Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol’

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have done an interdisciplinary study of the heart (a.k.a love) and red wine (a.k.a. it’s RED and it’s oh-so-romantic). Even though this is now old news, I feel it merits repeating during the days leading up to our time-honored celebration of the commodification of love. (End rant). First, a few disclaimers: Barbelle does not condone underage drinking or excessive drinking, and in no way does this post serve as the final word on the matter of alcohol and health. However, studies show that in moderation, red wine can reduce the risk of heart disease.

The flavonoids – a type of antioxidant found in red wine – may be the main cause of the health benefits of red wine. However, the American Heart Association stresses that flavonoids can be found in non-alcoholic drinks as well, such as grape juice, and the health benefits of alcohol should not outweigh the negative aspects of addiction and over-consumption. They further point out that the healthy hearts of wine drinkers may be due to exercise, diets high in fruits and vegetables, or other factors. They maintain that there has been no conclusive evidence that proves the specific properties of red wine prevent against heart disease. That said, red wine does contain elements that can improve health

Despite the AHA’s reticence, Harvard researchers have shown that resveratrol, another property in red wine, can reduce the formation of blood clots, the negative effects of a high-fat diet and the effects of aging. Of course, the AHA is quick to point out that aspirin can act as a blood thinner as well.

Although my research has not proven as clear-cut as I wanted, I can safely say that you may imbibe one glass of red wine at your Valentine’s Day dinner – if you are over 21 – without fearing for your health. Still skeptical? Go for the grape juice instead.

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I suppose my purpose in life is to upset my Editor by blurring the lines that define this Blog about health and fitness. In that spirit and in the name of spirits, I wish to share with you some findings on my previously favorite-now feared cocktail of choice: Red Bull and Vodka. Never being one to imbibe caffeine, I save Red Bull for the rare occasion when I really want to party. However, just today (Tuesday, February 3), a 21 year-old female student in the United Kingdom collapsed and died as an apparent result of consuming too much of the winged-cocktail. These findings aren’t too surprising after reading about a web-based survey study done at Wake Forest University and presented at the annual American Public Health Association meeting in Washington DC.. Based on the findings from over 4,500 students, about ¼ mentioned drinking an energy drink mixed with alcohol during a 30-day period, most commonly reaching for my previous favorite, Red Bull and Vodka. These special folks were found to be more likely to injure themselves, require medical assistance (i.e. alcohol poisoning), or get raped/rape someone. Not the kind of partying that I had in mind. Additionally, these students reported drinking up to 36 per cent more than the other students, and also had twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness.
The caffeine present in Red Bull acts as a stimulant that masks feelings of drunkenness. On top of the effect on bodily awareness, both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which combine to really dehydrate your body, leaving you with a potential for cardiovascular problems such as hypotension and tachycardia. Not to mention a worse hangover. So keep your bar tabs a little lower and your bodies a little healthier by avoiding combinations of caffeine drinks and alcohol.

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