Heavy Drinking – Knowing When to Give Your Body a Break

Although most of us enjoy kicking back with a beer or a glass of wine every now and again, there is plenty of clear medical research that shows the negative effects of overindulging in alcohol. Imbibing on a regular basis, or drinking large quantities of alcohol, can lead to health conditions like obesity, sleep problems, bone conditions, liver ailments and even foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the case of pregnant women. Despite this clear medical research, there are also studies showing that a little alcohol can be a good thing for the body. So, what’s the bottom line? Here are some of the reasons to enjoy a tipple now and again as well as some of the reasons to take it easy and give your body a break.

Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan/flickr.com

Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan/flickr.com

 

Positive Benefits of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol has been consumed for thousands of years, and some of the earliest humans drank fermented grains or honey that is incredibly similar to today’s alcohol. It stands to reason, then, that drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the human body. By consuming alcohol in moderation, you can enjoy some of the following health benefits. Plus, health insurance providers may appreciate that you are taking steps to enjoy moderate consumption and overall health. Compare health insurance online for a provider that rewards your desire to be a healthier person.

Alcohol Can Increase Bone Strength

A study out of Tufts University shows that moderate alcohol consumption in men and women can lead to stronger bones. If you love cocktails, the next bit of information might not be great news. Further investigation of the study showed that those who had the best bone health consumed either beer or wine, both of which contain an essential mineral called silicon that can promote healthier bone formation.

Moderate Drinking Might Promote Heart Health

One study in Toulouse University followed almost 10,000 men for a period of 10 years to see how their drinking habits affected their health. One of the big results was that those who drank regularly, but not excessively, enjoyed a much lower rate of ischemic heart disease.

Alcohol Can Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

At a 2009 study done at Wake Forest University, researchers investigated the connection between alcohol consumption and dementia. The results clearly showed that individuals who had one or two servings of alcohol each day had better cognitive protection, which results in fewer cases of Alzheimer’s and similar conditions.

Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Unfortunately, it can’t all be good news. Drinking alcohol in excess can cause serious health problems, and even those who drink one or two servings a day could potentially be at risk. Your health insurance coverage costs may go up if you drink heavily, and you may spend more time visiting doctors and hospitals after a lifetime of frequent alcohol consumption.

Excessive Consumption Can Lead to Liver Damage

One of the biggest health problems associated with excess alcohol consumption is liver damage. For this condition, excess drinking is considered to be six drinks or more at one time. Liver problems can include a fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.

Alcohol Consumption Can Interfere With High-Quality Sleep

Since it is not uncommon to refer to that last drink before you go to bed as a nightcap, you might think that alcohol can actually help you sleep better. In reality, however, alcohol consumption can leave you feeling less than rested. While a drink or two might help you fall asleep faster, the quality of sleep won’t be as good as if you had gone to bed sober.

The Connection Between Alcohol and Obesity

Many people forget that alcohol contains calories, and over time, this can lead to unwanted weight gain and even obesity. Since alcohol is primarily carbohydrates and sugar, it is digested rapidly by the body, and in excess, it can promote insulin resistance and diabetes. In moderation, this may not be a problem, but it can be a concern for heavy drinkers.

If you enjoy a couple of beers on a Saturday night or the occasional glass of wine with dinner, you shouldn’t worry about the health effects. Heavy and frequent drinkers, however, may want to pay attention to their consumption. Whatever your drinking habits, you can find a health insurance policy that covers you in case of health problems down the line.