after study claims to find new health benefits for wine, beer or spirits, so we have rounded up the best alcohol related health claims.

There are many “alcohol is good for your health” headlines. In some instances alcohol is seen as a miracle cure that can ward off everything from heart disease to dementia. It’s the secret to a long life, keeps you slim and makes you happier.

The debate of health versus alcohol has always been around for years; however, it is now widely believed that alcohol in moderation is better for you than being a teetotaler.

Both clinical and experimental evidence suggest that red wine in particular, when consumed in moderation, can protect your health due to grape-derived antioxidant polyphenolics.

Indeed, the antioxidant activity in one 5-ounce glass of red wine (150 ml) is said to be the equivalent to that found in seven glasses of orange juice.

The following are ten of the alcohol related health claims that have been recently discovered.

10. Red wine lowers risk of lung cancer

Men who drink a couple of glasses or red wine per day have a lower risk of lung cancer.

Measuring the effect of beer, red wine, white wine and liquor consumption on the risk of lung cancer, there was on average a 2% lower lung cancer risk associated with each glass of red wine consumed per month.

Researchers looked at data from more than 84,000 men aged 45 to 69 that was collected through the California Men’s Health Study between 2000 and 2003.

They found 210 cases of lung cancer for the report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

‘An antioxidant component in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers,’ said Dr Chun Chao, from Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, California.

9. Alcohol can boost “good” cholesterol

Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that drinking one alcoholic drink a day can boost levels of “good” cholesterol in the body, an essential ingredient in the fight against heart disease.

According to scientists at the University of Calgary in Canada, 14-25% of people who consume one drink a day are less likely to develop heart disease than those who drink no alcohol at all.

It is the most comprehensive study to date into the link between moderate alcohol consumption and heart disease.

While small quantities of red wine have previously been found to help lessen the risk of heart disease, the latest research shows that it is the alcohol content that provides the health benefits and not the type of drink.

8. Moderate alcohol intake helps heart recovery

Two alcoholic drinks a day over a long period gave heart attack survivors a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-drinkers, researchers found.

Researchers in the US monitored the progress of 1,818 men for up to 20 years after they had survived a first heart attack between 1986 and 2006.

Those who consumed between 10 and 29.9 grams of alcohol a day – the equivalent of two 4-ounce glasses of wine (125 ml), two bottles or cans of beer, or two shot of spirits – were classified as “moderate” drinkers.

The men were among participants in the US Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a major health and lifestyle investigation. Every four years they were asked questions about their diet and alcohol intake.

7. Two glasses of wine “improves quality of life”

Research from the Boston University School of Medicine has shown that by drinking alcohol regularly and in moderate amounts, middle-aged adults may improve their quality of life.

The quality of life was measured using the Health Utilities index, which looks at factors including dexterity, emotion, cognition and mobility.

They studied 5,404 Canadians at age 50, and continued to observe them over a follow up period.

The study finds that those who drink in moderation – no more than 14 drinks a week and no more than three a day for women and four a day for men – have better overall scores than those who abstain completely.

6. Alcohol may cut arthritis risk

Drinking more than three glasses a week for at least 10 years halves the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers found.

The study of more than 34,000 Swedish women found the risk among those who drank more than three glasses of alcohol per week in 1987 and 1997 was 52% lower than those who were never drank.

The researchers gathered detailed information on alcohol consumption, diet, smoking history, physical activity and education level between 1987 and 1997.

5. Drinking alcohol makes you smarter

People who consume as little as a single drink of alcoholic beverage per week have significantly greater cognitive functioning — sharper thought processes — than teetotalers. That’s the finding of a study of over 6,000 British civil servants.

The beneficial mental effects of alcohol were found when a person drinks up to about 30 drinks per week, and increased with consumption. The researchers did not test the effects of higher levels of alcohol drinking.

These latest findings on the benefits of alcohol come from a study of the long-term health of civil servants, known as the Whitehall Study, established in 1967. Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health, led the analysis, which involved giving psychometric tests to all subjects. The questions ranged from verbal and mathematical reasoning to tests of short-term memory. Mental functioning was then compared to drinking patterns. Abstainers were twice as likely as occasional drinkers to receive the lowest test scores.

The research team suggests that alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) improves mental functioning because it increases blood flow to the brain. The results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

4. Alcohol can help head injuries

A dose of alcohol may be a good treatment for people with head injuries, emergency doctors suggest.

Their basis for this is the discovery that people appear less likely to die following brain trauma if they have alcohol in their bloodstream.

It could be that alcohol dampens the body’s inflammatory response to injury, the US team told Archives of Surgery.

But they stressed that alcohol can cause medical complications and is contributory to many accidents.

Experts cautioned people should not interpret the findings as an excuse to drink more alcohol.

The amount of alcohol consumed appears to be important – too little and there is no effect, too much and the beneficial effects are lost, studies on animals suggest.

3. Moderate drinking may be good for your bones

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may benefit women’s bone health, lowering their risk of developing osteoporosis.

A new study assessed the effects of alcohol withdrawal on bone turnover in postmenopausal women who drank one or two drinks per day several times a week. Researchers at Oregon State University measured a significant increase in blood markers of bone turnover in women after they stopped drinking for just two weeks.

Bones are in a constant state of remodeling with old bone being removed and replaced. In people with osteoporosis, more bone is lost than reformed resulting in porous, weak bones. About 80 percent of all people with osteoporosis are women, and postmenopausal women face an even greater risk because estrogen, a hormone that helps keep bone remodeling in balance, decreases after menopause.

Past studies have shown that moderate drinkers have a higher bone density than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers, but these studies have provided no explanation for the differences in bone density. Alcohol appears to behave similarly to estrogen in that it reduces bone turnover, the researchers said.

2. Lose weight with a glass of wine

In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers from Purdue University say they’ve found a compound in red wine, grapes, blueberries and passion fruit that blocks immature fat cells’ ability to develop and grow.

Similar in structure to Resveratrol – the compound vaunted as the heart-healthy agent in red wine – piceatannol is also thought to help protect the body against cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Resveratrol is converted to piceatannol in humans after consumption.

1. Alcohol is a Poison Antidote

Australian doctors said they plugged a poisoned Italian tourist into a vodka drip after running out of the medicinal alcohol they would normally have used to save his life.

The 24-year-old Italian was diagnosed as having ingested a large quantity of ethylene glycol, a common ingredient in antifreeze that can cause renal failure.

Pure alcohol is often given in treating such cases because it can inhibit the toxic effects of ethylene glycol.

Dr. Pascal Gelperowicz at Mackay Base Hospital where the man was taken for treatment said he was given pharmaceutical-grade alcohol on arrival, but that the hospital’s supplies soon ran out.

“We quickly used all the available vials of 100 percent alcohol and decided the next best way to get alcohol into the man’s system was by feeding him spirits through a nasogastric tube,” Gelperowicz said in a statement.

“The patient was drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days in the intensive care unit,” he said. “The hospital’s administrators were also very understanding when we explained our reasons for buying a case of vodka.”

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