A toast to your healthy heart

Ted Hamilton

If you want to live longer, stop whatever you are doing and go grab a beer. In fact, you should probably have somewhere between one and three beers, researchers say. According to multiple studies, drinking alcohol in moderation (one to three drinks daily) can prolong your life and reduce the chances of developing several major ailments.

All this time, people have been having a beer with their steak and were actually helping to reduce the risk of getting coronary heart disease by 40 to 60 percent. Moderate drinkers are also less likely to have heart attacks and strokes, the studies show. We are never told about the benefits alcohol can have, instead it is portrayed to us as an evil chemical that will ruin our lives.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, if the entire United States quit drinking alcohol, up to 135,000 more people would die annually from coronary heart disease.

That is almost five times the population of Kent.

Alcohol helps reduce heart disease in several ways. First, it helps increase “good” cholesterol and decreases “bad” cholesterol. Among other things, it also thins blood by reducing blood clotting chemicals.

Next time your parents or friends get on you about that martini you have everyday after work tell them “Hey, I am just trying to reduce the possibility of having a bad heart!”

Maybe instead of creating programs to get citizens to stop drinking altogether, the government can start programs to convince teetotalers to have a few drinks everyday. Due to the benefits liquor, beer and wine provide, people who drink moderately normally live between three to 10 years longer than people who abstain completely, scientists have found.

The common cold is also something alcohol helps prevent. Researchers believe drinkers have 85 percent more resistance to the common cold than someone who does not drink any alcohol.

Although drinking heavily can damage brain cells, drinking in moderation helps increase mental function and reduce the chance of getting dementia later in life. One study even concluded that people who drink are 75 percent less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

Kidney stones, Parkinson’s disease and high blood pressure are several other ailments alcohol is believed to reduce the chances of getting later in life.

Maybe this is why other countries believe Americans are ignorant, our government focuses on the negative effects of a drink that has many healthy benefits. Perhaps they find it funny that our culture makes attempts to shun a substance that can increase our mental abilities. After all, America has the most strict drinking laws of any western democracy.

Of course, the key word is moderation. Going out, drinking 10 beers and trying to drive home is not going to decrease your mortality rate. But at least students who are 21 now have an excuse to come home from a long day of classes and have a beer to relax because they know there are a lot of benefits in that little can, bottle or glass.

Next time I raise a toast to someone’s health I will remember that by draining the glass I will also be toasting my own.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]