The 5 Healthiest Alcohols to Drink and Which You Should Avoid

About 40 percent of those deaths had acute causes, like car crashes, poisonings and homicides. But the majority were caused by chronic conditions attributed to alcohol, such as liver disease, cancer and heart disease. When sustained over a long period of time, alcohol abuse can also worsen other health conditions such as mood disorders, osteoporosis and high blood pressure, according to the National Institute on Aging. And, of course, drinking too much can lead to falls and broken bones, which are always a concern for seniors. The recommendations and guidelines set forth by the government and health agencies for alcohol consumption are generally based on low to moderate intake. Here in the U.S. that means a maximum of one drink per day for women, and two per day for men.

is alcohol good for you

Looking Ahead: The Future of Treatment

is alcohol good for you

Some research suggests that wine provides the strongest protection against cardiovascular disease, possibly due to naturally occurring compounds known as flavonoids. However, other studies indicate that all alcoholic beverages offer cardioprotective benefits. Whether beverage type matters for other diseases remains uncertain, although most evidence suggests that it does not. However, a prospective study following almost 15,000 men at four-year periods found only an increased risk of minor weight gain with higher intakes of alcohol.

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  • Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, and an active bacterial yeast culture.
  • [18] An earlier study suggested that getting 600 micrograms a day of folate could counteract the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk.

[18] An earlier study suggested that getting 600 micrograms a day of folate could counteract the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk. [17] There was no association with folate and increased breast cancer risk among women who drank low or no alcohol daily. The scientists suspected that this had something to do with the antioxidant properties of wine. A recent successful effort in the U.S. to launch an international study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Nutrition and healthy eating

A recent study examined how levels of the stress hormone cortisol change over time. Researchers have found that cortisol levels in a person’s body increase steadily after middle-age, and that this age-related increase in stress may drive changes in the brain. A meta-analysis funded by the National Institute of Mental Health supports the notion that stress and anxiety rewire the brain in ways that can impact memory, decision-making, and mood.

Some types of alcohol that are lower in calories and carbohydrates include vodka soda and light beer. Other types of alcohol, such as red wine, are high in antioxidant polyphenols. Made from apples, cider contains less alcohol content than wine but is also rich in antioxidant plant compounds.

Given the complexity of alcohol’s effects on the body and the complexity of the people who drink it, blanket recommendations about alcohol are out of the question. Because each of us has unique personal and family histories, alcohol offers each person a different spectrum of benefits and risks. Whether or not to drink alcohol, especially for “medicinal purposes,” requires careful balancing of these benefits and risks. There is also some evidence that genes influence how alcohol affects the cardiovascular system.

is alcohol good for you

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As I’ve written about before, a number of studies have demonstrated health benefits with lower amounts of drinking. But if you drink too much alcohol (especially at inopportune times), there may be significant harms as well. Just how these balance out remains a matter of some debate and controversy. It doesn’t matter is alcohol good for you how much you drink – the risk to the drinker’s health starts from the first drop of any alcoholic beverage. Alcohol causes at least seven types of cancer, including the most common cancer types, such as bowel cancer and female breast cancer. The social and psychological benefits of alcohol can’t be ignored.

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  • It is a broad category of diseases, the most common of which are coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • And it’s not just conflicting research that make decisions about alcohol difficult; other related factors, such as your age, gender and overall health, can further complicate the issue.
  • For those with Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels increase, which can also be dangerous.
  • The groups for family and friends listed below may be a good starting point.
  • In other countries, and in many research studies, a different definition is used.

When asked how alcohol problems are treated, people commonly think of 12-step programs or 28-day inpatient rehab but may have difficulty naming other options. In fact, there are a variety of treatment methods currently available, thanks to significant advances in the field over the past 60 years. If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present.

is alcohol good for you