How safe for consumption is that glass of wine?

The debate of whether the drinking of wine is right or not has gradually shifted to whether it is safe or not. Many whose way of life is based on their religious background have said that drinking wine is not right while many who have an inclination for science have said it is right simply because it has certain health benefits. The crux of these debates have always been the presence of alcohol in a drink or beverage.First, it is important to know what wine really is.

Wine is made by the ALCOHOLIC FERMENTATION of grapes or grape-juice by special strains of yeast (a microorganism). This simply means for a drink to be called wine, it must be alcoholic; if it’s not alcoholic, then really, it is not wine. However, in the recent times, there have been the production of non-alcoholic wines like Fre, Ariel etc. which contain less than half of one percent alcohol (<0.5%). If wines are basically alcoholic, save for the “non-alcoholic” ones, how safe are they for consumption?

Alcohol is simply a coin with two sides: the tonic side and the poison side. If you are on the tonic side, there is quite a number of health benefits you can derive from taking alcoholic wine. If, however, you are on the poison side, then you are indeed in serious trouble. The point really when it comes to alcohol consumption, as with every other consumable, is moderation. How do we then define moderation? This will be the next logical question to ask.

Amazingly, even among alcohol researchers, there has been no universally accepted standard way of defining moderation. However, the latest consensus for moderate alcohol intake has been put at no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger. The thing with alcohol intake is that it is very dicey. There is really no hard and fast rule to even moderate drinking. Taking alcohol moderately as earlier defined may be very beneficial if you have existing risk factors for heart disease. However, do you know that as a younger adult, even moderate alcohol consumption may cause you more harm than good? And there is scientific evidence to prove this.

Of a truth, the best way to see moderate drinking will be to view it as something of a balancing act. You are only really moderate when you drink at the point where the health benefits you derive from consuming alcoholic wine clearly outweigh the risks you are prone to.

Health benefits

When alcoholic wine is consumed moderately, it may actually provide some health benefits which include:
•    Reduction in the risk of having diabetes
•    Reduction in the risk of developing and dying from a heart disease
•    Possible reduction in the risk of having ischemic stroke which is when the arteries to the brain become blocked causing severely reduced blood flow.
It is noteworthy to know that the health benefits of alcoholic wine is not exactly certain and by the way, alcoholic wine may not benefit everyone who drinks.

Health risks

Alcoholic wine poses a lot of health risks when consumed heavily. Heavy alcohol consumption is gender and age sensitive. As a woman, you would have consumed alcohol in excessive amounts if you took more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week. The same actually goes for men older than age 65. As a man, you would have consumed alcohol in excessive amounts if you took more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week; that is if you are 65 years or younger. A term unfamiliar to many even though the act is practiced by them is binge drinking.

Binge drinking is when a person takes as many as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men.
The risk of heavy alcoholic wine consumption includes:
•    Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus
•    Pancreatitis, Stroke, High blood pressure, Liver disease
•    Sudden death if you already have a heart disease
•    Heart muscle damage leading to heart failure
•    Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
•    Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child.

Finally, with all that I have shared, probably it is just safer not to drink at all in spite of the benefits it poses if taken moderately. You can still get those same benefits if you eat and exercise well. However, if you do drink alcoholic wine and you’re healthy, most likely there’s no need to stop as long as you drink responsibly and in moderation.