couple with wine


The good (and bad) of alcohol

We don't often think of alcohol in a positive light. But alcohol, consumed in moderate amounts (no more than 14 drinks for men or 7 drinks for women in a week), can have some health benefits. So let's raise a glass to the good, and put down the glass for the not-so-good, effects of alcohol.

The Good:

Beyond the heart

Studies have found that moderate amounts of alcohol can indeed help protect against heart disease, but it can also help ease anxiety and stress, and decrease the risk for Type 2 diabetes. 

Add a few more years

Drinking occasionally could also increase your life span. We've seen research that shows moderate drinkers tend to live longer than those who don't drink or drink in excess. 

Beer glasses clinking

The Bad:

Protect yourself

Drinking heavily can weaken your immune system and your ability to fight off infections. Frequent drinking of alcohol can make you an easy target for diseases such as pneumonia or even the common cold. 

A toll on the body

Heavy or at-risk drinking can really wipe the body out! The liver can often be the most affected—inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) and scarring (cirrhosis) can occur in heavy and long-term alcohol abuse. Your heart, pancreas and brain can all be affected by heavy alcohol use. You may also be at an increased risk for some cancers.

Heavy or at-risk drinking is considered more than 14 drinks for men or 7 drinks for women in a week. About 1 in 4 people who drink this much already have alcoholism or are abusing alcohol, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems.

Aggressive behavior

Alcohol can also play an important role in aggression. While drinking can reduce anxiety, anxiety is also there to protect us by helping us avoid bad situations. Alcohol reduces your ability to think clearly and often this can lead to bad decision making.


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