Drinking excessively has several adverse effects on health, it can contribute to:
High blood pressure, heart & liver disease, stroke and digestive issues
Several cancers: breast, mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver and colon
Learning and memory difficulties, including dementia.
Mental health problems: depression and anxiety.
Social troubles: lost productivity, family issues and unemployment.
Alcohol dependence and alcoholism.
Alcohol & the brain
Your brain’s ability to create long-term memories is affected by rapid rises in the blood alcohol level. You may still be able to walk and talk but lose the ability to make memories – black outs.
Alcohol & sleep
Consuming alcohol, even a single serving, makes it difficult for you to reach deep sleep (REM sleep). Without deep sleep, your mind and body are unable to prepare for the next day, resulting in poor performance and concentration.
Alcohol & mental health
Alcohol is a depressant, it can affect your brain’s natural level of happiness chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Whilst drinking you may feel an initial ‘boost’, but the next day there will be a deficiency in these chemicals, leading to feelings of anxiety, low mood or depression.
Alcohol & belly fat
When you consume alcohol, your liver is processing alcohol instead of fat. When your body is focused on breaking down alcohol, it does not adequately break down carbohydrates and fats. These calories are converted to body fat and carried away for storage. Although alcohol contains calories, it does not satisfy you in the same way that food does. Therefore, we don’t eat less to compensate for the additional calories we’ve consumed from drinking alcohol. In fact, alcohol may make you want to eat more as it suppresses the hormone leptin, which tells your brain to stop eating. Alcohol also suppresses testosterone, needed to break down fat.
Tips to reduce alcohol
Do more activities that does not involve alcohol
In social settings, try alternative alcohol-free beverages, like soda water & lime, low-sugar ginger beer
If you do find yourself hungover, replenish the lost nutrients with a green juice or smoothie. Kale, spinach, celery, apple, mint, cucumber, avocado, etc.