During my research of this subject, I found the following information:

although it may seem like alchohol is a stimulant because most people who get really drunk report that they  passed out only to wake up 4 hours later and had difficulty getting back to sleep, PHYSIOLOGICALLY, alcohol is a SEDATIVE and CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DEPRESSANT

drinking one small glass of dark red wine per day MAY lower the risk for coronary heart disease in men over 45 and women over 55 - "Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death world wide. More than a dozen research studies have demonstrated a consistent, positive correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and decreased incidence of heart disease. The protective effect of alcohol is the result of increased levels of high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol [helpful cholesterol]. HDL cholesterol removes cholesterol from the lining of artery walls and carries it back to the liver for excretion. Alcohol also inhibits blood from forming clots, reducing risk of death from heart attack. This anticlotting effect of moderate drinking reduces the risk of thrombotic or ischemic stroke [blockage of blood vessel in the brain], but increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke [rupture of a blood vessel within the brain]. [source: Personal Nutrition] So while we may  conclude from this statement that moderate alcohol consumption decreases risk of blood clots, reduces accumulation of arterial plaque, and REDUCES the risk of BLOCKED blood vessels in the brain, we also may conclude that it can INCREASE the risk of the RUPTURING of blood vessels within the brain. After reading  this, I am tempted to look for non-alcoholic substances that would give the same benefits as moderate drinking without the running the risk of getting a ruptured blood vessel in my brain. If I am not mistaken, substances like grapes and dark chocolate [the darker the better] can produce the same health benefits as moderate alcoholic beverage consumption- without the risk of a fatal brain hemmorage. What a relief!!!

some research I have encountered has shown that people who drink moderately, which means one to two small glasses of dark red wine per day tend to be healthier and live longer than those who completely abstain from alcohol- this may be because many total abstainers tend to eat artery clogging "Sunday-church-social-meat-and-potato" type diets with little or no fresh fruits and vegetables "People who consume one to two drinks daily have lower mortality rates than nondrinkers. Alcohol, like any other drug, has a beneficial dose and a dose that will cause harm. Whether alcohol consumption will produce beneficial or adverse effects depends on a person's alcohol consumption, age, and background for cardiovascular risk. Rates of death from all causes are lowest amoung those who report consuming one drink per day." [Source : Personal Nutrition]

drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions, which means you may eat more, which means you may have a more difficult time trying to  manage your weight

drinking alcohol in excess can cause driving accidents, brain damage, ulcers, and even death.

some people retain alcohol in thier system for up to 2-3 hours after a single drink

moderation is defined as:

men - no more than 2 drinks per day

women- no more than 1 drink per day

what constitutes a drink:

12 ounces of regular beer = 150 calories

1 1/2 oz. 80 proof distilled spirits = 100 calories [mixers such as pina colada mix, etc...add more calories]

12 oz. wine/malt or spirit-based cooler = 210-230 calories

9 3/4 oz. malt liquor = 135 calories

3 oz. of sherry or port wine = 130 calories

5 ounces of wine = 100 calories 

NOTE: wines vary in calories. for instance, sweeter wines like muscato are about 25 calories per ounce, so in the  case of most muscatos, only 4 ounces would = 100 calories

more information on alcoholic beverages can be found in "Calorie King"

some people should not drink at all. these would include:

people who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels..in other words, people with addictive personalities

children and adolecents

women who are pregnant or may become pregnant

people who will drive, operate machinery, or do any activity that requires attentiveness, skill, or coordination

people who are taking over the counter or prescriptions that may interact with alcohol


some information obtained from "Personal Nutrition" by Marie Boyle [ PhD in Nutrition ] and Sara Long [PhD in Health Education]

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