BY ETHAN HICKS
Wine, beer, and spirits, these drinks have left us laughing with our friends or crying over an ex-lover. They have made us think we could sing like Sinatra or dance like Michael Jackson. But does one type of alcohol reign supreme? Or do they all have the same effect on our health?
Research has shown us that alcohol has multiple negative effects on our health including being a Class 1 carcinogen that increases your risk of getting cancer. But surely this can’t be the same for all types of alcohol? Do any provide more health benefits than the other? Let’s take a look!
Wine: A long standing myth is that a glass of red wine each day can provide many health benefits. This is some-what true as wine contains antioxidants.
This multitude of antioxidants that are present within red wine grapes (and to a lesser extent white wine grapes) do provide cardiovascular health benefits like decreasing the bad cholesterol and boosting the good cholesterol within the heart.
The myth does ring true in helping your cardiovascular system, but only for wines that are rich in these antioxidants and only for moderate wine drinkers. This is true for all types of grape based alcohols including champagne, prosecco and rose. We suggest sourcing organic wines as their grapes have the highest percentage of these good antioxidants.
Beer: Humanity has been consuming this beverage for over 8000 years at this point. Throughout the years, people have focused on wine as the only ‘healthy’ choice for alcohol but this isn’t entirely true.
Beer has antioxidants and provide health benefits similar to wine that decreases the risk of several diseases. It has been seen that ‘moderate’ beer drinkers have a lower chance of getting bladder cancer and have had lower instances of cardiovascular disease.
Spirits: Spirits have the highest alcohol percentage of the group. An investigation of the cardio-protective effects of red wine compared to a spirit, being vodka in this instance, provided great insight into this topic around health benefits.
The results showed that both red wine and vodka reduce oxidative stress which helps the aging process of the heart and can reduce future risks of diseases. But only red wine has cardio-protective quality’s due to its main ingredient, grapes.
All the above health benefits of alcohol are still being fully realised with research and testing. But what we do know is that over-consumption of alcohol does eliminate all possible health benefits due to the large list of harmful diseases it can bring on. This July, take time to think about your alcohol consumption and maybe change from something with lesser benefits like spirits to a local and organic red wine!
Ethan Hicks has been on the Solaris team as an intern since May and has enjoyed working on many of our events as a communications assistant. He looks forward to graduating at the end of this year with a degree in Global Media & Communications.