Most of us like to drink a glass of wine or a glass of whiskey in the evening after a hard day. We do this to exfoliate, relieve stress, or when meeting with friends. We find many reasons to drink and believe that this is the norm. We try not to exceed the established limit and no longer notice how alcohol has become an integral part of our lives. It pleases us and makes our life easier. Are you sure your thoughts are correct? Is alcohol safe even in small portions?
We decided to get the opinion of Gregory Marcus, MD, at the University of California, San Francisco, who has been studying the effects of alcohol on the heart for a long time and knows all the answers to your questions about this effect.
Marcus claims that a lot of research has been done in the world, and their results sometimes contradict each other. Therefore, it is rather difficult to say about the benefits and harms of moderate amounts of alcohol in your life. However, you can be sure that the abuse and unlimited amount of alcohol lead to the devastating consequences that occur in all systems of your body.
We tried to figure out what the most common ideas about alcohol and understand where the truth is and where the lie.
The benefits of alcohol for the heart.
According to some studies, one glass of alcohol per day can have a positive effect on the functioning of the ventricle of the heart, but at the same time, it has a bad effect on other aspects of the work of the heart. Thus, when you improve one aspect, destroy the other. Alcohol helps in cleaning the vessels from various accumulations, improves blood circulation, but its effect on heart rate and fibrillation is detrimental.
Summing up, we can say that one or two glasses of alcohol per day can be a preventive measure for a heart attack, but only if you can say with confidence that you do not allow yourself an extra glass. Nevertheless, if you drink alcohol often and more, then you increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It all depends on how much you drink.
Two glasses of alcohol per day are the norm that does not harm health.
Doctors and scientists disagree with this statement. They insist that drinking every day, even within normal limits, is harmful to your health. According to scientists at the University of Washington at St. Louis, alcohol consumption more than three times a week increases the risk of premature death by 20%.
You can argue and say that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of a heart attack. Nevertheless, scientists are convinced that if you consume one glass a day more often than once a week, these benefits will disappear. Therefore, do not consume alcohol more than three times a week and no more than one glass per day.
One glass of wine brings many benefits.
Marcus agrees that we should not exclude wine from our life. It has useful properties, it is a good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Nevertheless, none of the studies has confirmed that a glass of wine every day benefits your body, except for the prevention of a heart attack. And then only if this is not a daily ritual.
The effect of alcohol is the same for all people.
Scientists refute this fact and argue that alcohol has a different effect on every person. Do not forget about the genetic dispositions for various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, a glass of wine brings benefits to one person, and for another one can do irreparable harm. If you are genetically disposed to liver disease, then alcohol can accelerate the development of this disease. Before letting yourself a glass of wine, ask yourself whether it is a risk to your health. Are you sure you know all your genetic predispositions?
Moderate drinking affects life expectancy.
According to research at the University of California at Irvine, people who drink a glass of alcohol live longer every day. Nevertheless, Markus draws attention to the fact that the results of this study should not be taken literally. The study researched the lifestyle of people who reached 90 years of age and as it turned out, they drank moderately alcohol. Their contemporaries, who did not drink alcohol at all, died before at a younger age. However, the reason for refusing alcohol was various diseases, including alcoholism, which destroyed the body long before they were old. Therefore, to argue that alcohol contributes to longevity is impossible.
You need to eliminate alcohol from your life.
This is not a completely correct statement. Of course, people who are predisposed to alcoholism should do this and not even look in the direction of alcohol. Nevertheless, alcohol may be present in relatively healthy people’s lives. However, it should be moderately and not often. You do not have to finish every day with a glass of wine. It does not lead to anything good. Alcohol should be like a dessert, which you can afford as a treat sometimes.
If you are already used to drinking alcohol every day, then begin to get rid of this habit in small steps. First, reduce the number of glasses per day, and then the number of days a week when you drink alcohol.