Alcohol increases the risk for mortality from accidents, heart disease, liver disease, and several types of cancers, including tumors of the mouth, throat, breast, liver, esophagus, and colon. How much alcohol is too much?
Public service announcements routinely inform the community about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Of course, it is well known that heavy drinking increases the risk of death from car crashes and other accidents. It is also important to appreciate that even light drinking interferes with driving skills, even when the affected individual shows no change in behavior or appearance.
Is alcohol good for your heart?
Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Research once suggested that drinking red wine might protect against heart disease, but that was never proven. Resveratrol, the active component in red wine, improves cardiovascular function in rodents, but in humans the exact opposite is true. So far, we have no evidence that drinking red wine is beneficial for humans. Instead, alcohol can significantly impair heart function in humans.
Alcohol causes cancer and no amount is safe
There is very strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer and the more an individual drinks over time, the greater the risk. Women who drink less than one drink per day, significantly increase their risk for breast cancer. Unfortunately, even a very small amount of alcohol increases the risk for cancer. Just a single sip of strong alcohol exposes you to a measurable amount of carcinogens in your mouth.
The more we learn about alcohol, the less there is to like about it. Although wildly popular, alcohol is simply toxic to your system. Moderate alcohol consumption does not protect you from illness or increase your lifespan. Alcohol does not help at all.
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Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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