Alcohol – the highs and the lows
A drink or two isn’t going to do you much harm. In fact, epidemiological research has indicated that it can actually reduce your risk of heart disease. However, this only related to red wine and men over 45, which is not everybody’s preferred tipple, nor age or gender!
With the festive season well under way, here are a few reminders of the benefits of moderating your alcohol intake and/or detoxing in the New Year.
- Your tipple may increase your weight.
Alcohol reduces your natural inhibitions (as I’m sure you already know!) and this has the negative impact on natural ability to regulate your food intake. Not only are you likely to eat more while drinking, but the next day too especially if you are hungover. Secondly, many alcoholic drinks contain added sugar, such as rum cocktails, piña colada and strawberry daiquiri, which could easily add 200+ calories to your daily diet per drink!
- More than one to two drinks winds you up, not down.
Alcohol has the initial effect of being calmative and may help you distress (just one glass, will do though!). However, too much alcohol is actually a stimulant and can increase your stress levels and decrease your mood. In addition, alcohol is known to interfere with magnesium absorption, vital for heart muscle function, which could have deleterious long-term consequences.
- Sleep deprivation.
Alcohol also interferes with your natural sleep pattern, preventing you from obtaining sufficient REM sleep and deep sleep, vital for your body’s ability to repair and defend itself from viruses and disease.
- Disease risk.
Too much alcohol absolutely increases your risk of disease – most noticeably heart disease, breast cancer and fatty liver. As the risk is different for every individual and as it can take a long-time before you realise that you may have a problem, it is important to recognise this and do something about it now.
As we live in a culture where drinking is the norm and it is expected from you, it can be difficult to drink in moderation, especially over the festive season. However, many people are accepting of the fact that you are trying to keep healthy or on a detox, especially if you have family members who have an alcohol-related disease. It is also culturally acceptable to dry out in January, so if it’s easier for you, then start in January.
If you decide to detox or need support cutting down of quitting alcohol, a trained nutritional therapist can tailor dietary and supplement advice to help improve your nutritional status or de-stress, via diet and other lifestyle suggestions.