The Internet is full of mixed messages about alcohol. On the one hand, moderate amounts have been linked to health benefits. On the other, it is addictive and highly toxic, especially when you drink too much. The truth is that the health effects of alcohol vary between individuals and depend on the amount and type of alcohol consumed. This article discusses how alcohol affects your health.
Alcohol & Liver
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, and frequent intake can lead to increased fat inside liver cells. Alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, a very serious condition.
Alcohol & Heart
Moderate alcohol consumption may raise “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease blood pressure & cut the risk of diabetes. While moderate alcohol consumption may reduce your risk of heart disease, heavy drinking may increase it.
Alcohol & Brain
While alcohol intoxication is only temporary, chronic alcohol abuse can impair brain function permanently. Many people facing anxiety & depression drink intentionally to reduce stress and improve mood. While drinking may provide a few hours of relief, it will worsen your overall mental health. People may start abusing alcohol due to depression or become depressed by abusing alcohol.
Alcohol & Cancer
Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of certain cancers, especially mouth and throat cancer. This is irrespective of the amount of alcohol consumed.
Alcohol & Pregnancy
Alcohol abuse is one of the world's most common causes of birth defects. The fetus is particularly vulnerable early in pregnancy. Pregnant ladies should not consume alcohol.
Alcohol & Dependence
Alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, in predisposed individuals. Chronic alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on your body and brain, increasing your risk of many diseases.
Alcohol & Obesity
Alcohol is the second most calorie-rich nutrient after fat, packing about 7 calories per gram. Heavy drinking and beer are linked to increased weight gain, while moderate drinking and wine are linked to reduced weight gain or even weight loss.
Which type of alcohol is better?
Red wine may be one of the healthiest alcoholic beverages,probably due to its high concentration of antioxidants.
The Bottom Line
- At the end of the day, the effects of alcohol range from a positive impact on your well being to a health catastrophe.
- Drinking small amounts, especially of red wine is linked to various health benefits.
- On the other hand, alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are linked to severe negative effects on both physical and mental health.
- So if you enjoy alcohol and don’t binge, there is no compelling reason to avoid it. Just keep in mind that your cancer risk may increase, regardless of how much you are drinking.