Can alcohol be good for you? Are there benefits to your health?

The World Health Organisation classes alcoholic beverages and acetaldehyde (the chemical produced as a result of consuming alcoholic beverages) as grade 1 carcinogens. These are known to be cancer causing in humans along with asbestos, benzine, and tobacco. Any 'benefits' of alcohol should be viewed in this context. There’s a lot of conflicting research on the benefits of alcohol. Make sure you read the small print on those studies.

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Red wine

Small amounts of red wine (no more than one alcohol unit) can be beneficial for those who are at risk of heart disease, but only if you are a post-menopausal woman.

People who fall into that group have a lower risk of heart attack, chronic heart trouble and sudden coronary death than those drinking more or those who do not drink at all.

Exceeding this level of alcohol intake may actually raise your blood pressure and cause additional health problems such as a stroke.

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At low concentrations of blood alcohol levels, alcohol can temporarily result in lower blood pressure in some people. It is also associated with mild disinhibition and mild feelings of ‘euphoria’.

Increased disinhibition due to higher concentrations of blood alcohol can result in emotions becoming difficult to regulate and lead to feelings of distress.

The habitual use of alcohol to ‘relax’ and manage low moods, anxiety and stress can lead to a psycho-behavioural pattern - get more information on dependence and addiction.

Elderly woman taking a medicine

It’s not all good news

We know alcohol causes seven types of cancer and is a causal factor in more than 200 medical conditions including liver, disease, heart disease, and depression.

Make sure you read the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol information so you’re informed about the risks and can make an informed decision.

Take the alcohol test to find out if you’re drinking at risky levels.

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