Vodka is the most popular type of strong alcohol in Russia. All other types of alcohol brought from abroad are inferior to it in prevalence. The liquid composition is as simple as possible, its ethanol content reaches 40%. It means that one can drink such alcohol only with plenty of snacks.
Large quantities of alcohol cause irreparable harm to health, but if the minimum doses are observed, there are also benefits, especially if we are not talking about an independent product, but about means based on it – infusions or nalewkas.
Features of alcohol and its origin
Before knowing what positive qualities are inherent in a beverage, you need to consider what it is made of and how it is produced. It is this data that will give an idea of the composition of the final product and its possible impact on the body.
Classic vodka is a transparent, impurity-free liquid with the characteristic smell of ethyl alcohol. It tastes bitter, so when you drink it in its pure form requires snacks. Another option is cocktails, where strong alcohol is mixed with juices or syrups. The degree drops, and the need for snacks or drinks disappears.
The simplicity of vodka is deceptive. This drink has a complex production technology, which is composed of several stages. You can’t skip them, because you will miss the opportunity to get quality alcohol. The preparation of raw materials plays a key role. In order to synthesize the alcohol, plant products are usually used, such as:
In Russia, this alcohol is traditionally made from cereals. The main product is wheat, but it is appropriate to add other cereals in minimal quantities. In fact, to start production, a mixture of wheat, barley, millet, oats, corn is taken.
In European countries, the technology has undergone slight changes. Vegetable crops – potatoes and beetroot – are used instead of grains at the initial stage. When the raw materials are collected, the production cycle begins:
- Initially, the original plant product is thoroughly cleaned of impurities. Only then is the mixture of cereals or other plants crushed into flour.
- Then it is filled with water and exposed to high pressure and temperature at the same time. The raw material is boiled to a state of thick porridge.
- Yeast is injected into the resulting mixture. This means that fermentation processes are initiated. And no additional sugar is required. The source of food for the fungus will be simple carbohydrates from plant raw materials, which were formed from polysaccharides during the thermal effect of the previous stage of production.
- At the end of fermentation will be happy product known to many people – braga. This drink can be ranked among the average fortress. To increase ethanol concentration, it is subjected to steam distillation.
- At the output, the so-called crude alcohol is formed, which enters the next stage of production – rectification. In fact, this is the key element of preparation. The result of this stage is pure alcohol of natural origin.
- The concentration of ethanol immediately after rectification is too high. To make the product drinkable, it is diluted with water. It has to be softened and purified, but it is impossible to subject the liquid to distillation or boiling, so it is defended, oxygenated and passed through quartz filters.
- As a result, after mixing water and alcohol a liquid with ethanol concentration of 41.2% is obtained. All over the world the standard is 40 turns. To reduce the degree, the product is passed through a wood filter.
- The last stage of production will consist in quality control of the finished beverage and its bottling on glass bottles. In this form, the product gets on the shelves of stores.
A lot of people wonder where this kind of alcohol came from. The first mention of rectification processes dates back to the 12th century, although similar attempts to obtain essential oils have been made before. Vodka in the modern sense of the word appeared much later, only in the 19th century.
Effects on the body
Any alcoholic beverage, according to doctors, affects the functioning of the body, and, as a rule, we are talking about the deterioration of some systems. This is due to the presence in it of a dangerous compound, which is ethyl alcohol. Specifically in vodka, its concentration is 40%. This means that it is enough to drink relatively little to cause serious damage.
To better understand the potential harm, it is necessary to consider the basic chemical properties of ethanol. Under normal conditions it is a colourless liquid with a pungent alcohol smell. It is also preserved in many drinks based on it.
Ethanol is able to oxidize and give acetaldehyde. It is this compound that has the highest toxicity with respect to all living things. If it accumulates too much, the body is poisoned. This situation is familiar to almost everyone who at least once in his life exceeded the allowable amount of alcohol. It’s a typical hangover with symptoms like this:
- alternating chills and fever;
- rapid heartbeat;
- tremor of the limbs;
- intestinal disorders;
- bad breath;
All these signs develop if you drink a lot at once or mix alcohol with something, but even in this case after some time they will pass on their own. Usually already on the second day all acetaldehyde turns into another compound – acetic acid. It has much less toxicity, so it doesn’t provoke poisoning. The acid comes out with other metabolic products, and the sober one starts to feel good.
To understand exactly how vodka affects a person, you need to consider the properties of ethanol itself. Alcohol is not just a toxic substance, it has a mild narcotic effect. People who use it gradually get drunk. It’s caused by the effects of ethanol on the nervous system and hormonal background.
Due to the increased permeability of membranes, substances responsible for good mood, including serotonin, adrenaline and endorphins, rapidly increase their concentration in the blood. A person feels satisfied and happy, calms down, stops thinking about problems. The effect disappears when ethyl alcohol is completely transformed into a primary oxidation product.
Doctors rarely talk about the health benefits of alcohol. The fact is that a normal person can be very difficult to find a boundary that can not be crossed in any case. The situation is especially acute with vodka. This product is not subject to prolonged aging in oak barrels, so there are no valuable tannins and tannins that play the role of antioxidants. It also contains no vitamins or minerals. It is quite logical to ask: what can be the benefit of using a drink consisting only of ethanol and water?
Despite the high risk of problems associated with alcoholism, even ethanol has medicinal properties. It is they that determine the advantages of vodka. First of all, physicians note the benefits to blood vessels. Throughout life, they are constantly circulating blood, which performs many functions, including the transfer of valuable substances from one organ to another. It is for this reason that it is essential to keep their course in a healthy state.
This is difficult to do because there are many external factors that have a negative impact on the body’s circulatory system. These include improper diet, consumption of too much animal fat. As a result, the level of low-density triglycerides in human blood increases. These compounds are solid, fat-like substances that are insoluble in water. They penetrate the bloodstream and are deposited on the inner walls to form cholesterol plaques. If there are too many of them, the lumen of blood vessels is narrowed and the patient is diagnosed with atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol is broken down in organic solvents, including alcohol. The treatment of atherosclerosis with alcoholic beverages is based on this property. It is believed that with the use of quality alcohol in small doses, the vascular channel is purified, and blood can flow through the arteries at the same rate.
You shouldn’t think of alcohol as a cure. Ethyl alcohol is a dangerous substance that needs to be handled with care. Yes, it can be beneficial, but the harm will surely be present. You need to determine what’s more important on a case-by-case basis.
Physicians call other benefits of strong alcohol. It is believed that vodka increases appetite by affecting the taste buds. Its minimal amount is appropriate for diseases caused by viruses. With the help of the drink it is possible to really strengthen the immunity and increase the resistance to foreign agents.
It’s also a great remedy for insomnia. Minimal dose relieves stress, calms, suppresses excessive excitement. As a result, a person is easily relaxed and falls asleep quickly.
When asked whether vodka is beneficial, physicians rarely give a positive answer, despite the fact that alcohol in microdose can have a beneficial effect on health. Doctors believe that it is best to use traditional medicines and procedures for treatment. This is due to the enormous harm caused to the alcoholic organism.
People rarely take strong alcohol in really small amounts. Usually a lot is drunk during a meal or other event. It is pointless to talk about benefits, but the damage to health is extremely difficult to ignore. The composition of vodka is pure softened water and ethyl alcohol obtained from plant raw materials. The second component is the main threat. This compound provokes the strongest dependence.
It starts small. Humans start with a small dose, gradually increasing its volume. He likes the feeling of relaxation that leaves behind alcohol. Many people think that quitting drinking is real at any given moment, but in practice it is different.
Initially, a strong mental dependency is formed. This means that people get so used to drinking that they can’t deny themselves. It becomes difficult for them to communicate with others, to work, to do household chores. A person starts to see the sense only in drinking alcohol, and all other things and hobbies lose their value. This is only the initial stage at which the help of a psychologist is already needed.
If the problem is not solved in time, it goes to a new level. Physical dependence develops. At this stage, people often make attempts to quit drinking and immediately face difficulties. The organism gets so accustomed to the presence of ethanol in it that it refuses to function without it. The developing state is in many ways close to a severe hangover. It is an withdrawal syndrome that often appears in alcoholics who have decided to overcome their addiction.
The addiction to alcohol is generally considered to be a disease and treated by traditional medication methods. Psychologists are also called upon to help, as it is crucial to find the real reasons for addiction and to explain to the patient that life has a different meaning. The need for therapy is related to the fact that vodka causes significant harm, affecting every organ.
Alcohol is harmful to the nervous system. Neurons die under the influence of toxic substances, connections between them collapse. As a result, the level of intellect decreases rapidly, memory and analytical abilities deteriorate. Degradation of personality is not suspended for a single day. Gradually, the alcoholic stops recognizing his loved ones and loses the ability to perform elementary actions. To prevent this from happening, treatment must begin in time.
Ethanol, which is part of the ethanol, disrupts the work of the cardiovascular system. Doctors warn that alcoholics do not manage to avoid problems with blood pressure. The fault is high blood viscosity and tone of smooth muscles, which form the walls of blood vessels. The heart itself is also undergoing a number of changes. Its muscle tissue is reduced in size and gradually replaced by fat.
If a person drinks every day, he himself will ensure the oppression of liver function. In healthy people, that organ is responsible for neutralizing toxins. If you take alcohol too often, it ceases to cope with the load. It has to do with the many damaged fragments in the organ.
The liver is an iron that can be attributed to the digestive system. It secretes bile that contains enzymes that are needed to process incoming food. Specialists note that some other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the stomach and duodenum, suffer on the same level as this organ.
Vodka is a rather strong drink with a high concentration of ethanol, so there is a high probability of mucous membrane damage. If the problem, which appears to be a mild pain, heartburn and nausea, is ignored, the person will suffer severe consequences in the form of a stomach ulcer when the inflammation spreads to the muscular layer.
Prolonged use of any alcohol-containing fluids provokes weakening of immunity. The human body becomes particularly susceptible to pathogens, so colds cannot be avoided even in the summer season, when the risks are minimized.
In addition, alcohol kills usable microflora living in the human intestines. Organ lumen cannot be empty, it is almost immediately inhabited by pathogenic bacteria. As a result, a drinker develops dysbacteriosis, which will be revealed by frequent alternation of polar different intestinal disorders, heaviness and bloating of the stomach.
Useful information and interesting facts
Vodka is considered an original Russian drink, as it is in the territory of the Russian Federation it has acquired its modern look. The first experiments related to distillation were conducted by Avicenna. Similar processes are described in the Greek alchemists. This fact allows us to consider the drink to be somewhat ancient.
Vodka’s strength norm is 40 degrees. It was established only in 1886. Until then, from cereal raw materials produced the so-called half-gar – a drink fortress 38 turns. Later this value was simply rounded to 40 for convenience of calculations. Originally, 40 degrees were perceived as the lower limit of ethanol concentration. This means that the vodka could have been much stronger. Now that’s a thing of the past, and all products are made to the same standard.
There is a common story among people that Dmitry Mendeleev put his hand to the calculations of the optimal fortress. The great chemist really has a scientific work “On the combination of alcohol with water”, but it has nothing to do with vodka. This story is nothing more than a legend.
There is another interesting fact that all connoisseurs of this type of alcoholic beverages should take into account. Vodka is a very calorie product. It does not contain carbohydrates, but its energy value is 231 kcal per 100 grams.
If all this amount is not consumed in metabolic processes, there is an increased risk of getting into trouble with the figure. The excess energy is transformed into lipids and deposited as subcutaneous fatty tissue. This is a kind of emergency reserve for the body. It is noteworthy that it is extremely difficult to get rid of the weight gained in this way.
Vodka is a popular, but not the only, strong drink. All over the world, people from different countries and continents have long cooked hot. Thus, in the Caribbean states rum was born, in Mexico – tequila, and in France – cognac. These drinks differ not only in their raw materials but also in their production tactics. Many are aged in oak barrels for a long time, which is why they acquire a darker color.
Of course, no specialist would advise you to drink strong alcohol every day. Even a minimum amount will be detrimental to health, so it is best to determine in advance what frequency will be safe.
Many people are convinced that even once a week it is too much. On this basis, it is better to reduce the number of activities associated with the consumption of strong alcohol to one, maximum two, a month. It is also important to monitor the amount of vodka you drink. The drink is forty-degree, therefore, you need to be especially careful.
When calculating how much alcohol can be taken at a time, physicians advise to pay attention to individual parameters and only then to generally accepted standards.
A healthy young man weighing about 75-80 kg can afford from 50 to 80 milliliters. For women, this bar should be lowered to 30-40 milliliters. In this case we are talking about a safe dose. This is the volume that is easily neutralized by the liver and removed from the body in the shortest possible time.
It is possible to drink more, but the next day a person will expect an unpleasant hangover, and at the celebration itself there is a high risk of complete loss of control over the situation. It is known that a very drunk person commits inappropriate actions, for which he later feels ashamed. You can avoid this if you stop in time and do not drink too much.
There are categories of people for whom even minimal amounts of alcohol are a real threat. They can’t drink vodka, because almost immediately after drinking it irreversible changes will begin. The main contraindications to drinking alcohol:
- hypersensitivity to alcohol;
- kidney failure;
- liver pathologies;
- heart diseases;
- suffered a stroke;
- age under 18 years.
If a person has a chronic or acute condition that is not related to these limitations, they need to be careful about their health. Temporary restrictions associated with taking medication are likely. For example, vodka is prohibited if the patient is treated with antibiotics.
Most often, health professionals convince their patients that vodka is harmful in itself, but appropriate use can be found for this type of alcoholic products. Skilled hostesses make a variety of nalewkas based on it. Spices, spices, herbs, berries and fruits are used for preparation.
Such alcohol is easy to drink, as through the introduction of sugar it gets a softer taste. Another valuable quality is the healing effect, which is achieved through the transition to alcoholic vitamins, minerals and plant extracts from natural additives.
Nalewka is most often seen as a means of preventing viral diseases. They relieve symptoms of colds and flu, so they can be an additional tool in complex drug therapy.
- One of the simplest and most successful recipes is rowan nalewka. Approximately 2/3 of the bottle is filled with peeled berries collected before the first frost. Then the container is poured with alcohol and cleaned for three weeks. Later, the remaining berries can be reused. The quality of the nalewka will only increase as a result.
- Cranberry infusion is very popular. For its preparation take a glass of berries and the same amount of sugar. First, rub the cranberries with it until a homogeneous mixture is obtained, and then pour the resulting porridge with a bottle of alcohol. The beverage will be ready in 2-3 weeks. It will need to be filtered before drinking.
- Excellent taste in strawberry tincture. Soft berries are rubbed and mixed with sugar sand and then immersed in alcohol. It is important to maintain the proportions, as strawberries will release a lot of liquid. One bottle takes a kilo of berries and the same amount of sugar. They insist on nalewka in a dark, cool place for at least three weeks.
- Original alcohol is obtained by mixing alcohol with spicy plants. Thus, for a tincture reminiscent of absinthe, take 100 grams of anise seeds and a few branches of bitter wormwood. Pour the spices with vodka, and after three weeks, the liquid is filtered and sugar is added if necessary.
- Citrus nalewka is good for strengthening immunity. It is noteworthy that the fruits themselves do not need to be used, as the maximum valuable substances contained in their peel – zest. You can use any citrus – lemon, grapefruit, mandarin or orange. Crusts are filled with alcohol and left for 2 weeks. For a more pronounced citrus flavour, you can add a few drops of natural juice.
- Maximum healing properties of infusions on medicinal plants. For a recipe for coughing and sore throat, you should take ginger, Calganus root, dill and anise seeds. The ingredients are poured in alcohol and infused in a warm place for three weeks.
Medics warn that it is possible to use vodka nalewkas, but it is necessary to monitor their quantity. Excessive consumption has nothing to do with treatment. If they are used as a treatment, the dose is measured in teaspoons or tablespoons and usually does not exceed 10-15 millilitres per day.
Vodka is a worldwide popular alcoholic product made from natural raw materials. It is believed that when choosing a quality product and following the rules of its use, a person will not be hungover and subsequent health problems. The key point will be to determine a safe dose. If it does not exceed the maximum indicated by doctors, there will indeed be no negative consequences.