Copyright Owen Franken
We always read stuff in the news about all the stupid things people do when they’re drunk. Your local paper may even have a few DUIs in the police blotter. But did you know alcohol actually has some health benefits? Despite all the horrible things hooch does to your body, sometimes it can actually be good for you.
Before discussing the upsides of alcohol, though, we need to make it plentifully clear that this is not an excuse to pour an entire bottle of wine down your throat, drive blind-drunk across town and kill an entire family with your car in the process. The key to reaping the advantages of booze is moderation, but even modest drinking can still result in damage to various organs. Chug with care, readers.
Below are seven ways alcohol is good for you.
Heart health. The antioxidants found in red wine are said to promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. People who are physically active and have at least one alcoholic beverage a week have a 50 percent lower chance of developing heart disease than someone who sits on their butt throwing back shots, watching court TV and fishing for the remote. In addition, the occasional drink may also improve your odds of surviving a heart attack. (Note: the same beneficial things in wine are also found in grapes and grape juice, so the fruity drinks are a good non-alcoholic alternative for sober folks).
Good cholesterol. Beer and wine can both increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind). Going along with this, it can also help to prevent excess plaque build-up in your arteries. This can prevent hardening and clogging of said blood vessels (atherosclerosis), which relates back to point number one. We’ll drink to that. Just be wary of the empty calories that are in beer, especially darker brews. The lighter stuff won’t be so unkind to your midsection.
Arthritis. Alcohol can considerably lessen your chance of getting arthritis when you become old and wrinkly. However, booze is said to increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. So while a glass of wine might prevent your bones from getting persistently achy, it can make them more prone to snapping like twigs. It’s a fine line to walk, but you know what might help? White Russians. There’s milk and alcohol, together, and that means you can help your bones in two ways. It’s genius!
Fiber. Being derived from grains, beer is actually an alright source of fiber. In fact, 500 milliliters (a little less than two cups) of beer can provide over a quarter of your necessary daily intake of fiber. Of course, too much fiber may lead to toilet trouble. Well, maybe not trouble, but at the very least it can lead to a lot of wasted toilet paper. You don’t want to blow your beer budget on TP.
Certain cancers. Yup, even the threat of relapse and death from certain cancers can be reduced with a few swills of wine. Specifically, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and kidney cancer are said to be positively affected by-and maybe even prevented by-a little of the red. If it means you can avoid the difficulty and hardship of chemotherapy, why wouldn’t you down the occasional glass of Cabernet?
Neurological conditions. According to a few studies, partaking in a little alcohol once in a while may help keep Uncle Alzheimer and strokes at bay. The proteins in the myelin sheaths that help guard the neurological pathways in the nervous system respond positively to the alcohol. Of course, too much alcohol has been linked to the death of brain cells, so once again, moderation is the key here.
Life saving. Well, it may only be able to save you in one very particular way. Should you happen to ingest antifreeze for whatever reason, marathon-chugging vodka or whiskey could honestly save your life. The alcohol works by cancelling out the dangerous effects of ethylene glycol, the main component in antifreeze. Seriously!
As a final note, these do not apply to former alcoholics. If you used to throw back entire bottles of whiskey every night for years and have since sobered up, there’s no way falling off the wagon is going to help you more than staying steadfastly on it. Stay strong!