It is a well-known fact that drinking alcoholic beverages is harmful to your health but not many know the numerous benefits of drinking alcohol. Approximately half of the world’s population indulges in these drinks, which include beer and spirits with the highest consumption followed by wine. What originated as far back as the Stone Ages has now become a defining component in many societies.
Some of the major risks involved when the consumption has no limitations include damage to the liver, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and long-term effects on memory. This applies however, only to inexhaustible usage over an extended period of time. The various types of alcohol each have numerous benefits and uses apart from their ability to help with relaxation, extraversion and an overall staple in cultural and social activities.
The Benefits of Wine
The first food item used in the fermentation process originating between Western Asia and Eastern Europe was the grape. Consuming 1-2 5oz glasses of wine everyday can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. This is the hardening of the arteries due to the build-up of plaques, which consist of fat, cholesterol and calcium. Wine helps to prevent and reduce these plaques which when present can lead to blood clots, heart attack and stroke. This is due to antioxidants called procyanidins and resveratrol in red wine, with the highest concentration being found in wines from Southwest France. Wine ultimately can help to prevent more accelerated conditions such as Coronary Heart Disease, Carotid Artery Disease, Peripheral Arterial Disease, and finally Chronic Kidney Disease, which are all caused by plaque build-up. In addition wine also increases the level of HDL, or good cholesterol in the body. This in turn maintains blood pressure at a healthy level. Wine has been shown due to these reasons to help control Type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown a decreased chance of developing cataracts, colon cancer and natural brain degeneration versus non-drinkers.
The Benefits of Beer
Beer is the result of fermentation beginning with starch and later flavored with hops. Beer is extremely useful in preventing kidney stones. This is done through the dilation of the ureters if the stone can be passed or as a preventative measure since it is a diuretic, a higher concentration of urine is produced and stones are less likely to occur. Darker beers also contain high amounts of fiber, which aids in digestion and helps eliminate fat from the body. Darker beers such as Guinness are also high in vitamin B as well as iron, which are essential for nutrition and aid in sleep. The specific B vitamins also help to hydrate the skin and reduce redness creating more beautiful skin. Silicon in beer helps to create greater bone density, which is vital for aging women who are at greater risk for Osteoporosis. Studies have also shown a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in moderate beer drinkers versus non-drinkers. Another great use for beer is as an occasional shampoo. Washing your hair with a dark beer maintains the health and vibrancy of hair through the vitamins and minerals from both the hops and barely that it is prepared from.
The Benefits of Whiskey and Gin
Spirits are found in many different forms and created from a variety of fruit and vegetable species. Of them there are several with added beneficial qualities. Whiskey, produced from barley, corn, rye or wheat, can help to combat colds. This is accomplished by the increase in circulation due to increased blood vessel dilation. This can help fight the common cold by helping to deliver white blood cells and nutrients in the body to the source of infection. It can also be used as an effective cough syrup when combined with hot water. This also helps deliver blood to the brain, thus aiding with memory. In combination with a meal whiskey can help curb your appetite, preventing overeating and promoting weight loss. The diabetic friendly, low-carb, low-sugar spirit has also been shown to reduce gallstones in studies when compared to non-whiskey drinkers. Another significant benefit of whiskey is its ability to relieve pain, specifically for cramping during menstruation. Gin is produced mainly from Juniper berries, which on their own have multiple health promoting properties. The berries and thus gin have infection fighting abilities, help with kidney insufficiencies, and congestion. Gin is also useful for initiating the menstrual cycle when late. It also has an anti-inflammatory property and is therefore helpful when consumed by patients that suffer from chronic arthritis. Gin also contains the least amount of calories out of any of the spirits, which can help to minimize weight gain when consuming alcoholic beverages.
The Benefits of Chartreuse and Ginger Beer
Other important spirits that can be used for their health benefits include a French liqueur known as Chartreuse. This green coloured liquor is made by Carthusian Monks from 130 different spices, herbs, plants and flowers. Each ingredient in itself has some type of medicinal property including but not limited to anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-spasmodics. It also is a powerful digestive aid, helping to eliminate harmful bacteria in the body and increase digestive enzymes. In the past this liqueur was purchased and administered in the French military as a health elixir. Chartreuse can be purchased at any local liquor store or online.
Ginger beer, which is made from fresh ginger and lemon, has multiple uses for health. Gingerol and shogaol are two oils contained in the alcoholic beverage that help to diminish cough, reduce blood pressure, gastric contraction and help fight colorectal cancer by triggering thtomatic killing of the specific cancer cells. The ginger has natural anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. The lemon also adds vitamin C, which helps the immune system and fights against colds.
In addition to providing overall stress relief and contributing to many cultural traditions, there are many benefits of alcohol that promote a healthier wellbeing. Although many of the harmful side effects from large amounts of alcohol being consumed are well known, the health promoting benefits are often overlooked. When specific types of spirits, beer or wine are drank responsibly it can offer the consumer an edge over those who do not consume or indulge in any.