Alcoholic Beverage: An Overview by Food2GoodHealth
- By: Haresh Bhoot
Drink sensibly...Know your limits
Alcohol is an interesting dietary component. This simple molecule can be used as a model to underline the different modalities of nutrition, manufacturing, social, genetic predisposition and gender differences in metabolism, nutritional value and the consequences of excess.
Types & Contents of Alcohols:
• Applejack: less than 10% alcohol
• Beer: 3-6% alcohol
• Cider: 8% alcohol
• Kumis: 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol.
• Liqueurs: 15%-30% alcohol
• Mead: 8% to 18% alcohol
• Perry: 2% to 8.5% alcohol
• Pulque: up to 14 % alcohol
• Sake: 9–16% alcohol
• Brandy: 35%–60% alcohol
• Gin: 40.0-48.5 alcohol
• Mezcal: upto 55% alcohol
• Tequila: 38–40% alcohol
• Rum: 40-95% alcohol
• Vodka: 40-50% alcohol
• Whiskey: 40-75 % alcohol
• Wine: 10-15% alcohol
Alcohol is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented. Fermentation is a process that uses yeast or bacteria to change the sugars in the food into alcohol. Fermentation is used to produce many necessary items everything from cheese to medications. Alcohol has different forms and can be used as a cleaner, an antiseptic, or a sedative.
But heavy drinking can lead to serious adverse effects on the body. It can cause inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis) and lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), a potentially fatal disease. Heavy drinking can increase blood pressure and damage heart muscle. It has also been linked with several cancers also.
• Don't drink at all if you:
• Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant
• Are under age 21
• Plan to drive a car or use machines
• Take over-the-counter or prescription medicine that can interact with alcohol (check the label)
• Are recovering from alcoholism
• Have a health condition that can be made worse by drinking (like liver disease)
Health benefits of moderate alcohol use:
• Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits. It may:
• Reduce your risk of developing heart disease
• Reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack
• Possibly reduce your risk of strokes, particularly ischemic strokes
• Lower your risk of gallstones
• Possibly reduce your risk of diabetes
Even so, the evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol isn't certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.
If you don't drink, there's no need to start. You can get similar benefits with exercise (beginning to exercise if you don't already or boosting the intensity and duration of your activity) or healthier eating. If you are a man with no history of alcoholism who is at moderate to high risk for heart disease, a daily alcoholic drink could reduce that risk. Moderate drinking might be especially beneficial if you have low HDL that just won't budge upward with diet and exercise.
If you are a woman with no history of alcoholism who is at moderate to high risk for heart disease, the possible benefits of a daily drink must be balanced against the small increase in risk of breast cancer.
Some more general guidelines to follow:
• If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly and drink alcohol in moderation.
• Drink alcohol with a lower caloric value, and a higher alcohol percentage (like wine for example). Less will be consumed, meaning lower overall calorie consumption.
• Avoid high calorie liqueurs, as these are extremely deceptive (they taste so good) and will add enormously to overall caloric content.
• Keep healthy food on hand when drinking. As mentioned, drinking will relax the inhibitions and cause one to compromise their nutritional habits.
• If drinking beer, try a lower calorie alternative. Also, drink diet sodas with various spirits to significantly lower the calorie content of these drinks.
• Drink water between alcoholic drinks as this will increase feelings of fullness and may help to prevent over consumption of alcohol.
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