health benefits of alcohol
Published by Abigail T

Health Benefits of Alcohol

When people think about drinking, they may think of diverse flavours, indulgence, or a fancy dinner. Others may think of a messy night out, drunkenly ordering fast food at 3am, and raging hangovers. Out of all of this, the number one effect that everyone associates with alcohol is drunkenness. While these seem to be the only things that alcohol offers, you’d be surprised that the beverage does more than just intoxicate the body. There are actually several health advantages you can reap out of drinking alcohol. Of course, the key is to consume in moderation. These benefits only apply when you drink a responsible amount. Read on to check out how the right amount of alcohol can improve your health.

Prevents a cold

Normally, we treat a cold with medicines like antihistamine and paracetamol. But did you know that red wine can help you prevent getting a cold? Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that drinking red wine reduces the risks of catching a cold by 60%.

It’s not recommended to drink red wine when you’re sick, and you shouldn’t start doing that just because of this newfound knowledge. Remember that red wine won’t cure a cold, but regular moderate consumption can reduce your chances of catching one. 

Reduces risk of dementia

Memory loss, or what is commonly known as getting blackout drunk, is a common byproduct of excessive drinking. This experience may cause you to shy away from binge drinking, and you’d be wise to do so. After all, too much of anything is never healthy. 

While prolonged alcohol abuse may damage the brain, moderate alcohol consumption can have a positive effect on your memory. It can help reduce the risk of dementia, an illness affecting memory and social abilities in older adults.

Prevents heart attacks and strokes

This health benefit applies if you’re in good shape. Like all these other perks of drinking alcohol, you need to be holistically healthy. You can’t just keep drinking excessively, thinking you’re making yourself immune to heart attacks. A moderate amount of alcohol increases your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good kind of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Consuming a responsible amount of alcohol also decreases your blood pressure and lower your stress levels in the short-term. On the contrary, binge drinking regularly can lead to heart diseases.  The keyword as always is moderation.

Impedes kidney stones

You may have been discouraged from drinking because there is a chance you may develop kidney stones. It’s true that too much alcohol will dehydrate you, putting you at risk of getting kidney stones. But drinking responsibly with your health in mind can prevent this.

Drinking wine in particular can reduce said risk by 33%, while drinking beer will reduce it by 41%. This may be because you urinate more when drinking, meaning you’re flushing out more toxins that may crystalise and form stones.

Fortifies your bones

Calcium isn’t the only thing you can consume to strengthen your bones. You’d be surprised to learn that beer contains silicon. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this element has the ability to increase your bone’s density.

It is suggested that 1 to 2 glasses of beer a day can strengthen your bones.  A study on postmenopausal women who consumed this amount every day resulted in their bone density boosted by 8.3%.

Increases creativity levels

Some artists swear by the drink, even crediting it for their best work. There’s even a famous saying for writers which goes, “Write drunk, edit sober.” This actually has some scientific truth to it. A primary research study conducted by Consciousness and Cognition concluded that vodka cranberry helps get the creative juice flowing. They conducted the research on two groups of men, comparing their creativity levels when sober as opposed to after drinking.

The men had to solve a puzzle while watching a movie. The men on alcohol proved to be more creative, solving the puzzle in a mere 11.5 seconds. The next time you hit a wall on a work in progress, maybe try  fixing yourself a vodka cranberry and see what happens.

Helps with weight loss

You’ve heard the term “beer belly.” This suggests that consumption of alcohol may lead to weight gain. But that depends on many factors, including the kind of alcohol you consume.  As hard as it is to believe, tequila in particular can actually help you lose weight.

Made from agave plants, the natural sugar found in tequila and mezcal are a healthier option compared to artificial sweeteners, such as those found in most alcohol mixers. Scientific research indicates that knocking back a shot of tequila can reduce your glucose levels and make you full for longer.

Cures a sore throat

It may seem counterintuitive to drink alcohol when you have a sore throat. The reality is, you just need to drink the right kind mixed with the right things in order to cure your ailment. If your throat is getting a little itchy, you can try this trick to relieve some of the discomfort. In a small glass, mix in whisky, honey, and warm water. Give it a good stir, down the drink, and watch what happens. 

But what constitutes as moderate?

As aforementioned, the key to making the most of alcohol to benefit your health is moderation. But how can you tell how much is too much? To answer this question, we must define the standard drink amount. Generally, it’s good to go by this standard from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. One drink equals this amount for the following alcoholic beverages:

  • Beer: 12 fl oz
  • Malt liquor: 8-9 fl oz
  • Wine: 5 fl oz
  • Hard liquor (such as gin, vodka, whisky, tequila, and rum): 1.5 fl oz

Moderate drinking means consuming 1 to 2 standard drinks per day.

Red & White

Red & White is Indonesia’s leading full-service wine and spirits retailer since 2014. I'm very happy to provide you information about the liquor world and let's have a drink together at the nearest Red & White store.

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