We have no intention on being the fun police and suggesting you give up alcohol entirely. There is nothing better than relaxing with your girls on a Friday evening with a glass of red. But the ugly truth is this... Alcohol is a huge contributor to chronic diseases and other serious health issues. For this reason it is important to be informed and make decisions which consider your health and wellbeing on those nights you choose to let your hair down.
Just like other things, alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation with low levels of risk. But unfortunately, in Australia, binge drinking is becoming a big issue which is only the start line to many problems to follow. One in five Australians drink at a level that is classified as risky, making a large portion of our population susceptible to health issues, violent behaviour, injuries or accidents.
It is inevitable that people will continue to drink alcohol regardless of the amount of education that is provided on how detrimental it can be. It is for this reason we would like to provide insight on ways you can safely consume alcohol.
Alcohol is a legal drug which is absorbed into the users’ blood stream through the walls of the stomach and the small intestine, which then makes its way to the brain. Alcohol contains ethanol which has the power to slow down your central nervous system and inhibit the functions of the brain.
Many people consume alcohol as a way of relaxing or being social. This is not an issue until the levels of consumption become too high for ones own good. This varies for each individual depending on their weight, sex, tolerance and metabolism. It is important to recognise what is a standard drink and the signs of reaching an appropriate threshold to ensure alcohol consumption remains safe.
What is a standard drink?
A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol, regardless of whether it is in the form of beer, wine or spirit. The main reason people keep a tally on the number of drinks they have consumed, is to ensure that the low risk levels set out in the Australian Alcohol Guidelines are not surpassed. The low risk levels outline the quantity of drinks that can be consumed before the threat to a person's health and social well-being increased to the high-risk category. The higher risks which come with increased alcohol consumption are as follows:
1. Disrupted brain function: reduced concentration and coordination and mood changes
2. Heart damage: gives rise to stretching of the heart muscles, an irregular heartbeat, stroke and high blood pressure
3. Cancer: High levels of alcohol consumption may lead to an increased risk of developing cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus and liver
4. Obesity: Alcohol adds kilojoules to the normal diet, slows down ones metabolism and increases peoples’ appetite when drinking. Often it causes cravings for foods high in fat or sugar which a person may not normally choose.
5. Mental health: alcohol consumption increases feelings of anxiety and depression.
6. Expensive habit: As people drink, they build up a tolerance, causing them to require more alcohol to feel its effects. This causes people to spend more money on this unhealthy habit.
7. Heightened emotions: alcohol causes people’s emotions to change which can lead to violence and aggression.
8. Social consequences: Many crimes are the consequences of alcohol. This includes vandalism, road safety, petty crime and violence.
Drinking Done Right
1. Know the amounts and drink in the low risk range – keep track of how much you have had
2. Ensure you have eaten throughout the day to allow the alcohol to be absorbed more slowly
3. Pace yourself- sip slowly and try to stick to one drink per hour
4. Consume water regularly between drinks
5. Find an alternative- Rather than spending your money and time drinking, spend it on something productive and healthy
6. If you do choose to drink, make sure you avoid pre-mixed drinks, high sugar drinks and don't mix you alcohols. Opt for alcohols such as red wine or vodka lime and soda ensuring you keep within the low risk range.
money and time drinking, spend it on something productive and healthy