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The Health Benefits of Alcohol

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Red wine has long been touted as the drink du jour of health-conscious imbibers, but cocktail and beer lovers take note: It turns out that all alcohol has its upsides.

Healthy Hard Alcohol?

Drinking moderate amounts of any kind of alcohol -- be it beer, wine, or hard liquor -- will raise your good HDL cholesterol levels, says Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan. "That's a really big benefit to the people who do have cholesterol problems because it is hard to elevate your good cholesterol," she says.

The downside? Drinking all types of alcohol will also increase your risk for certain cancers, such as breast and liver cancer. In fact, a September study showed that women who averaged one to two drinks per day raised their risk for breast cancer by 10 percent, and those who drank three drinks a night raised their risk by as much as 30 percent. Risk for other illnesses, such as heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, heart muscle damage, and stroke are also correlated with excessive alcohol consumption.

If a woman is pregnant, drinking can also lead to miscarriage or fetal alcohol syndrome in an unborn child, which can impair growth and nervous system development.

Calorie Comparison

According to the USDA, a 1.5-ounce shot of 80 proof distilled spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey) contains approximately 96 calories. Calorie counts for mixed drinks vary wildly, clocking in at anywhere from 280 calories for a gin and tonic to over 800 calories for some frozen, creamy drinks. Opt for cocktails made with calorie-free mixers, such as Diet Coke and soda water, which are easier on the waistline.

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crystalwhite9 wrote:

Seriously, get a hold of yourselves people...this is more likely a case of one step forward, and two steps back. There are plenty of other ways to reduce your cholesterol that don't include increasing your risks for cancer, cirrhosis or heart disease (the #1 killer of ALL AMERICANS, by the way).

1/24/2013 04:56:11 PM Report Abuse
crystalwhite9 wrote:

WHY is this article titled "The Health BENEFITS of Alcohol"? It states one positive benefit and then turns around and contradicts itself with a handful of negatives and risks. And, define "moderate"...because I was under the impression that 2 drinks in one sitting was "moderate".

1/24/2013 04:55:57 PM Report Abuse
lessieissel wrote:

That's good to hear when I am at social outings and people want me to join in the drinking...

1/26/2012 09:48:28 AM Report Abuse
uiytretyretey wrote:

Wines are said to have a good effects in our bodies because of its soothing power that gives us relief to stress. On the other hand, hard alcohol must still be avoided because of some factors that may contribute to liver problems, cancers and other form o0f illnesses.

3/2/2011 03:18:41 AM Report Abuse

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