Excess of alcohol can cause several long term health issues. While it is recommended to avoid alcohol altogether (more so, if you have certain pre-existing health conditions), one may undertake a regulated alcohol consumption without causing major issues.
Here are some guidelines for alcohol intake in various groups.
Gender differences- Often women ask why their recommended intake is lower than that of men. Women metabolize alcohol more slowly causing persistently high levels in blood. Also, women have lower volume of body water than men further increasing the concentration of alcohol. These factors put women at greater risk of alcohol related diseases.
Pregnant and lactating women – The current recommendation is to refrain from consuming alcohol completely during pregnancy and lactation. Excess alcohol consumption in pregnant women can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and sudden infant death syndrome.
Diabetes Mellitus– Diabetics may consume alcohol only if blood sugar levels are well within normal range. Use of sweet liqueurs or mixes like carbonated beverages containing sugar further add to the caloric intake and should be replaced by lime juice or plain soda.
Elderly– Alcohol intoxication can increase risk of unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, etc in elderly individuals. So it’s better to avoid it!
Red wine benefits?
Red wine contains anti-oxidant resveratrol which prevents the blood platelets from sticking together. Red wine may also lead to small increases in good (HDL) cholesterol and anti-clotting properties. However, there is no scientific proof that drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage can replace the conventional measures of reducing heart disease risk.
With the controversies looming over definite proven beneficial or harmful effects of alcohol consumption, it safest to continue to abstain from alcohol in all forms amongst teetotalers and to stick to moderate drinking for those addicted to this high calorie beverage.
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