A 2016 international research review revealed that the moderate consumption of beer can be just as healthy as wine when it comes to your heart health. However, before you rush to start drinking more alcohol, moderate means 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women every now and again, not necessarily every day. Liquor is not included in the list of alcoholic drinks that prevents heart disease. Alcohol centers also do not advise people to start drinking for the sole reason on preventing heart disease because the preventative effects are not great enough to justify starting a new habit.
Knowing Your Drink
When defining what moderate drinking means, you cannot equate one drink of beer to one drink of heavy whiskey or liquor because different alcoholic beverages contain different percentages of pure alcohol content. Beer is generally 12 fluid ounces, which is considered to be one drink. By comparison, one drink of wine is 5 fluid ounces and one drink of liquor is 1.5 fluid ounces. In this case, the liquor would be 80-proof. 1.5 fluid ounces can be measured in one standard shot glass.
Heavy drinking is the next level after moderate drinking and involves the consumption of more than three drinks in one day. Binge drinking is when a man has more than five drinks or a woman has more than four drinks within a two-hour period. When people go beyond binge drinking or continue to binge drink throughout the night, they risk the need of alcohol treatment for overdose.
To avoid this, you can learn how to calculate the drink-equivalent of one drink. The comparison drink equivalent you will be using is 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol with nothing else added. The equation is to multiply the ounces of your drink by the percentage of pure alcohol in your drink and divide that result by 0.6 ounces. The amount of pure alcohol in your drink is often listed on the bottle or can with a percentage sign.
Alcohol and Heart Disease
Several studies have linked moderate alcohol use with a decreased risk of heart attack, ischemic stroke, heart disease, sudden cardiac death, and peripheral vascular disease. These heart conditions can all potentially lead to death. However, the actual reduction rate of these adverse health conditions is not a 100% guarantee, but rather, a 25-40% reduction rate. This is probably why, despite these supposed benefits, that alcohol centers are not encouraging everyone to start drinking alcohol.
How Alcohol Prevents Heart Disease
Biologically, the benefits of alcohol work because alcohol enters the bloodstream and increases your content of high-density lipoprotein which has been correlated in the past with decreased chances of developing heart disease. Alcohol also possesses the ability to increase sensitivity to insulin, which has a chain reaction effect of preventing blood clots that tend to block arteries in your heart, neck, and brain. Blood clots are what often cause strokes and heart attacks.
Other Health Benefits of Alcohol
Moderate alcohol use has also been linked to decreasing your chances developing diabetes, likely because of the way alcohol increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin. The malfunction of insulin in the body is what leads to diabetes. Besides the fact that these effects of moderate drinking are fifty-fifty, another reason programs for alcohol treatment discourage people from using alcohol to increase heart health is because small alcohol use still increases your chances of esophageal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system.
Which Drink Works Better?
Amongst our choices of alcoholic beverages, we have beer, wine, and liquor. The question is if they all have the same moderately beneficial effects or if one works better for your health than the others. Studies have supported moderate consumption of red wine more so than beer in your heart health. Liquor is not even mentioned in these studies. Some believe this is because wine might contain additional chemicals that relax blood vessels, which reduces any strain on your blood vessels. When your vessels become strained, they tend to harden and lose their flexibility over time, which increases their chances of rupturing the next time your heart beats fast.
When Alcohol Harms Your Health
While moderate drinking may help your cardiovascular system in some small ways, the excessive use of alcohol can have devastational and irreversible effects on the body. Cancer is one of several adverse health effects correlated with heavy alcohol use. You may also develop pancreatitis, suffer heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, and brain damage. Other than diseases, alcohol can impair people’s judgments if enough is consumed, to the extent that your chances of death by accidental injury or car crashes increases. Many instances of domestic abuse and homicides are also correlated with heavy alcohol use.
Where to Find Alcohol Treatment When You Need Help
At the Recover, we understand that drinking alcohol can be fun at social gatherings and can take the edge off after a long week of work. Moderate alcohol consumption poses no serious concerns, but the chronic use of alcohol monthly for years may negatively impact your health and lead to an addiction. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or cravings to use alcohol when you stop drinking, then you might be suffering with alcohol dependence. This could potentially lead to worse symptoms and drinking habits in the future if left unchecked. Alcohol centers may be able to give you guidance on this issue by providing helpful information and resources on how to overcome your addiction.
The Recover is an unbiased substance abuse and mental health news provider that gives the public information that concerns different aspects of alcohol and drug addiction. We also offer people information about West Virginia centers for addiction treatment and recovery. If you are currently struggling with an addiction to alcohol that is negatively affecting your life or the lives of your friends or family, then please feel free to contact us at (888) 510-3898 to talk with a treatment specialist who will answer any questions you may have and who can work with you to find the right alcohol treatment that best fits your needs and current situation.