Unlike stronger alcohol, wine indeed has several health benefits. Many people swear by their habit of having a glass of wine each day. While there is truth to this claim, alcohol is not good for your body. Consumption of alcohol has both long and short-term consequences, both equally bad.
With the growing popularity of alcohol-free wine, we need to ask ourselves whether the non-alcoholic variants are better than the alcoholic ones. According to studies and research, the answer seems to be yes. Non-alcoholic wine has several health benefits. In some cases, the benefits are the same as that of wine but without the harmful effects of alcohol.
To understand whether alcohol-free wine has health benefits or not, we first need to understand the negative effects of alcohol consumption. By having non-alcoholic wine, you are immune from all the negative effects of alcohol, be it long-term or short-term.
Is wine bad for you?
Wine is not especially bad for you. In fact, it has many benefits. The bigger problem is wine or alcohol consumption.
Drinking is an integral part of our culture. We cannot get by any social event without drinking. Sometimes, we drink more than we should, and that's where the problems start kicking in. If you consistently have no more than one glass of wine each day, you would not be doing a huge disservice to your body.
On the other hand, many people feel that regularly consuming alcohol gradually weakens your self-restraint. There's another factor at play here as well. Over time, your alcohol tolerance level increases. You would then need more alcohol to feel the same buzz. This explains why alcohol consumption increases gradually and unnoticeably for many people.
To put it in simple words, wine is not bad for you. Too much wine is bad for you. The problem lies in the fact the boundary between just enough and too much is often blurred, and we overstep it very frequently.
Harmful effects of wine consumption
Every drinker knows that they can drink their way to death. For some, it's a grim possibility that's only in the realm of fantasy. For others, it's a narrow line that they have to tussle with now and then.
If you are drinking moderate amounts of wine every day, you would not notice any adverse changes in your mind and body. The problem starts when you start drinking too much.
There are two sets of problems attached to drinking wine in excess. The first set deals with the short-term consequences of drinking. The other set deals with the long-term effects. Both are equally bad and can be avoided if you drink in moderation.
Short-term consequences of excessive alcohol consumption
A night of drinking can leave you debilitated for the night and the entire next day, if not more. That's because most of the negative effects of excessive drinking show up immediately, while you are still drunk. Let's find out what these harmful consequences are:
Alcohol dehydrates your body -- we have known this for many years. It's the same reason you feel terribly dehydrated after a night of heavy drinking. However, dehydration is not only bad from a hangover perspective. If your body does not have enough water, you can even go unconscious.
Alcohol promotes violence in people, which is evident from the countless bar fights happening across the world every night. It can bring out the worst even from relatively agreeable people. In the worst cases, alcohol-related violence has taken many lives. At other times, people have ended up in jail or at the hospital. It's a short-term consequence of drinking alcohol that can get to anyone.
Drinking and driving is illegal for a reason. 30% of all fatal car crashes in the United States involve at least one drunk driver. It's one of the most apparent negative short-term consequences that has become a social problem.
Sexual carelessness and misconduct
Alcohol can lead to unprotected sex, which can, in turn, lead to STDs or unwanted pregnancies. The fault here, however, does not lie with the alcohol itself. It acts as a catalyst that makes it easier for you to take unwise decisions.
Most of us are familiar with what being hungover feels like. It's not a good feeling, to say the least. Hangovers on weekdays can ruin your entire work schedule and consequently, the rest of the week. Some people also feel terribly sick when hungover.
Long-term consequences of excessive alcohol consumption
Some of the adverse effects show up later in life. Here are the most common ones:
Deteriorating health markers
Drinking for a long time without any restraint can wreak havoc on your body. For instance, it increases high blood pressure, chances of getting a stroke, liver complications, and digestive problems. These health effects generally show up once you are past your 20s and 30s.
Alcohol has been linked to cancer for a long time now. Alcohol consumption increases your chances of getting breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum cancer. Like all cancers, it becomes evident quite late in the process if you are not actively looking for it.
Low sex drive
While alcohol boosts sex drive in the short term, it can do the opposite in the long term. Many men face problems like erectile dysfunction due to excessive consumption of alcohol for a long time.
Pregnancy and childbirth complications
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) refer to a range of health conditions that children get when they are exposed to alcohol as a fetus. Pregnant women are advised against drinking for this very reason. In worst cases, it can also lead to miscarriage.
Mental health issues
Alcoholism is a classified addiction that affects millions of people. If you don't do anything about it, you'd soon be dependent on alcohol to live a normal life and enjoy normal things. At that stage, you are already suffering from mental health issues. It's a social consequence of alcohol consumption that most of us are already aware of.
Is alcohol-free wine good for you?
Until now, we talked about why alcoholic wine is not good for you, at least in excess. For the short-term negatives to impact your life, you do not even need to be a regular drinker. However, that brings us to an important question. Is alcohol-free wine good only because it doesn't contain alcohol?
The answer to that question is both yes and no. It's true that by avoiding alcohol, you are also avoiding all of the short and long-term consequences that come with it. But alcohol-free wine is better in other aspects as well. For instance, non-alcoholic drinks are also low in carbohydrates and sugar compared to alcoholic wine. That makes it a better choice for those trying to limit their carb consumption.
Let's find out what are some of the health benefits of having alcohol-free wines.
Health benefits of alcohol-free wine
Note: Alcohol-free wines are those beverages that have less than 0.5% abv alcohol content, which is the same as a glass of orange juice. You are consuming minuscule amounts of alcohol even in non-alcoholic drinks. However, the amount is so little that it won't have any effects on your body, long or short term.
May reduce blood pressure and improve health markers
A few studies have shown that non-alcoholic drinks can lower blood pressure. Whether you believe in the veracity of the studies or not, it's evident that non-alcoholic wine does not do any additional harm to the body. That includes not elevating blood pressure, risk of heart problems, or digestive issues. It also lowers your chances of getting cancer since there's no alcohol in the drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks are perfect for you if you worry about getting heart problems or associated health issues.
Reduces LDL cholesterol
A wine has both alcoholic and non-alcoholic components. It's true that some of the benefits of having wine come from its alcoholic components. However, some also come from its non-alcoholic components. Since alcohol-free wine has all the non-alcoholic components of wine, you'll get their benefits as well.
One of the benefits of non-alcoholic components is lowered LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol. Cholesterol can, in turn, lead to blocking of the arteries and heart issues, leading to stroke. Anyone worried about their heart health can easily switch to non-alcoholic wine for a host of health benefits.
Boost immune system
Our immune systems determine how often we'll fall sick and how serious it would be. Wine and the immune system have a complex relationship. Since wine is fermented from grapes in many cases, it is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential to keep your immune system in good shape. Apple and green tea are other great sources of antioxidants.
But with alcoholic wine, the alcohol components end up harming your immune system if consumed in excess. That makes non-alcoholic wine a perfect replacement. It has all the antioxidants without alcohol, making your immune system stronger without ever damaging it.
No hangover to deal with
Perhaps the best part of not drinking alcohol is not having to deal with a terrible hangover the next day. In the absence of alcohol, there's nothing in a non-alcoholic wine that can make you dehydrated. As a result, you also do not have to worry about getting a hangover the next day, no matter how much you drink.
No negative social consequences
We drink alcohol to have a good time, but those good times can turn into bad times very quickly under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is one of the best examples of this. With non-alcoholic wine, you do not need to worry about losing your faculties. As a consequence, you do not have to worry about misconduct, violent behavior, road accidents, bar fights, and so on.
Many of us have an occasional glass of wine to fit in with other people. Sometimes, one glass can become two glasses, two glasses can become three, and before you know it, you are drunk out of your mind. Having non-alcoholic wine eliminates the chances of anything like this happening, no matter how much you drink. It gives you the social benefits of drinking without the consequences.
Should you switch to non-alcoholic wine?
No matter where you are in life, it's never too late to quit drinking. But we understand that quitting is not for everyone, and it genuinely improves the quality of life for many people. However, you can still make space for alcohol-free beverages in your life.
Apart from consuming as is, alcohol-free drinks are great for mocktails and cocktails. You can substitute some of your alcoholic wine with a non-alcoholic counterpart. If you have wine with food for the taste and flavor, you won't find it difficult to switch to a non-alcoholic variant.
Given the benefits of non-alcoholic drinks, everyone would benefit from adopting them. Even if you can't give up drinking altogether, alcohol-free wine can help you curb excessive drinking and all the health problems that come with it.
Non-alcoholic wine is here to stay -- there's no doubt about it anymore. People are now adopting non-alcoholic wine for several reasons, be it social, religious, or health-related. If you also want to enjoy the fine tastes and notes of wine without burdening your body and immune system, give non-alcoholic wine a shot.