A fair percentage of us can admit to enjoying a drink or two now and then. Truth (and statistics) be told, it’s more than a fair percentage. For many, alcohol is synonymous with a good time — catching up with friends, celebrating, or relaxing and unwinding after a long day. It’s for this reason that giving up the booze can be such a challenge, even for those of us with that iron willpower! But, as much as we might enjoy a few drinks, there are some fairly good reasons to consider cutting back the booze. And with everything 2020 is throwing at our minds and bodies when it comes to health, now’s the time to really consider them.
As we age, our bodies start to process alcohol differently and this can impact everything from how quickly we clear the stuff from our system, how easily we feel the effects and how bad that hangover the next day might be. Daily intake of alcohol, and/or intake in significant amounts, is linked to a host of poor health outcomes and so cutting back might literally be adding years.
Current guidelines recommend that both men and women consume no more than 10 standard drinks across any one week, and no more than four in any one sitting to avoid alcohol-related risks. Studies show that stepwise reductions in alcohol intake can reduce risks related to chronic illness, multiple types of cancer and the impacts on memory and cognition that heavy regular intake can bring about.
A big one here too is the mental benefits that reducing your amount of alcohol during the week can bring. Particularly during all we’re going through right now, giving our mind its strongest foundation includes watching how much we’re drinking. Anxiety, depression and a whole host of further struggles with our mental health often coincide with higher levels of alcohol. And whilst it might feel relaxing in the moment, in the long term, alcohol can impact our sleep, anxiety levels and mood in the exact opposite way. It’s well known that we’re doing our liver a favour when we choose to forgo that second glass of wine, but it’s increasingly clear that notching down our alcohol intake means being kind to our brain as well.
While the science is complex, we do know that it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to a tipple now and then. Studies show that drinking one to two glasses of red wine per week might just have some health benefits, including a reduction in cardiovascular disease — cheers to that! In essence, like most things, moderation is key when it comes to your alcohol consumption. It’s not about demonising a drink, but it’s about knowing that it can impact our health in very real ways.
If you’re worried about your alcohol consumption or someone you love, or your health generally, then it’s vital to check in with your doctor as soon as possible. Even small steps can make a big difference when it comes to health. And especially as we get older, it’s about knowing just that.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.
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