As warmer weather arrives, many people decide to enjoy the sunshine and the colors of blooming spring flowers by hosting garden parties. When you are planning to your spring get together with family and friends, one of the decisions that need to be made is whether to serve alcoholic beverages. In terms of health and nutrition, there is not a simple and clear-cut answer since there are both benefits and risks associated with drinking alcohol. The best way to make decisions whether you should drink wine, beer, or liquor or serve to your friends, is to weigh the pros and cons of consuming these beverages.
The Benefits of Drinking Alcoholic Beverages in Moderation
Research has shown that drinking one to two servings of alcohol per day is associated with some health benefits. It is important to remember that a serving varies according to the type of alcohol you are serving. For example, one serving of beer is 12 ounces, a serving of wine is 5 ounces, and one serving of 80 proof liquor is 1.5 ounces. When choosing beverage glasses, remember that a wine glass or a cocktail glass is likely to hold more than one serving.
Some of the benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation include the following:
- Beer and Wine contain essential nutrients. Most people forget that wine and beer are considered food and have some nutritional value. For example, beer has some essential vitamins and contains a significant amount of the recommended daily allowance of many minerals that are necessary for optimal health. Wine contains a significant amount of iron and other essential nutrients.
- Wine contains ingredients that can protect your from serious, chronic health conditions. Wine contains resveratrol, which is a phytochemical that acts as powerful antioxidant that protects the cardiovascular system from the damage that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Additionally, resveratrol supports healthy functioning of the immune system and acts as an inflammatory agent.
- Liquor, when consumed with cocktail mixers, are also beneficial to your health. Clinical studies have shown that when diluted, distilled spirits and dry wines that are not sweet tend to improve a person’s tolerance to glucose. Additionally, these beverages, when consumed in moderation also enhance the body’s regulation of blood sugar in response to a person eating carbohydrates. Both of these effects on blood sugar can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Risks of Drinking Alcohol on a Regular Basis
While there are benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation on a regular basis, there are also some inherent risks. For example, people who have a family history of alcoholism are generally advised to abstain from alcohol on order to avoid addiction. Additionally, people who develop a rash or tend to sneeze while drinking beer or wine are advised to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages since these are symptoms of an allergy.
Some of the other risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption include the following:
- Car accidents: Since people metabolize alcohol at different rates depending upon the weight and sex, it is a challenging to recommend how many drinks are “too much” to drive. In general, it is best to wait about an hour to drive after drinking a single serving of alcohol.
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Since the clinical studies have different findings as to what is a safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman to consume to avoid giving birth to an infant with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, it is best for her to follow the recommendations from her doctor.
- Damage to the Liver: People who drink heavily run a significant risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be fatal.
When planning your garden party, make sure to offer plenty of fresh nutritious foods, especially if you plan to serve alcoholic beverages.