The 6 Most Surprising Ways Alcohol Is Actually Good for You

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Let’s be clear:
Alcoholism will kill you dead. Drunk driving will kill you, and
probably multiple children along the way. There are no medical benefits
to chronic drunkenness.

But for all
the times booze gets us in trouble, every now and then it acts like
a trusty sidekick, coming in to help us out of potentially embarrassing
and life-threatening situations in ways we never thought possible.

#6. In Some
Cases, Alcohol Makes You Invincible

After the fourth
or fifth round of drinks, it’s not unusual to see some idiot stand
up in the middle of the bar and announce how heroically tough he
is and demand that you dare him to jump through a plate glass window.
A 22-year-old Russian man named Alexei Roskov, however, decided
to dare himself and jumped
out of his kitchen window
after guzzling three entire bottles
of vodka. This was a particularly bad idea since he lived on the
fifth floor of his apartment building.

Not only did
he not splat messily into the sidewalk like an alcohol-soaked sponge,
but to his wife’s relief and his own drunken amusement, he wasn’t
hurt. At all. He just got up, brushed himself off and staggered
back upstairs, where his wife was on the phone calling him an ambulance.
Not wanting to hang around and listen to her lecture him about how
his comically impaired sense of judgment had nearly cost him his
life, he jumped out of the window again.

The paramedics
that arrived on the scene where baffled to find that Alexei had
only a few cuts and bruises after diving from his apartment twice
in a row and presumably punched him in the damn face for wasting
their time.

In a pattern
we’ll be seeing throughout this article, the reason Alexei didn’t
explode into the sidewalk like a mayonnaise jar full of hamburger
meat was the same thing that caused his dumbass to try it in the
first place: the vodka. A drunk central nervous system is numb,
causing the muscles in the body to relax. Then, the same drunken
reflexes that make people more likely to park their car in the produce
section of your grocery store made Alexei’s body less likely to
tense up in anticipation of the impact, which
it turns out can save your limbs
from snapping like twigs.

So in a sense
his rampaging alcoholism saved his life despite pushing him from
the ledge in the first place, sort of like when Riggs handcuffs
that guy and jumps off the building in Lethal Weapon.

#5. Alcohol
Improves Your Libido

There seems
to be a sweet spot for alcohol consumption that lays along a spectrum
from no alcohol to enough to make things a little better to utter
ruin. For instance, while most of us recognize that 75 percent of
the world’s sex occurs under the influence of alcohol (unofficially)
because it has a way of lowering our inhibitions, there is also
such a thing as "whiskey dick."

That is, you
get too drunk to perform due to its sedative effect on the central
nervous system, which numbs your body to external stimulus. It’s
the same reason you slur your speech, sway when you walk or just
straight up lose consciousness.

Yet, once again,
there is the sweet spot.

Studies have
shown that moderate drinkers are actually 20
to 30 percent less likely to have erectile difficulties than non-drinkers
.
They’re not sure why, it may have to do with antioxidants found
in some alcohol (the same reason moderate amounts of wine protect
against heart disease). Further, it appears that a small amount
of alcohol can apparently "improve" a man’s erection,
according to one expert. We assume "improve"
here means it makes it harder/bigger, rather than "adds wings
and a laser beam."

#4. Alcohol
Can Keep Your Brain Alive

According to
actual doctors,
and presumably not just drunk ones, having a moderate amount of
alcohol in your system can actually prevent death from brain trauma.
Ironic, considering booze was probably the pied piper that led you
to the land of severe head injury in the first place.

In a study
involving almost 40,000 cases, researchers found that in younger
patients with less severe injuries, having alcohol in their systems
actually prevented the spread of swelling and inflammation in their
brains (alcohol suppresses the body’s inflammatory response). They
go so far as to suggest the possibility of administering ethanol
to patients with head injuries in the future, so hopefully it’s
only a matter of time until first responders answer emergency calls
with a fully stocked bar in the back.

The study does
point out that the drunken patients were more likely to run into
complications during their stint in the hospital, and like we mentioned
before, being drunk is usually what leads to you getting a ride
in an ambulance. But we’ve got to admit, a couple days of free ice
cream and vodka would certainly make a brick to the orbital socket
less of a downer.

Read
the rest of the article

July
20, 2010

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