Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beer And Wine: The Hidden Health Benefits

                Alcohol is a difficult topic, because it has health benefits as well as major risks. Studies have shown that when consumed in moderation, meaning two glasses a day or fewer, there are generous health benefits. Beer and wine are slightly different, but both have health benefits you may not have expected.
                Beer is a good source of trace minerals such as folate, biotin, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorous and thiamine. Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption, including beer, decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Beer can also lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL). Niacin helps the body convert fat to energy. One can of beer contains 153 calories, and 1 gram of protein. A common critique of beer is that it causes “beer belly.” The average beer has twelve carbohydrates per serving. When consumed in moderation, along with a healthy diet and exercise, weight gain is unlikely.     
                Wine also has its health benefits. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, dementia, and certain types of cancer. It can even keep the mind sharp by increasing blood flow to the brain. But there are some conflicting reports. One study showed that women who abstained from alcohol had a higher cancer risk than those who drank in moderation. One the other hand, another study showed that one drink a day could make a woman more prone to breast and uterine cancer because alcohol is believed to boost estrogen production.
                Note that these health benefits only apply to alcohol consumed in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain, alcohol addiction, cirrhosis of the liver, or hepatitis of the liver just to name a few.

Soft Drinks & Health Risks

(HealthDay News) -- Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may be linked to over 180,000 deaths in the world each year, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from March 19 to 22 in New Orleans.
 Gitanjali M. Singh, Ph.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data collected in the Global Burden of Diseases Study. The effect of SSB intake on change in body mass index (BMI) and the effect of elevated BMI on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer were examined.

 The researchers found that there were 180,000 deaths worldwide attributable to SSB consumption, including 133,000 attributable to diabetes, 44,000 to cardiovascular disease, and 6,000 to cancers. Diabetes deaths related to the consumption of SSBs were the highest in Latin American and the Caribbean (38,000 deaths), while cardiovascular deaths related to the consumption of SSBs were highest in East/Central Eurasia (11,000 deaths). Of the world's 15 most populous countries, Mexico had the highest mortality rate due to SSBs, with 318 deaths per million adults linked to SSB intake. In contrast, Japan, with the lowest per-capita consumption of SSBs, had the lowest mortality rate due to SSB intake (approximately 10 deaths per million adults).

 "Because we were focused on deaths due to chronic diseases, our study focused on adults," Singh said. "Future research should assess the amount of sugary beverage consumption in children across the world and how this affects their current and future health." Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries.