There is little doubt that heavy alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and drinking alcohol while pregnant are harmful, but moderate alcohol consumption carries both risks and benefits. For example, alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of heart disease (although the American College of Cardiology suggests limiting alcohol intake to reduce high blood pressure), but increase the risk of cancer (see also here), heartburn and liver inflammation. In particular, there appears to be an adverse affect on breast cancer risk, though if you are going to drink, you may want to choose red wine – and de-alcoholized red wine may improve arterial function. Alcohol also increases liver disease mortality. Alcoholic drinks do not count towards one’s phytochemical index (one type of healthy eating score). And some types of mushrooms, such as morels, should never be consumed with alcohol. Alcohol’s effect appears to be neutral with regard to atrial fibrillation. Strong alcoholic drinks such as wine or spirits is not considered hydrating.

As for non-dietary alcohol, the smell of isopropyl and rubbing alcohol may reduce nausea and vomiting.

Topic summary contributed by Wyatt.

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