The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Effects of Alcohol in the Body

friends drinking out

Someone once said, “A little of something is better. Too much of everything brings unwanted consequences. Moderation is the principle under consideration.” This perception applies to all aspects of life, especially when we talk about health. Take alcohol for instance. It may be perceived as something not good for the body, but this is not always the case.

The body needs a certain amount of alcohol for reducing the risks of heart diseases, ischemic stroke, diabetes, and others. Because some people associate alcohol with health risks, they have come to miss out on the beneficial effects of alcohol in the body. It’s not alcohol per se that can bring disaster to your health, it’s your way of consuming it that makes all the difference. Hence, moderation is always key. But what does drinking moderately means?

According to health experts, men should have no more than two drinks of alcohol a day and women should have no more than one. One drink is equivalent to a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, and a shot of liquor. And take note, even if you don’t drink every day of the week but have six or more drinks in one day, you’re still putting your body at risk even though the average level of consumption is almost the same. Having a Friday night out with your buddies with more than ten drinks is absolutely a wrong idea. Instead of getting benefits from alcohol, you’re only reducing it and even putting your health at risk.

The bottom line – never overconsume. It also pays to know the positive and negative effects of alcohol in the body. Here they are:

The Good Effects of Alcohol in the Body

Reduces the risk of heart problems

Alcohol helps eliminate fat from the arteries, which reduces the tendency of blood clotting. With a smoother blood flow, the risks of heart diseases are lowered.

Lowers cholesterol levels

This beneficial effect is specific only to red wine.

Reduces the risk of stroke

The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot that blocks blood vessels in the brain. However, alcohol enables the blood to go to the brain, reducing the chances of stroke in an individual.

Lengthens your life

According to research, alcohol consumption can help you to live longer, as long as you stay within your limits. The researchers say the best way to drink alcohol is during meals in small amounts. This is the principle the Mediterranean diet follows as it encourages wine to be the best partner in lunch or dinner.

couple drinking cocktails in bedImproves libido

Moderate alcohol consumption has also been linked to better sexual performance. In a study, moderate drinkers were found to have lower erectile dysfunction issues. As such, the researchers encouraged men to hit the bottle.

Helps prevent common colds

Experts say wine, particularly red wine, helps reduce the risk of developing a cold. And they attribute this beneficial effect to the antioxidants in red wine.

Reduces the risk of dementia

People who drink alcohol moderately have lower chances of developing dementia. This is because alcohol stresses the cells and toughens them ultimately, making them better able to cope with stresses and other challenging situations that are likely to cause dementia.

Improves social interaction

Moderate drinking can enhance social interactions because it can make individuals jovial. You may have noticed how strangers in a bar can have lively conversations and share some hearty laughs.

The Bad effects of Alcohol in the Body

Alcohol can have bad effects too.

Interferes with sleep

There’s no problem falling asleep after drinking a glass of wine. But if you drink some more, you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night. You may doze off faster but the quality of your sleep isn’t better when you have too much alcohol.

Dehydrates your body

Alcohol is a diuretic that encourages your body to lose water. Heavy drinkers tend to get dehydrated because of frequent trips to the bathroom. Headaches in the morning after a drinking session are most common due to dehydration. Beer can cause more dehydration more than wine or hard liquor.

Makes you irritable

Alcohol has a significant effect on people’s moods. While some may become convivial, others become irritable and unpleasant to be around with, one reason why conflict can arise around a slightly drunk person.

Interferes with medications

Avoid alcohol when taking medications because the combination of the two can be dangerous for your body, especially the liver.

Influences your children

Your attitude towards alcohol can influence the way your children perceives alcohol. Experts say your children are likely to become heavy drinkers when you’re one. But if you’re a moderate drinker, you’re more likely to influence your children to do so.

The Ugly Effects of Alcohol in the Body

Alcohol can have debilitating effects on the body when consumed too much. Some of them are the following:

Damage to digestive and endocrine glands

Too much alcohol can cause a buildup of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, which can lead to pancreatitis.

liver and alcoholLiver inflammation

The liver is the body’s organ that filters out harmful substances from the body. Long term use of alcohol can cause damage to this filter, which is likely to lead to increased risk for chronic liver inflammation and liver disease.

Interfere with blood sugar levels

Overconsumption of alcohol can interfere with the sugar levels in your body. Damage in the pancreas and liver can either decrease or increase your blood sugar levels. Your body’s inability to manage blood sugar levels can cause complications and side effects and could likely lead to diabetes.

Affects the central nervous system

Too much alcohol can affect the proper functioning of the central nervous system as well. The first sign is slurred speech. This happens because alcohol weakens communication between the body and the brain. When you lose this balance, it’s then advisable not to drive to avoid possible road accidents.

Weak cognition

While moderate drinking can help prevent dementia, too much of it can weaken your cognition or the ability to learn new things and achieve a better judgment. Too much alcohol can prevent your brain from creating long term memories.

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