Alcohol consumption is generally seen more as a negative than as a positive habit. Globally, as much as 6% of deaths are a result of alcohol related accidents.
Alcohol consumption is linked to a greater possibility of suffering cancer of the larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, colon or rectum.
Separately, alcoholic beverages may also cause liver diseases, pancreatitis, risk of heart attack, more strokes, traffic accidents, suicides, violence…
So why would anyone think that openly promoting the consumption of alcohol would be a good thing?
Most people would tell you that drinking a beer every once in a while is not a problem. Others, would immediately bring to a conversation the fact that drinking a glass of wine every day has been proven to be great for your health.
The problem is that almost no one drinks ONE beer every now and then, and unfortunately, drinking wine as a way to enhance once’s health is not good for everyone.
The “one glass of wine a day has many health benefits for you” claim is true, but not for everyone.
It is true, alcohol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but only after a certain age: After 45 years in men and after 55 in women.
Before those ages, alcohol can only have negative effects.
Alcohol’s adverse metabolic effects can be verified with beer, for example. It is determined that the more alcohol is consumed, the more mortality there is.
But we have also seen, however, that there is a way – only applicable to older people – to consume alcohol that can reduce total mortality.
We call it the Mediterranean pattern of alcohol consumption.
Those who fit this pattern, and who consume alcohol as described by the pattern, can actually live longer.
But how is it that alcohol should be drunk so that it has the positive effect?
People who have seen the benefit are very motivated to have good health, are interested in prevention, have higher education, are responsible and with self-control.
There is no evidence that any of them had a problematic use of alcohol when they were younger. In principle, these are people who eat well and are healthy.
They, almost never consume distillates, or get drunk, or drink a lot of alcohol a day; only at meals.
These people distribute alcohol consumption during the week. They do not binge on the weekend. They drink a little for lunch or dinner. Maybe a glass or two of red wine.
Why does it work in these people when they exceed the age limit?
Perhaps a part of the secret is polyphenols.
They are substances that are found in cocoa and red wine, and that have anti-inflammatory properties.
It is increasingly clear that diet, when they have a higher content of anti-inflammatory components, prevents weight gain and most important chronic diseases.
So, there you have it. This is why drinking one glass of wine as a way to promote good cardiovascular health, is not for everyone.