Alcohol – The facts
Moderate alcohol consumption (meaning about one drink per day for women) has some undeniable health benefits, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. On the downside, alcohol adds calories to your diet, interferes with the action of many medications, and can cause liver disease and raise blood pressure if you drink too much over long periods. In addition, alcohol is a leading cause of car accidents and has been linked to cancer.
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Alcohol and cardiovascular disease
While there is strong evidence that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower of heart disease and reduced mortality, it’s hard to accurately study.
- The health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are largely attributable to moderate alcohol intake – predominantly wine
- A large, long term study found that death rates are lowest among women who have about one drink per day
But for everything good, there is also the bad.
- Alcohol consumption is associated with increased rates of death from cirrhosis and alcoholism
- It is also associated with cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and liver combined.
- The death rate from breast cancer appears 30 percent higher among women reporting at least one drink daily than among non-drinkers
Exercise might help prevent cancer deaths
Heavy consumption of alcohol has a known relationship to the increase in death from colon cancer. In a recent study, researcher found that the more people exercised, the lower the risk of dying from both cancer and other conditions. As the research team noted:
- "But given that so many people do drink alcohol, our study gives yet another compelling reason to encourage and empower people to be physically active and ask policy makers to invest in physical activity-friendly environments”