Alcohol is one of the most popular fermented beverages. Ethanol is one of the types of alcohol that is the main ingredient in alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is classed as a ‘sedative hypnotic’ drug, meaning that it slows down vital functions—resulting in Slurred speech, euphoria, dissociation, Lowered Blood Pressure or heart rate, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly.
There has always been a debate about the merits and demerits of alcohol. While drinking moderate amount of alcohol has some health benefits but the underlying risks and chances of its addiction can’t be ignored. Wine, beer, whisky, vodka etc. are different types of alcoholic beverages. The amount of alcohol varies in these.
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. The average glass of wine contains around 11% to 13% alcohol, but the range may vary from as little as 5.5% alcohol by volume to as much as around 20% Alcohol by Volume.
Research has shown that wine and other types of alcohol can be beneficial to health, particularly in decreasing risks of cardiovascular complications and heart failure due to its effect on gut microbiome. Red wine has antioxidant and anti- inflammatory effects.
“Alcohol, especially red wine, has resveratrol and antioxidants and flavonoids and polyphenols, and all of these wonderful things that dilate the arteries and reduce inflammation,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. Moderate consumption of red wine is 5 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men.
Despite the potential benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol, the binge drinking of alcohol has no health benefits. According to WHO the consumption of alcohol contributes to deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Alcohol directly influences the heart, brain, liver, gall bladder and levels of lipids and insulin in the body.
Our liver is a detoxifying organ which neutralizes the toxins of the body but heavy drinking can disturb the liver’s functioning. Heavy drinking can cause fatty liver and high inflammation and in serious cases it can lead to cirrhosis. It can also lead to stroke, higher blood pressure, and pancreatitis. Some researchers have seen a strong link between alcohol drinking and several types of cancers like head cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer due to folate deficiency. Alcohol also increases the level of estrogen in the body which can increase the growth of breast cancer cells. Excessive alcohol consumption can be a barrier in weight loss and can cause obesity.
One cannot comment whether you should drink or not because it’s an individual’s choice. But it’s important to be aware of the benefits and risks related to its consumption.
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