A Spirited Conversation: Health, Wellness & Alcohol - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Aug 05, 2021 at 01:44 pm by RMGadmin

Gino Salvatore, Franklin Wine & Spirits

To use alcohol in the health and wellness arena seems odd or just off. When we think of the whole area of health and wellness, we are thinking of workouts, sweating, CrossFit, going to the gym, yoga, sleep, stress reduction, calories, fat and a balanced diet. Alcohol is the last thing that comes to mind in health and wellness. Or should it be one that we think of often?

 For many of us, we partake in alcohol consumption, and in varying degrees, it is part of our lives. But while we often have that glass of wine at dinner, a drink for happy hour or a little bourbon on the rocks watching the sunset, alcohol, like many items we put in our body, can negatively affect our overall health and wellness. Like everything else in life: Moderation is the key.

 So, where does alcohol fit on our road to health and wellness? To help us understand, we have developed the list below to help us in what role our consumption of alcohol plays in our health and wellness. But, unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good.

The Good

There are a few studies done to examine the role of alcohol in health and wellness. For instance, a 2020 study in the journal JAMA Network Open found that middle-aged and older adults who consumed low to moderate amounts of alcohol had better cognitive function than those who never drank. Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology involved 333,247 people and found that light-moderate drinkers were twenty-six and twenty-nine percent less likely to be compared with lifetime abstainers who die of heart disease, respectively.

Moderate alcohol consumption may:

  • Raise “good” HDL cholesterol in your bloodstream.
  • Decrease blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease.
  • Lower your blood concentration of fibrinogen, a substance that contributes to blood clots.
  • Cut the risk of diabetes, another major risk factor for heart disease. 
  • Reduce stress and anxiety temporarily.

The Bad and The Ugly

  • The studies mentioned above have not been replicated; therefore, there’s not much information out there to support alcohol consumption and improved health and wellness are limited.
  • The studies on alcohol’s effect on health, wellness and overall functioning indicate the harmful effects of ongoing consumption.  
  • Alcohol is considered a depressant drug; this means it depresses many of our bodily functions. For example, judgment, speech, motor coordination, perception is all negatively impacted when we drink too much.
  • Health professionals have recommended that if you want to lose weight, one thing to do is to cut out alcohol consumption. This is because alcohol adds calories to a person’s daily caloric intake. In essence, drinking alcohol can lead to obesity.
  • Alcohol is the second most calorie-rich nutrient after fat.
  • Beer has as many calories as a sugary soft drink ounce for ounce; red wine is twice as much as beer.
  • When taking other medications, the consumption of alcohol may interfere with the effectiveness of those medications.
  • Some researchers believe that moderate consumption of red wine may help prevent heart disease because of the antioxidants found in red wine. However, such items like fruits and vegetables also have antioxidants and can help prevent heart disease.

Now that I have scared you from drinking alcohol, the positive is that drinking in moderation is not harmful. However, Like anything else in life, too much of a good thing is not really good for you. Our overall health and wellness have so many variables that it sometimes is a full-time job to monitor and regulate them. The one area that plays a crucial role in our health and wellness is that of genetics. This is a large topic, but one that we have no control over.

But there is an alternative available if you want to consume alcoholic beverages without the alcohol. Sounds weird, but non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits are available for those who cannot have alcohol. And most recently, companies have produced low-calorie, low alcohol beverages as well. The new crave are spirit-involved spritzer and canned cocktails. The long and short of this discussion is that while a few studies show positive effects of alcoholic consumption, more studies explain the negative impact. The key here is moderation. Don’t deny yourself a shot of any expensive bourbon while watching that sunset or a glass of a 1982 French Bordeaux. Do it in moderation. That will have lasting effects on your body as well as your mind. Glasses UP!!!

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