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Human beings have been drinking fermented beverages for thousands of years now. There have been numerous debates about the pros and cons of drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Consuming alcohol can be good as well as bad for you. The most important factor in determining whether alcohol is being consumed as a tonic or as a poison is the dosage.
Uncontrolled drinking can be a cause of preventable death. It can damage heart and liver and can also cause irreparable damage to an unborn child. Unrestrained drinking increases the risk of developing types of cancers such as breast cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, and colorectal cancer. The main ingredient of alcohol, ethanol, affects our body in different ways. It affects the levels of lipids and insulin in the blood and also influences the functioning of stomach, liver, gall bladder, and heart.
The type of alcohol consumed can also have an effect on your health.
Popularity of Wine over Beer
There has long been a debate about which is better – wine or beer. Traditionally, most Americans have preferred beer over wine.
As per the poll, the popularity of beer has been steadily declining since 1992. When the poll was conducted in 1992, 47% of the people had said that they prefer beer and 27% had said that they preferred wine. The latest poll results indicate that 36% people prefer beer and 35% prefer wine.
The popularity of wine has shown a remarkable improvement. The shift is most pronounced in the younger generation which comprises the under 30 year olds. As per the poll conducted in 1992, about 71% of the under 30 year olds preferred beer whereas as per the latest poll, only 41% of the under 30 year olds preferred beer. The preference for wine in this age group rose from 14 to 24 percent during this time period.
Health Benefits of Wine over Beer
About 200 years ago, an Irish doctor had observed that the cases of angina were much lesser in France in comparison to the number of cases reported in Ireland. He observed that even though the French diet was rich in butter and cheese, there were relatively fewer number of heart disease cases. This can be attributed to the high consumption of red wine in France.
The key benefits offered by moderate consumption of wine are listed below:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease: Red wine, especially when consumed after a meal, offers much more benefits related to the cardiovascular system than any other form of alcohol. As per a study conducted by Swedish researchers, it has been found that moderate wine drinkers can cut their risk of premature death due to cardiovascular disease by about one third in comparison to teetotalers. Wine can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease owing to the fact that it has the property of dilating arteries, thereby increasing blood flow. This also lowers the risk of developing blood clots that often block the supply of blood to the heart muscles. Wine can also boost the levels of HDL or good cholesterol and lowers the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Wine is known to contain phenols that are helpful in limiting the oxidation of LDL thereby preventing injuries caused by LDL to the arteries.