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Diet & Nutrition

3 Popular Alcoholic Drinks & Their Health Benefits

Dr. Pragnya Rao

It is important that we weigh the risks & benefits while consuming alcohol of any kind.

Alcohol is something that has become a common commercial commodity that has made its way into the deep fabric of the society, often encouraged to be taken ‘in moderation’ in public gatherings, parties, meetings, etc. It is important as adults, to understand and weigh the risks and benefits of partaking in the consumption of alcohol of any kind. 

This article will help focus on the apparent health benefits that a drink, when consumed in moderation, has the potential to provide. However, a few points need to be clearly understood before we can get there:

  • If you are a teetotaller (you do not drink alcohol), then please DO NOT start drinking in order to obtain the supposed health benefits
  • The few health benefits that an alcoholic drink can provide when it is responsibly consumed are easily outnumbered by the risks that daily consumption can cause
  • Drinking alcohol is very much associated with dependency, addiction, disruption in family/social/personal life, accidents, liver cirrhosis and consequent death. However, when consumed safely, responsibly, you will be able to reap the benefits these drinks provide

Note: To reiterate, this article does not in any way promote the consumption of alcoholic drinks, nor does it encourage you to begin drinking. This is only to provide information based on scientific evidence. The responsibility of consuming alcoholic drinks in moderation is completely in your hands. 

Having put that out, we can now explore a little bit to understand the personality of some alcoholic drinks and their contribution to elevating one’s health. 

Beer

It is probably the most common drink that is consumed worldwide. Beer is made up of water, a starch source that is processed via fermentation by yeast and flavouring in order to bring out an alcoholic beverage that is bitter yet beloved by many. The average alcohol by volume of modern beer is between 4 and 6 per cent.

YAYs: The beer supposedly has some helpful properties when it comes to health:

  • It is said to provide cardiovascular benefits such as the decreased risk of heart attack and stroke when consumed in small quantities
  • Can help lower the risk of kidney stones and even bladder cancer
  • It is a source of Vitamin B, potassium and other antioxidants (varies with different types of beer)

NAYs: Excessive drinking of beer and long term consumption can have detrimental effects on the body

Red wine

The red wine has a long history of being used in ancient medicine and has always been in trend, no matter what the vintage is. With an average of about 10-11 percent of alcoholic volume, red wine contains resveratrol, natural phenols that have unique health effects.

YAYs: Red wine is widely consumed and is believed to have many beneficial effects:

  • It can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders like heart attack and stroke when consumed moderately
  • The anticoagulant properties of red wine can help in preventing the formation of blood clots in the arteries
  • It is believed to be good for the skin as it contains a great number of antioxidants

NAYs: Long term wine consumption is often related to alcohol dependency.

Tequila

Tequila has its own fan base across the world and is usually consumed in small quantities in the form of shots, and sometimes mixed into cocktails. It is made from blue agave plants and is said to have average alcohol by volume of about 40 percent. 

YAYs: This alcoholic beverage used to be given in Mexico in the 1930s as a cure for the common cold:

  • A tequila shot taken after a meal can help improve your digestion
  • It is considered to be a probiotic and can help uplift your digestive and general immunity
  • It is believed that tequila can help you with sleeping well. However, the claim is true only when small quantities are consumed since excessive amounts can have quite the opposite effect. 

NAYs: Tequila contains high alcohol by volume and also contains over 300 compounds:

  • It can cause extreme mood swings and can lead to lack of coordination if consumed very frequently
  • Drinking cheap tequila every night can cause stomach aches and bad hangovers.
  • The potential health benefits will be missed if tequila is consumed excessively, as it can predispose to alcoholic liver disease. 

Having mentioned these, it is important to remember that the HEALTHIEST, MOST WONDERFUL, LIFE-SAVING DRINK you will ever drink is WATER!

As mentioned earlier, the information provided here should definitely help you with understanding what effects an alcoholic drink might have on your body. However, all alcoholic drinks, when consumed irresponsibly and in excess can lead to a common spectrum of alcohol dependency, liver cirrhosis, pancreatic issues, mental health problems and various kinds of cancers. If you do not drink alcohol at all, you always can explore non-alcoholic mojitos and mocktails or simply settle for the best: water. 

If you or anybody in your family has a dependence on alcohol, it is serious and must be addressed, especially when these behaviours can get even more reckless and unchecked during the pandemic. Make sure to reach out to health experts on MFine from the comfort of your homes so you can have a good evaluation of what habits are best for you. #ConsultOnline #HarGharMeinDoctor

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