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How Much Alcohol is Healthy?

Posted On: 03-04-2016
How Much Alcohol is Healthy?

While alcohol does provide some possible health benefits, it is also easy to drink too much and put yourself at risk. By understanding the benefits and dangers of alcohol, you can make healthy decisions about your own consumption.

How Alcohol Works

Alcohol is made by fermenting sugars, yeast, and starches. When consumed, alcohol affects every organ in the body. Once it is absorbed quickly from the stomach, it is sent to be metabolized in your liver. Since your liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, consuming too much alcohol means that the remainder is left to circulate in the body.

Limitations

Alcohol affects different people in different ways. In general, it is recommended that men limit themselves to two drinks per day, and women limit themselves to one drink per day. But it’s important to know that not all alcoholic beverages are created equal either. For example, one drink is considered to be either one 12 ounce beer, one 1.5 ounce shot of liquor, or one 5 ounce glass of wine.

There are some people who should never consume alcohol for any reason, including pregnant women. Certain medical conditions can also make it unsafe for you to drink. 

Benefits

There are some possible benefits of consuming alcohol, including risk of stroke, diabetic risk, and heart disease. However, these potential benefits need more research. They are also not outweighed by the potential risks of drinking too much, such as liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and high blood pressure.

Considerations

Even though there may be some benefits of drinking alcohol, you should not start drinking more frequently just on that basis. Alcohol isn’t necessary for achieving a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk of heart disease. However, if you drink and you are healthy, you don’t necessarily need to stop if you are drinking responsibly. Ask your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. 

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