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Alcohol – To drink or not to drink?

Before you brush this article off because you either don’t drink alcohol (so it is not relevant to you), or you love your alcohol too much to give it up (so it is also not relevant to you), pause a second to identify who in your first-degree network would benefit from this information. Some people abstain from alcohol because of medical reasons, religious reasons, or a negative association with it. These negative associations could be anything from the taste, the after-effects of a headache or emotional low, to poor behavior they have seen in themselves or others after alcohol consumption and therefore abstinence is best. Whatever the reasons, we will take an objective approach to this and discuss the pros and cons of alcohol, assuming the above reasons do not apply to you.

Benefits of Alcohol

There is some research to indicate that a moderate consumption of alcohol on a regular basis can have benefits, although small but still worth mentioning, to health. So what are these so-called benefits?

Assuming that you are not suffering from any pre-disposed or hereditary illness or health risks, moderate alcohol consumption may help to:

  1. Reduce your risk of developing and dying of heart disease;

  2. Possibly reduce your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow);

  3. Possibly reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes

It is important to note that eating a healthy diet and having physically activity in your regular routine will have much greater health benefits and this has definitely been more extensively researched and studied.

What does Moderate Consumption mean?

Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

Here are some examples of what one drink could mean in absolute terms and actual drinks.

  • Beer: 355 mls (ie. 1 glass)

  • Wine: 148 mls (ie. 1 glass)

  • Distilled spirits: 44 mls (ie. ¾ peg/shot)

Moderate or not, if you have always preferred not to consume alcohol in the first place, then you can and should maintain your boundaries.

Overconsumption of Alcohol

The flipside of moderate consumption of alcohol is overconsumption. The overconsumption of alcohol normally go hand-in-hand with other undesirable lifestyle choices. These undesirable lifestyle choices include smoking, late night eating, and compromised sleep. I strongly discourage engaging in overconsumption of alcohol. Overconsumption of alcohol might be a way for some to cope with stress and to deal with other deep set emotional or psychological trauma.

Overconsumption of alcohol can increase your risk of serious health problems, some of which I am listing out below:

  • Certain cancers

  • Heart burn and acid reflux

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Pancreatitis

  • Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure

  • Stroke

  • High blood pressure

  • Liver disease

I associate alcohol consumption with social wellbeing and unwinding. Consuming alcohol in moderation, whether with others or on my own, has also helped me be creative and innovate for challenging projects.

I’ve realised that at the end of the day, it is not about whether or not we should (or should not) drink alcohol, but that we must continue to build sustainable lifestyle habits like prioritising healthy eating, sleep and physical activity.

Cheers everyone, to living a life full of positive healthy lifestyle habits!

About the Writer

Alex’s compass is guided by the desire to help people. This is the driving force that allows him to focus on helping organisations harness fitness, health and wellness as the vehicles to building sustainable solutions. He is the CEO and Co-founder at Actxa Wellness, where he also leads as Chief Wellbeing Strategist. Together with the team, they provide products and services as Wellness Consultants for organisations, where they identify gaps and work with HR professionals to co-create corporate wellness solutions to improve employee engagement and wellbeing.




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