Wine, Alcohol and Health

“Wine is life”. – PetroniusAccording to Patrick McGovern from the University of Pennsylvania, wine is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man, with origins in the Neolithic age. However, grape domestication and wine culture began later on. There is still an open question whether wine was first produced for its taste or for religious purposes.Today only a few wish to enter this debate. Wine is part of our lives and the questions modern scientists try to answer are strictly related with the impact of wine on human health. Years of wine making has shown, that consuming wine has a positive impact on human health: wine drinkers are healthier, have better life styles and even eat healthier than beer or liquor drinkers and non-drinkers. Statistics even say that wine drinkers are less neurotic and have a higher I.Q. than the rest. “Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary”. – Babylonian Talmud

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Alcohol and Diabetes – While we hear often alcohol has negative impact on our health, truth is that moderate consumption is necessary for healthy living. Yet, alcohol affects men and women differently. For example, Dutch researchers from the University Medical Center, Utrecht studied the relationship between moderate consumption of alcohol and type 2 diabetes in older women. Compared with abstainers, women consuming alcohol in moderate amounts were less likely to develop non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The Dutch researchers’ recommendation: not more than 30 grams of alcohol per week.Alcohol and Kidney Cancer – Kidney cancer risks, especially renal cell carcinoma, could also be reduced by moderate consumption of alcohol, according to a study conducted in Sweden. The Swedish scientists underlined that moderate consumption of alcohol also decreases the triglyceride concentrations in postmenopausal women.Alcohol and Heart Disease – According to Danish researchers from the National Institute for Public Health in Copenhagen, men benefit from wine and moderate alcohol consumption as well. Though research has shown that the risk of developing heart diseases is lowered by alcohol consumption in men and women, the most beneficial effects were observed in men. While men who drink every day have lower odds of getting a heart disease, daily drinking does not cut the odds for women.Alcohol and Obesity – One alcoholic drink a day decreases the risk of becoming obese, according to the researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Yet, this doesn’t mean that obese people should start drinking to lose weight. Alcohol contains many calories and it is still not clear how moderate consumption is related to lesser odds of obesity.

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Alcohol and Its Side Effects – The harm of the alcohol is dose related. One should not see only the benefits, ignoring its dangers. Heavy drinking is a class “A” human carcinogen. It is also proven that heavy drinking raises the odds of obesity, so take it easy on that booze! Heavy drinking is also closely related to liver disease, brain malfunction, increase of stress, hemorrhagic stroke and osteoporosis. Alcohol is not recommended to pregnant women – at all. So don’t consider moderate drinking as an option during pregnancy, as any amount of alcohol may cause fetal defects.