alcohol

Is alcohol healthy in anyway?  It is the question many have been asking themselves. Others love alcohol but feel guilty because of  their religious affiliation. The simple answer to the above question is yes. Alcohol can be very important for your health and this we will attempt to prove based on research and using  scriptures based in the Holy Bible. But don’t get excited too quick, “excess of anything they say is a disease”. The key is to know when not to exceed your boundary. Lets first begin by defining what exactly alcohol is. 

What is alcohol?

It is a chemical compound containing an –OH functional group. Among the different types that exist, ethanol is the only alcohol found in alcoholic drinks. Ethanol is produced naturally through the fermentation of fruits, grains and other sources of sugar by yeast.

Determining alcoholic content

There is an amount of alcohol which when taken per day or per week will provide you with all the necessary benefits. The key is to keep track on the quantity we drink. This can be achieved if we know the different ways in which alcoholic content is measured or expressed. It is good to also know what light, moderate or heavy drinking is all about. Learn more

Benefits of Alcoholic Drinks

In order to reap all the necessary benefits, you must not drink more than 14 units or 100 g or 7 drinks of pure alcohol per week. The entire benefits discussed here are for light and moderate drinkers except otherwise stated. Secondly if you drink this stipulated amount, it is better not to stop. Stopping can instead cause more problems. Let these benefits not cause you to start drinking however since healthy diet is even more beneficial than alcohol. Some individuals such as people under the age of 18, pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant and individuals with certain diseases are not meant to take alcoholic drinks at all. Some medications also interact with alcohol and can cause serious problems. So never drink if you are under any medication. If not sure, then talk to your doctor. If you drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, then you are at risk of developing serious medical conditions. Nevertheless, let’s count the benefits:

  • A large study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that light drinking (0.1-7 drinks/week) lowers the risk of heart failure (HF) while former drinkers, occasional drinkers or those who never drink alcohol at all had a higher risk of heart failure. 

  • Alcoholic drinks are made up of alcohol and other components or nutrients and hence not all type of alcoholic drinks have equal benefits. Below are the recommended types of alcoholic drinks and their benefits.

  1. Whiskey, vodka, brandy, tequila, rum or gin have very little or no sugar at all. Therefore they do not affect blood sugar levels or weight gain significantly. Most vodka are also gluten free and good for individuals who are gluten-sensitive.
  2. Bitter alcoholic drinks are better. Naturally, anything bitter will causes production of gastric juices and saliva. This minimizes appetite and aid digestion. This can help when you have digestion problems.
  3. Champaign or sparkling wine is made from grapes and it is rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients with antioxidant property, neuroprotective effects and the ability to promote memory, learning and cognitive functions.
  4. Red wine has several components and benefits which can be listed below:

Red wine contains antioxidants for the heart   and may help reduce the risk of heart diseases. A glass of wine per day is very good for the heart according to the American Heart Association (AHA

– It Helps clean damaged cells in the lungs and also inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells . This makes wine very good for respiratory health. 

– Red wine decreases blood clot formation

– The components that make up red wine such as polyphenols  improves your gastrointestinal health by improving your stomach microbiome . Therefore wine is very good for the stomach. 

Low doses of wine improves the brain’s ability to eliminate waste and hence contribute to a healthy brain

-Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not make enough insulin or when the body is resistant to insulin. This eventually causes an increase in blood sugar. Red wine reduces the risk of heart diseases in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Red wine  has no adverse effect in people with type 2 diabetes but may rather have a preventive effect for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What does the Holy Bible says about alcohol?

First to get started, the Bible does not forbids anyone from drinking alcohol. It however warns against the consequences of heavy drinking. The Bible also tries to discourage anyone from taking alochol at all if they can because not everyone can handle the effect. Such can lead to immoral decisions. This is the reason we have been emphazing on the quantity of alochol that needs to be taken per week and how it should be taken. At the end of this article, you will also learn tips on how you can avoid misconduct with alcohol.

Few scriptures on the consequences and effect of alochol

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”—Ephesians 5:18

“It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer. For they will drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.”—Proverbs 31:4-5

“It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything to cause your brother to stumble.”—Romans 14:21

“Wine is a mocker, and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”—Proverbs 20:1

There are many more of such scriptures but again looking at the above few mentioned, we realized that they are nothing but honest advise. Don’t take alcohol if you cannot control yourself or if you know it will cause you to make bad decisions. And never drink just for drinking sake up to the point of even getting yourself drunk. 

Scriptures on the benefits of alcohol

“Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent ailments”—1 Timothy 5:23

From this scripture we see that alcohol is very good for the health and again, it says “little”. It does not say kill yourself with alochol.

“Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”—Ecclesiastes 9:7

This  reminds us that it is good to celebrate with wine and to enjoy the works of our hands. 

 

Tips for Reaping all the Benefits from Alcoholic Drinks

 

To reap all the benefits from alcohol, there is way  you need to approach drinking. But at the same time, there are things you must not do.

  • Drink only lightly. Do not drink more than 14 units (or 100 g or 7 drinks) of pure alcohol per week.
  • If you drink 14 units a week, then don’t drink in one day. Spread this over days (at least 3 days).
  • Drinking alcohol after a meal will slow down its absorption. Slower absorption means lessen effect. But on an empty stomach, it will be absorbed very rapidly into the blood stream and can easily harm you. So if you plan on drinking, then wait at least an hour after meal before you drink.
  • Do not drink more than 1 unit of alcohol per hour. Drink slowing while you enjoy the taste. 
  • Drink a glass of water before and after alcohol intake in order to dilute the effect of the alcoholic drink and to avoid dehydration. You can even drink water in between or along with the alcoholic drink depending on how much you are taking. This is very important if you are taking alcohol on an empty stomach or drinking heavily over a short period of time. Heavy drinkers need to drink a lot of water.
  • Wine is the most beneficial type of alcoholic drink but make sure you take only one glass of wine per day if you have to.  
  • For digestion problems, take bitter alcoholic drinks 

  • Never take alcoholic drinks when you are on any form of medication. Alcohol interacts with medications and can lead to a severe misfortune.

  • Avoid alcoholic drinks if you have a liver disease, heart disease or pancreatic disease
  • Never drink if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  • Do not start taking alcoholic drinks because you heard they have benefits. Rather adhere to a healthy diet. A healthy diet has far greater benefits. 
  • To make sure you don’t get trapped in the use of alcoholic drinks, make sure you have free days in a week where you do not drink.
  • If you decide to drink, then stop drinking occasionally. Rather make sure you take in the required minimum every week.
  • Never drink and drive

The Danger of Alcohol Misuse

Now comes the bad news about drinking alochol. After all not all that glitter is gold

Alcohol misuse refers to the inability to stay away from alcohol or when you drink heavily. These scenarios will cause serious harm. 

  • It has been firmly established and confirmed that moderate to heavy drinking causes cancer especially liver cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the mouth, throat, colon and rectum. Read more
  • Drinking more than 12.5 units (or 100 g or 7 drinks) of pure alcohol per week is associated with premature death around your 40s.
  • Alcohol consumption is linearly associated with a higher risk of stroke, coronary diseases (excluding myocardial infarction), heart failure, fatal hypertensive diseases, fatal aortic aneurysm. By linear relationship, we mean the more your consumption of alcoholic drink, the more your risk of developing these diseases.
  • Alcohol relaxes the muscles (LES) that separate your stomach from esophagus and also increases the production of stomach acid. Relaxation of LES means stomach acid can easily reflux back into you esophagus. This  can lead to serious heart burn.
  • Heavy drinking will lead to nausea, vomiting and stomach ulcer
  • Alcohol inhibits your stomach from absorbing some nutrients and proteins that are crucial for the smooth functioning of your body.

Your intestine contains a barrier which regulates what kind of nutrient passes into the blood stream. Alcohol misuse causes this barrier to become leaky or permeable allowing not only important nutrients to go through but also allowing for toxins, pathogens and debris to pass into the blood stream. This can cause sickness, discomfort and severe pain to the individual involve. Read more on the effect of alcohol on the gut. 

  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause serious deformity to your baby or even long term health risk such as brain damage.
  • For men, it can affect the quality of your sperm and this can be problematic if you have fertility issues.
  • Alcohol is a diuretic in that it forces your body to release more liquid through urination. This can lead to severe dehydration. Reason why as a heavy drinker you need to drink a lot of water.
  • Alcohol misuse affects your thinking or judgment and body coordination. This can lead to fatal accident, unprotected sex that leads to a disease or unwanted pregnancy, harming someone and many other foolish things.
  • Short term heavy drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning which will manifest as vomiting, fits (seizures) or falling unconscious.

Alcohol misuse may be treated through medication, counseling or detoxification. So talk to your doctor for help.

Useful Resources
  • The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free. Be mindful of the fact that alcohol itself is a drug.
  • Alcohol Change: Provides several tools such as alcohol unit calculator, Facts about alcohol drinking and interactive quiz to check your drinking.
  • Alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT). It is a series of 10 comprehensive questions which helps you to determine your risk level for alcohol consumption and provides feedback on the need to change your alcohol drinking habit or not. To evaluate your alcoholic level, also see