While the physiological damage and social havoc created by alcohol abuse and dependency are well-known, it is also true that light-to-moderate drinking has certain health benefits.
Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function
Medical research has demonstrated a strong relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in cardiovascular disease in general and coronary artery disease in particular (1).
Smoking May Counteract Benefits of Moderate Drinking on Stroke Risk
However, any beneficial effect of drinking moderate amounts of alcohol on stroke may be counteracted by cigarette smoking, according to a research led by Yangmei Li of the University of Cambridge. Presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 10-17, 2010 a large prospective study of 10 171 men and 12 353 women who were followed for incident stroke showed the association between alcohol consumption and stroke was significantly different between smokers and nonsmokers.
The findings also reinforces the evidence that smoking not only increases stroke risk on its own but may additionally affect adversely how other lifestyle factors may relate to stroke risk.
Light-to-Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Help Stave Off Dementia
While long-term alcohol abuse is detrimental to memory function and can cause neuro-degenerative disease, there is evidence that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of cognitive decline or dementia.
It is still an open question whether different alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and spirits, all have a similar effect. Some studies have shown a positive effect of wine only, which may be due either to the level of ethanol, the complex mixture that comprises wine, or to the healthier life-style ascribed to wine drinkers.
Of course, in any observational study there is the possibility of other lifestyle habits such as diet, income, or profession can affect cognitive function.
Zestzfulness does not encourage alcohol consumption. But to those who enjoys alcoholic drinks, Zestzfulness advises that you drink sensibly.
Suzuki K, Elkind MS, Boden-Albala B, Jin Z, Berry G, Di Tullio MR, Sacco RL, Homma S. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function: a cross sectional study. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 2009; 9:8. FULL TEXT
Siegfried Weyerer, Martina Schäufele, Birgitt Wiese, Wolfgang Maier, Franziska Tebarth, Hendrik van den Bussche, Michael Pentzek, Horst Bickel, Melanie Luppa, Steffi G. Riedel-Heller for the German Agecode Study Group (German Study on Ageing, Cognition and Dementia in Primary Care Patients). Current alcohol consumption and its relationship to incident dementia: results from a 3-year follow-up study among primary care attenders aged 75 years and older. Journal of Age and Ageing, 2011; DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afr007
Arntzen KA, Schirmer H, Wilsgaard T, Mathiesen EB. Moderate wine consumption is associated with year follow up of 5033 subjects inbetter cognitive test results: a 7 the Tromsø Study : Alcohol consumption and cognitive function. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 2010; Suppl 190:23-29. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2010.