Whether you adore a glass of fine wine or just enjoy relaxing with a beer, it’s a good idea to understand alcohol’s effects on your health before you make your drinking choices. This is not to say that you should never drink again. That is a personal choice. However, it is wise to inform yourself so that you can make the right decisions on your own behalf.
How Much Do We Drink?
Americans love to drink. Recent research shows that about 56 percent of American adults drink on a regular basis. Though it’s easy to shrug this off as a normal indulgence, it’s wise to get to know alcohol’s effects on your health – mental and physical – before you pour yourself another drink.
This is not a discussion of alcoholism or other alcohol abuse disorders. Instead, it has to do with making choices regarding the drinks you choose to have, the number you have at a time, and the frequency with which you do so.
Alcohol’s Effects on Your Health
There are many different ways that you can consider alcohol’s effects o your health. The physiological impact is a considerable one. It is also one of the most common substances people use for self-medicating when struggling with conditions such as depression or anxiety.
However, if you’re having a drink with alcohol in it on a regular basis – not including abuse issues – then there are certain impacts that are worth considering.
1 – Alcohol Raises the Risk of Certain Cancers
Drinking regularly means that you may be raising your risk of certain cancers. This is one of the ways alcohol effects your health that people know the least. The fact is that alcohol falls into the categories of Group 1 Carcinogen substances. Women who have over three drinks per week are at a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer. It has also been linked to an increased risk of esophageal, mouth, colon, and liver cancers, even when drinking is only moderate.
2 – Alcohol Makes it Easier to Gain Weight
Alcohol is packed with calories (7 calories per gram) but doesn’t satisfy hunger or your body’s need for hydration. Since drinks with alcohol are so calorie dense but don’t fill you up, it’s extremely easy to overconsume calories. This makes it much more challenging to achieve weight control. Remember to limit the number of drinks you have and be aware that both the alcohol of your choice and the mixer will contribute to your calorie total.
3 – It’s Easy to Misuse
Even without a disorder, misusing alcohol is a serious problem. The more regularly you drink, the more likely you are to misuse it. Since it’s readily available, many people look to a drink to help calm down after a stressful day, to manage feelings of anxiety or the blues, or to overcome other emotional issues. Many people also use it to help ease physical pain or to make it easier to fall asleep. Unfortunately, alcohol’s effects on your health are more likely to make all those issues worse instead of better. This can only cause unwanted sensations to worsen and for a person to continue turning to more drinking to cope.