This week is ‘Alcohol Awareness Week’ so, before you crack open the champagne in readiness for the holiday season, let’s take a moment to think about what that could mean for your future.
Did you know that alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease, some cancers and depression? The risk of developing these conditions increases the more you drink on a regular basis.
Did you also know that the misuse of alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages?
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women is that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. Yes – you read that right!!! It’s the same amount whether you’re a man or a woman! Who knew??
If you do regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 or more days. If you have 1 or 2 heavy drinking episodes a week you increase your risk of death from long-term illness and injuries.
So, do we really know what a unit of alcohol is? Are we perhaps underestimating how much we are drinking and are we too generous when pouring drinks at home?
You might be surprised to find that 14 units of alcohol could be:
- 6 pints of 4% beer
- 5 pints of 4.5% cider
- 6 glasses (125ml) of 13% wine
- 14 measures (25ml) of 14% spirits
- 12 bottles (275ml) of 4% alcopops
Yes, yes, we know that it might seem like we’re getting a bit ‘doom and gloom’ – but remember, it’s only because we care! Nobody is suggesting for a minute that you shouldn’t enjoy the holiday season, but do it responsibly and sensibly and your body will thank you later:
- Keep a check how much you are drinking at home. It’s easy to lose track when you’re not using the standard pub measures and your glass is getting topped up before its empty.
- Home measures are often much bigger than when in the pub, be aware when pouring your favourite drink into a goldfish bowl sized glass! Buying small wine glasses or an alcohol measure are good ways of making sure you don’t drink more than you intended to
- Try adding a mixer to your usual drink to ‘make it go further’ – not only will this cut down on the strain on the wallet, but also the strain of alcohol intake on your liver.
- Try replacing the alcohol in the fridge and cupboards with soft drinks. If you’re entertaining guests why not try something different and mix up some non-alcoholic mocktails? Or by alternating alcoholic drinks with mocktails you will literally cut your alcohol intake in half – and you won’t even notice – Trust us!
Keeping a check on what you drink and keeping within the guidelines can have a positive effect on your overall health and wellbeing-
- It can help watch your weight – alcohol is heavy on calories with an average 13% bottle of wine being 682 calories!
- Help you sleep soundly – alcohol interferes with the normal sleep process
- Reduce stress – some people drink to relax but excess alcohol can make you feel more stressed as it is a depressant.
- Avoid hangovers!! (Interesting point: a hangover is actually blood poisoning because your liver hasn’t been able to detoxify the alcohol that’s been thrust upon it).
- Stay healthy for longer – cutting down is good for your long-term health – reducing the risk of alcohol related cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
So… who wants to join me for a Virgin Frozen Margarita? Chin-chin!
Cheryl Hepples, Bsc (Hons), MCSP and Marie Dawson, Pg Dip NT, BANT, CNHC
PS: We won’t even discuss what we consumed at our Receptionist’s leaving do! <wink>
Gift vouchers are now available to buy your loved one the Gift of Health for Christmas 2018!!!
Give us a call on 01642 680 680 or email us for more details!