Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beer & Wine Pros & Cons

Alcohol is one of those confusing things for most when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Should I or shouldn't I. It is a matter of choice in my opinion but it should be an informed choice.
I am not preaching against it because for many years I indulged generously. I was a beer loving girl. I have not had a drink of anything alcoholic since 2/07 and I do not miss it. Here is what I have learned about wine & beer from the Nutrition Almanac by John Kirschmann.....
Alcohol is nothing but pure carbohydrates topped off by lots of calories.
Wine is something we are told is good for us one day and bad the next. In moderation wine might have some benefits to the cardiovascular system at about 2 glasses per day. White & red wine raise HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol. Red wine seems to offer more effective benefits because the skins contain polyphenols. Polyphenols fight cancer,heart disease, bacteria and thin the blood to prevent clots. White wine does not contain the skins of the grape thus it does not provide these benefits. Wine boosts estrogen levels,kills bacteria, discourages gallstones and inhibits viruses. Red wine is known to trigger migraine headaches and any wine in excess can cause liver,brain and heart problems.
Beer contains magnesium. It might also prevent blockages of arteries in the heart and raise HDL cholesterol. It also causes elevated blood pressure,gout,and cancer of the urinary tract,lung,rectum and breast. The amount consumed increases these risks. Even moderate amounts increase the chance of heart attack. Those beerbellies that we usually talk about with affection and laughter are the result of damage done to the walls of the stomach taking away its' firmness. Beer in excess causes a malabsorption of protein which is needed to keep the stomach firm. In those with beerbellies the stomach structure is weak and the digestive system has expanded. Pretty gross if you ask me.
So do the pros get outweighed by the cons? That of course is a personal choice. Paraphrasing a quote I like moderation kills. Moderation to me is an excuse but that is me. I used to drink...alot. Not saying that I was an alcoholic but enough to have a good time. Now I know I don't need it to have a good time or to relax. There are better ways that do not pose a health risk. I enjoyed it socially. I am not against alcohol but I do think that having the proper information about what we are consuming is important.

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