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November 15, 2013

Effects of alcohol on the human body

Ada — Alcohol is often considered an essential element of adult social functions, but adults who overindulge in alcohol are likely doing themselves a significant disservice. Alcoholic beverages can negatively impact a person’s physical and cognitive abilities. But when it is consumed in moderation, alcohol can have some positive effects as well. Understanding what alcohol really does to the body and brain may help some people make more informed choices.

 

The Good

The idea that alcohol can have both good and bad effects on the body may seem like a mixed message, but that does not mean it isn’t true. The effect of alcohol on a person’s body often depends on the frequency and quantity of alcohol that individual consumes. Moderate alcohol consumption, such as one or two drinks per day, can have a positive impact on a person’s health. The Mayo Clinic says moderate alcohol consumption may provide the following benefits:

• Possibly reduce risk of diabetes

• Possibly reduce risk of ischemic strokes

• Lower risk of gallstones

• Reduce the risk of dying of a heart attack

• Reduce risk of developing heart disease.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, alcohol has the ability to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants in some beverages, such as wine, can reduce blood problems that lead to clogged arteries.

Alcohol in moderation may also help fight fat. A 2010 study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who had one or two drinks per day were less likely to gain weight than those who didn’t drink at all. Researchers believe there is a link between people who drink frequently and how their bodies adapt and metabolize alcohol differently from those who limit their drinking to nights out on the town or otherwise only drink rarely. 

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