Why Less is More When it Comes to Alcohol Consumption
Drinking alcohol is a popular past time for a reason, and it can even be healthy in moderation. Over doing it however, can put you at risk in a variety of ways. Here are some really good reasons to consider why drinking in moderation might be a better option than slamming ’em back on the regular.
A recent study done in Chicago gathered up some participants to test their immune system responses when they were binge drinking. The participants were instructed to drink four or five shots of vodka in the sitting and then had their blood tested to see what would happen.
At the twenty minute mark post shots their immune system was working in overdrive, but then when the researchers checked back at two and five hours after peak intoxication, the participants had less white blood cells at work than before they drank anything. That means more sick time and feeling tired even after you recover from that hangover.
The median age of this particular study was 27, and most people who binge drink are between the ages of 18 and 34. What is considered binge drinking varies slightly depending on gender and of course things like body weight, but for men it is generally considered five or more drinks within a sitting. Don’t be totally alarmed if that sounds like your average weekend night, one out of six Americans is considered a binge drinker. Something to keep in mind.
Experts are not exactly sure what it is about drinking alcohol in excess that can lead to cancer, but they have some ideas about it. When you drink in excess free radicals are released into the blood stream which can wreck havoc on the DNA and cells of the body, there might be toxic things going on with the chemicals that the body uses to break down alcohol, and it can boost estrogen levels in the body which can stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
Some estimates say that 4% of cancer deaths are related to alcohol consumption…which sounds pretty minimal but comes out to about 20,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year.
Drinking too much in general can raise the blood pressure in the short term, but it has a significant risk of raising it when three or more drinks are had in a sitting. Long term binge drinking can raise the blood pressure to consistently unhealthy levels. High blood pressure of course, can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Perhaps not the most pertinent issue on your mind, but it is something to consider about how you’re treating that bod of yours. One study found that men who drink six or more drinks in a sitting have literally double the risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack then those who drink less. Yikes.
Drinking in moderation however, is thought to be good for the heart, so striking a balance is key if alcohol is a part of your life. Moderate drinking is considered two or less drinks a day and can reduce the risk of getting heart disease…and reduce the risk of dying from any cause by 13%. A moderation cheers to that.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.