Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alcohol and health

On today's health and beauty buzz, I am discussing the effects of alcohol on our health. With the start of the New Year looming up before us, many of us will be over indulging during this festive season.

Excessive consumption of alcohol has extensive effects on the brain. Studies in animals have shown that high doses of alcohol interrupt the growth of brain cells. The exact science as to how alcohol damages the brain is uncertain.

Heavy drinking over a period of time can lead to liver damage. The liver is the largest and second most important organ in our body.  One of it's important functions is to filter the blood. Damage to the liver can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, jaundice and cirrhosis of the liver.

Drinking alcohol accelerates the aging process. Alcohol depletes the body of vital nutrients such as many of the B vitamins, vitamin E, A,C,Calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids.  The effects of alcohol are more severe on women than on men. We process alcohol differently from men primarily due to the fact that our tissues contain less body water percentage than men so alcohol remains in the blood longer. Alcohol is water soluble and women in general have a higher fat content and also less muscle than men resulting in a higher absorption of alcohol. The less you weigh, the more you will be affected.

Our skins are thinner than men's so therefore the effects of alcohol shows up earlier on our faces. The absorption of Calcium is inhibited by alcohol thus putting us at risk for brittle bones and osteoporosis. Drinking alcohol is dehydrating and research shows that people who are heavy drinkers have unhealthier diets than those who don't. Don't forget about those extra calories contained in alcohol that can sneak up upon our middles. Alcohol causes facial capillaries to dilate causing red spider veins on the face and giving the nose that typical "drinkers nose" appearance.

The consumption and ingestion of food can slow the absorption of alcohol. Not all alcoholic beverages are created equal.  It is not in the quantity but rather in the alcoholic content. Some drinks are more potent than others.The rule of thumb is that an average person metabolizes one standard drink per hour.

Studies have shown that genetic factors influence alcohol abuse. If a close family member such as a parent suffers from alcoholism, their children are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism. Statistics show that 23% of adolescent deaths are alcohol related. Binge drinking i.e.consuming 4 or more drinks in women and 5 or more in men over a short period of time can result in alcohol poisoning and death.

Remedies that could possibly help ease drinkers remorse are:

1. Get some zzzzzzzzzzzz's.
2. Drink plenty of water and fruit juice.
3. Avoid caffeine as it is dehydrating and you will already be dehydrated.
4. Orange juice if you can manage it will raise blood sugar.
5.  Bananas are rich in potassium, thus replenishing loss of minerals.
6. Ginger tea with honey to aid with nausea
7. Finally the basic cure all "chicken broth."

Vitamin tip of the day:

Milk Thistle is thought to improve liver function even in cases of cirrhosis of the liver. 200 mg a day are recommended as a liver-protectant.

There are many apps available for your i phone such as "i drinkulator" and "i breathulizer" to use before you even think about getting behind the wheel.

Stay healthy, happy and safe. Happy New Year to you all.

*Do not take any medication including vitamins before first consulting with your doctor.

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