The big question everyone wants to know: is wine healthy? Is wine part of a plant-based diet? Here's everything you need to know about alcohol and inflammation.
Do the benefits of consuming moderate amounts of alcohol outweigh the risks?
From "alcohol is deadly in any amount," to "drinking a glass of wine is the equivalent of going to the gym," everyone's got an opinion on alcohol consumption. So what should we believe? Let's look at the facts...
On this page:
Claim #1: There are antioxidants in wine (alcohol and inflammation)
A closer look: Yes, grapes, as we know, are loaded with antioxidants, ergo so is wine. And antioxidants are definitely a good thing! They reduce and prevent oxidative stress which creates inflammation, and chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases. Antioxidants also actually slow cell aging and can reduce joint and muscle pain. So yeah, antioxidants are a win.
That said, you can still get all those lovely antioxidants from simply eating the whole grapes themselves, not to mention you'll be getting the fiber and other nutrients from fruit.
Claim #2: Alcohol helps you to relax
A closer look: A glass of beer or wine at the end of a stressful day may help some folks kick back and relax. Whether it's the alcohol itself, or just the ritual of it, relaxation is key to overall health. However, you can just as easily relax with a cup of chamomile tea, which has the added health benefits of improved sleep quality, better digestion, and blood sugar regulation.
Claim #3: Alcohol leads to increased HDL levels
A closer look: Alcohol increases HDL levels, but is that beneficial? No, as it turns out; these increased HDL levels don't necessarily indicate better heart health.
- Alcohol and inflammation: alcohol, in whatever form, is inflammatory. As we just learned, inflammation causes disease.
- Alcohol has refined sugars, so some of the grape/potato/corn properties are taken out of the fruit/vegetable during processing. The fiber is pressed out of the plant and discarded. The fiber is what allows the natural sugars to slowly enter the blood stream. Without fiber, blood sugar can spike and cause our glucose levels to rise then drop rapidly.
- Alcohol increases your chances of certain cancers and causes about 5.8% of all cancer deaths. It has even been classified as an "intoxicating carcinogen."
- Alcohol can be addictive. It's one of the top five most addictive substances. Alcohol addiction can lead to over consumption of alcohol, which comes with a wealth of health issues like fatty liver disease, esophageal cancer, rapid cell again, and heart disease.
Ever heard it's all about moderation? We're not trying to be a buzzkill, but it's not that cut and dry.
Science shows uus the benefits don't outweigh the risk. That said, if you enjoy alcoholic drinks in moderation, and infrequently, you may not be at risk for health-related long-term side effects.
Want to cut back, or ditch alcohol all together? Swap out your nightly drink for tea instead, or whip up some mocktails. The ritual is half the fun, so get fancy with your mocktail creations! Start with these 10 MamaSezz immunity-boosting mocktail recipes.
- Despite its antioxidant content, it's better for your health to enjoy whole grapes versus alcohol. And alcohol is inflammatory, which can lead to disease.
- Drinking in moderation and infrequently may not lead to health problems.
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By MamaSezz Team
MamaSezz Team includes, a plant-based chef, a recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition writers and educators who are Plant-Based Nutrition Certified from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.