Alcohol undoubtedly plays a significant role in many cultures around the world. Many of us raise a glass to memorable moments in our lives, take part in celebrations with friends or colleagues, or simply indulge in a few drinks at the end of a stressful day at work.
It might be challenging to determine the precise amount, quantity, and type of alcohol that is best for you, given the number of studies on alcohol and heart health. Nonetheless, research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption can lead to better heart health in people’s lives.
In this article, we’ll explore the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, especially to the human heart. But first, let’s briefly explore what moderate drinking is all about.
What Is Moderate Drinking?
One drink for ladies per day and two for men is considered moderate drinking. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, or 4 ounces of wine.
Men, women, and older adults all have varied definitions of moderate drinking. This is significant because how alcohol is absorbed and broken down by the body determines its effects. Alcohol is metabolized more slowly by older folks than by younger people. How well alcohol is absorbed also depends on a person’s height and weight. Alcohol is absorbed more quickly in smaller, lighter people.
Possible Heart-Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Highlighted below are the various ways that moderate intake of alcohol offers heart-health benefits.
- Increase in the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL): Alcohol by itself doesn’t have any cholesterol in it. Nevertheless, moderate alcohol consumption is linked to an increase in HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which may be the main factor in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. According to certain research, there may be a connection between red wine intake and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein. In addition to preventing blood clots, HDL is beneficial for cleaning up the arteries leading to and from your heart.
- Reduce the risks of developing heart diseases: Several studies conducted over the past few decades have suggested that moderate drinking may be good for the heart. According to the research, these moderate drinkers rarely experience cardiovascular events and heart disease.
- Possibly lower the risk of stroke: Several studies that examined the relationship between drinking alcohol and the risk of stroke have found that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk of stroke. Even while the precise cause of stroke is unclear, it is at least known that going from a heavy to a moderate level can help lower the risk.
- Lowers blood pressure: If you’re a heavy drinker, switching to light or moderate drinking can drastically lower your blood pressure. However, those with a history of high blood pressure should, depending on the severity of the problem, either abstain from alcohol altogether or drink sparingly, as even moderate consumption could have adverse effects.
Other Potential Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Here are other potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption:
- Possibly lower type 2 diabetes risks: Moderate alcohol drinkers had a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes than heavy drinkers. Moreover, a meta-analysis by Chinese researchers shows that patients with type 2 diabetes may benefit from moderate drinking since it may improve their fat metabolism and blood glucose.
- You can live a longer life: Binge drinking might increase your risk of developing illnesses and diseases, such as various cancers and brain and liver damage, as well as decrease your lifespan. But according to a 2014 study by three Spanish universities, moderate drinking may actually increase your lifespan.
- Slows down aging: As we age, our skin becomes drier and thinner. Intrinsic aging is a process that occurs naturally and that you have no influence over. Extrinsic aging is when your skin ages more quickly than it should as a result of your lifestyle and environment. Alcohol impacts aging because it causes dehydration and dries up your skin. Thus, reducing your alcohol consumption and engaging in mindful drinking will help you slow that down.
- Possibly help with male fertility: Moderate drinking might also help when it comes to male fertility. A 2018 study from an Italian fertility center was released in the journal Andrology. According to the study, male fertility was best among people who drank four to seven alcoholic drinks per week as opposed to those who rarely drink or are binge drinkers.
- Moderate alcohol consumption can help prevent the common cold: Although heavy drinking can make cold symptoms worse by dehydrating you and perhaps interfering with cold medications, it appears that moderate alcohol consumption can help you avoid getting a cold in the first place.
The New York Times reported that Spanish researchers discovered that people who drank eight to fourteen glasses of wine per week – especially red wine – saw a 60% decrease in their risk of getting a cold. As a result, the researchers attributed this finding to the antioxidants in wine.
- Decrease the chances of dementia: Wernicke-syndrome Korsakoff and alcohol dementia are both linked to long-term alcohol addiction. However, light or moderate alcohol consumption can also lower the risk of dementia.
- Improve cognitive functions: Alcohol also has an impact on how well your brain functions. It turns out that light to moderate drinking can improve your general cognitive function and slow the rate of impairment in your cognitive abilities. This implies that, compared to heavy or even abstinent drinkers, your cognitive and problem-solving skills may improve and last longer.
While studies on alcohol and heart health have produced some outstanding results, much more research is still required to fully understand these results.
It’s also crucial to consider your relationship with alcohol and why it is essential for you to continue drinking at a low to moderate level.
At Sunnyside, we have built an app that you can personalize to track your daily habits and goals. You may be able to change your lifestyle toward a healthier one by keeping track of how much you drink.