Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alcohol & Health

There are quite a few benefits versus risks when it comes to drinking alcohol. It is important to acknowledge all of the benefits, and especially the risks of drinking alcohol when it comes to your health.

I gave up drinking two years ago... long story short: I used to be able to drink a lot but would get awful hangovers. Then two years ago the hangovers got worse and I would get sick while drinking (not cool). I blame this on my gluten intolerance along with thyroid issues - my body just can't process alcohol. So I gave it up. It sucked socially but I feel great now health wise and do not miss those hangovers! Also - I lost more than 10lbs due to cutting alcohol out and I don't want that back!

So how do you make the decision that is best for you?
Only you know yourself and how drinking alcohol makes you feel. If you are deciding this for weight loss - cut the alcohol out (at least for the first month)! Drinking any extra calories won't help you, then the cravings that alcohol brings (salt, sweets, etc) adds even more extra calories!

But here at Strawberries & Tea we know that living healthy in a processed world isn't all about weight loss. It's about the big health picture - physically and mentally. How does alcohol affect your whole life? Think about the day after drinking, how does it affect you then? Be honest! Alcohol affected my moods, eating habits, exercise habits... once I realized that I knew I had to change.

When it comes to drinking, moderation is key. If you can limit yourself (1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men) then you will see health benefits from alcohol. However more than that has a bunch of health risks.

Mayo Clinic has a great article about drinking in moderation. They say that moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit only if you're an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol. If you're a middle-aged or younger adult, some evidence shows that even moderate alcohol use may cause more harm than good. In fact, if you're a woman and drink alcohol, talk to your doctor about taking supplemental folate to help reduce the risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol use.

 You can take other steps to benefit your cardiovascular health besides drinking — eating a healthy diet and exercising, for example.

> Have you had to make any decisions regarding your health and drinking?

- Stephanie

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