Alcohol and alcohol culture are huge facets of the average American life. Wine, beer, and liquors are served at everything from bars to social gatherings, and many people have no reservation about having a drink or two with dinner. While alcohol can be a fun, delicious, and even healthy way to let loose, indulge, or enjoy a meal, drinking alcohol in moderation is the key to maintaining good health.
What Defines Moderation?
The term “moderation” can be a bit tricky to define and differs from person to person depending upon weight, height, gender, and even body fat ratio. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services sets the guidelines for drinking in moderation to be one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men. One drink is equivalent to twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one shot (one point five ounces) of liquor.
Too Much Alcohol
The physical effects of drinking too much alcohol can wreak havoc on a person’s body. If a person drinks too much alcohol, they may experience both short-term and long-term adverse effects.
Short-term effects: The most immediate effect of drinking too much alcohol is drunkenness, and the loss or retardation of many key bodily functions. Because alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, drunkenness can result in both a loss of physical functions—hence the common drunken stumbling that often accompanies too much drinking—as well as mental functions, like forming words or recalling information. Drunkenness can result in a person falling, causing physical harm to themself, or making a poor decision that later has negative health consequences.
In addition to drunkenness, another short-term effect of drinking too much alcohol in one sitting is alcohol poisoning. Usually characterized by vomiting or diarrhea, alcohol poisoning can be deadly when severe.
Long-term effects: In addition to all of the unpleasant short-term effects that drinking too much alcohol can bring to the table, consistently drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can have ill effects on the body too. Stroke, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, inflammation of the pancreas, and cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, liver, and breast are all associated with consistent binge drinking. Drinking too much alcohol can also negatively effect a person’s immune system, making them much more susceptible to disease than they would be otherwise.
Drinking in Moderation
While drinking too much alcohol can have many disadvantageous results, drinking alcohol in moderation usually does not lead to any physical or mental harm, and many studies even suggest that drinking in moderation is good for one’s health. The tannins and resveratrol found in the grapes that are used to make red wine, for example, are said to have anti-aging properties, boost omega 3 levels, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of diabetes and high cholesterol, and be good for general heart health.
A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that what type of alcohol you’re drinking—either beer or wine—doesn’t really matter as how you consume it does. For example, binge drinking on the weekend but not partaking of alcohol throughout the week doesn’t mean moderation, even if you only had seven drinks total for the week. Rather, having a drink or two per night consistently and without binge drinking is associated with some health benefits.
This article was written by Sheldon Armstrong, a regular contributor of INFOtainment News. He writes this on behalf of the Bay Area Recovery Center, your number one choice when looking for alcohol treatment in Houston. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!