The ability of alcohol to cause various damages to the human body is well-known. But, instant relaxation is not the only benefit for which people are taking the risk of those damages. When taken in moderate quantity, alcohol can offer a number of health benefits, such as – reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, enhancing libido, immunization against common cold, reducing possibilities of brain diseases (like – Dementia), and strengthening against gallstone. An essential condition to extract those benefits requires a ‘moderate quantity intake’. Otherwise, ills of alcohol leading to the development of diseases, like- anemia, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, gout, depression, nerve damage and many more will make their way into the body.
So, it is quite clear that a specific quantity of alcohol is acceptable and excess of it is really dangerous. But how does one draw a line of acceptability. Various researchers have dug into studies and have highlighted the following as acceptable or ‘low-risk’ for alcohol consumption:
- One or two units of alcohol per day
- A constant pattern of drinking spread through a week
Let’s understand these factors more closely.
What makes a unit of alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are various and so is the quantity of alcohol in their composition. For the sample, beer contains 5% alcohol, table wine has 12% alcohol, brandy has almost 40% alcohol and so on the composition keeps varying. Thus, the measurement of a unit of alcohol is different for them. The following quantities of various alcoholic drinks make one unit pure alcohol, which is 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams:
- Regular Beer- 12 fluid ounces
- Malt Liquor- 8-9 fluid ounces
- Table Wine- 5 fluid ounces
- Fortified Wine- 3-4 fluid ounces
- Cordial, Liqueur, or Aperitif- 2-3 fluid ounces
- Brandy or Cognac- 5 fluid ounces
- 80-Proof Distilled Spirits- 5 fluids ounces
Now, researchers explain that drinking 1 or 2 units of alcohol every day or around 14 units per week stays within the safes belt and the risk involved with the health are significantly lesser. It can even support the health in many ways as mentioned above. Exceeding this limit, however, tell another story and can lead to dreadful consequences.
What’s a healthy alcohol-drinking pattern
The researchers mention that regular drinkers need to maintain their consumption quality on a weekly basis. For a healthy lifestyle, they recommend that drinking should be spread on the various days of the week and should be avoided on at least one day each week. This will help in controlling the count of weekly drinks but also helps the body recover from the alcoholic damages to a certain extent. World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that weekly consumption of 14 drink remains within ‘low-risk’ drinking for adult males. For females, the level has to be kept lower as they are more susceptible to the damages of alcohol, especially with the brain. Recommended unit consumption for females is almost half to the men to stay on ‘low-risk’ shores. This limited consumption can bring in certain improvements in the health as well. However, an important consideration is that “low-risk” consumption is not a “no-risk”.
Low-risk is Not No-risk
Even though, studies have revealed that limited quantity of alcohol consumption can save the human body from various diseases, it still matters greatly on the immunity and strength of the human body. Factors, such as- how long alcohol stays in the body, varies with the lifestyle of people. That means people following a healthy lifestyle involving considerable workout may even find a slightly increased level of alcohol acceptable while the inactive ones may suffer even with the lesser quantity. Variation with the metabolism, living conditions, other food practices, etc. are other factors that can impact the level of alcohol impact.
Most of the alcoholics prefer a certain type of alcohol and it is advisable to rely only on it. It helps the body to get accustomed to it. Keeping an eye on the acceptable level of alcohol for the certain type also remains easier in that case. However, changing them often can impact the body in non-favorable manners and hence, its effects can be severe even if consumed in acceptable level.
Alcohol has certain ills, but there are some benefits as well. Which one avails for you remains a dependent on the amount and the pattern you opt. Certainly, drinking too often and too much is not a smart thing to go for.