The Health Benefits of Alcohol (In Moderation)

When I was younger, my grandfather would always have one glass of wine with his dinner. Being a child, I never really questioned it but as I grew older, general curiosity settled in. One day I asked him why he always had a glass of wine with dinner to which he gave the most simplistic response: “because it’s good for me”. Being that I was approximately eight years old at the time and still believed that everything told to me was undoubtedly a fact, I believed him and never questioned it again. With this being said, today with the background knowledge my education has provided me about the negative impacts of consuming alcohol, I wondered what the positive benefits of consuming alcohol are.

According to Robert Preidt, there is a positive correlation in health benefits associated with consuming a light to moderate amount of alcohol. More specifically, light to moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial in reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke. For those who are unaware, an ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is obstructed. On the contrary, while Preidt reports that there is a positive correlation in reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke, there is zero benefits associated with little to moderate alcohol consumption for hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain bursts, this type of stroke is significantly less likely to occur. Although, interestingly enough high consumption of alcohol increases the chances of both strokes.

The hypothesis that light to moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the chances of having an ischemic stroke is a result of twenty-five studies performed in England and Sweden. These studies reveal that consumption of two drinks a day is beneficial to reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke. One of the scientists of these studies, Susanna Larsson, stated that this study revealed that the chances of suffering from hemorrhagic strokes increased following heavy drinking (a positive correlation). Another study author stated that the type of stroke that an individual might experience could be a result of the particular affect alcohol has on that person’s body. All in all, the researchers concluded that while there is a strong association between alcohol and strokes, the two do not have a causal relationship. The assumed hypothesis of experiment is that the consumption of light to moderate amounts of alcohol daily is likely to reduce the chances of an individual having an ischemic stroke, while overconsumption of alcohol increases chances of experiencing a stroke. This hypothesis, based on the studies, is proven to be correct. Moreover, due to the fact that the conclusion is based on twenty-five studies, the results are deemed to be accurate. It is important to note that other variants, such as age and current state of health, were not disclosed. This information could impact just how accurate the results of the study are. Furthermore, this type of information could potentially explain any potential confounding variables in this study.

While Preidt’s report is an example of a positive association between the consumption of alcohol and health benefits, it is important to notes the negatives as well. According to Harvard, even though alcohol is beneficial for cardiovascular health, there is still a dark side. For one, alcohol increases the chances of breast cancer. This statistic results from six studies with a total of over 320,000 women. Furthermore, genes play a role in whether or not alcohol consumption is good for an individual. Studies show that individuals who have relatives with alcoholism are more likely to develop it too. This information serves to point out that like most things in life, there are risks and benefits in engaging in any particular activity. It is important to know one’s personal health to ensure that something is right for them and weigh the costs and benefits. The discussion of alcohol intake is no exception to this rule. To conclude, all things are good in moderation.


8 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Alcohol (In Moderation)

  1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner

    Like yours, my grandfather would always have a glass of wine with his dinner, in fact the majority of my family members have a glass of wine with dinner. My family is from Croatia. Having a glass of wine with every meal there is like a social norm. I never knew they were actually decreasing their chances of having a stroke. I was happy for them until you mentioned that alcohol also has negative side effects as well. Your blog was very well written and organized. The only tip I have is to break up the words with more pictures. This article provides evidence that alcohol also has other beneficial effects towards one’s health.

  2. Jordan Crawford

    My Mom has been collecting wine for many years. I’ve heard my Mom say a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart. I’ve traveled all around collecting wine with my Mom, but only one place every mentioned about their wine being extra good for your heart. A winery in Maine had a special bottle of wine called Heart Flourish. The creator said he worked with a local doctor and made red wine that has extra benefits for your heart. My Mom and I tasted the wine, but I wine wasn’t every good, so we didn’t end up buying it.

  3. Matthew Porr

    There may be health benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation such as reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke but I don’t think this is enough evidence to say that alcohol is good for you. There are other alternatives methods of decreasing the likelihood of have and ischemic stroke that don’t involve drinking alcohol. I think that drinking being justified by being healthy is ridiculous because this is due to ONE health benefit while there is a list of potential dangers of drinking.

  4. Kaitlyn A Kaminski

    Hi Mairead,

    My grandma would always say that a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart so I definitely can relate to what your grandpa said. I know that science is always changing and one minute something is good for you and the next it isn’t, but how will we ever know 100% for sure? I think people should do what they want under circumstances of course, but if they believe red wine is good for you then who is anyone to crush their belief? This abstract talks about a theory that red wine is good for your heart, I thought you’d enjoy.

  5. Christopher Ronkainen

    This post really caught my attention. Growing up and even now I hear people talk about how having a glass of red wine is good for you. When you mentioned that your grandfather would always have a glass of wine with his dinner this immediately made me think of that saying. This then led me to do some searching on my own of what the believed health benefits from red wine are. Here is a cool article with eight reasons to love red wine. I think it would be something you would be interested in checking out.

  6. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    I agree with some of the comments above when talking about the conflicting information. I did an article similar to this and found this website and some of the facts can attest to alcohol being somewhat beneficial. I also think that you could’ve expanded past just strokes and alcohol or change the title to be with that correlation. I do think you posed a good question but just needs more information and clarity.

  7. Daniele Patrice Loney

    I really enjoyed this blog post. Alcohol is very prevalent in all college environments so I think it is important for everyone to understand that “everything in moderation” is the best policy to live by. Of course, alcohol every once in a while won’t hurt you. However, Oscar Wilde once said “everything in moderation… INCLUDING moderation.” I’m all for being safe and making health a priority, but sometimes I think that as young individuals, we stress too much about every little thing. Make your well being your top priority, and make enjoying life your second priority!

  8. Molly Mccarthy Tompson

    This article caught my attention because the title alone contradicts so many posts I’ve seen about alcohol on this blog. I’ve heard before that a glass of red wine with dinner can be good for the heart, so I’m glad I was exposed to actual research and science about it through this blog. Your notion that it is better in moderation seems to be true about everything.

    I was a bit confused about the results of the study you referred to. Actually, I had a bit of trouble deciphering whether the study was actually conducted or if it was hypothetical or planned. I wish you divulged a bit more into the specifics of both the Harvard study about breast cancer and the English/Swedish study. Overall, though, this was an interesting post that definitely made be question my thoughts about alcohol consumption and health.

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