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Friends and family have reunited once again, and the drinks are flowing. Stories are told, bottles are popped, and all is merry and bright. Or is it? It turns out, the assumptions about what moderation means and how alcohol affects us vary widely.
So, let’s reset on a couple of core assumptions to make sure we’re promoting our healthiest selves this holiday season.
Is a glass of wine every night really good for your heart? We’ve probably all heard this statement in one form or another. But according to research by John Hopkins, the evidence isn’t that overwhelming. For instance, wine drinkers typically tend to be more affluent and wealthier, affording healthier food, better living conditions, and more advanced healthcare. That variable alone provides some helpful context. However, antioxidants that support heart health are indeed found in red wine. But they’re also found in non-alcoholic choices like fruits, veggies, and grape juice—just something to keep in mind.
Moderation is another essential factor to consider when it comes to drinking. Moderate drinking is defined as an average of one drink per day for women and one or two drinks for men. But even those amounts might be less than you think. A “drink” is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits. So, keep that in mind before ordering the boot-sized pint of beer.
Most importantly, heavy drinking is harmful to you. There’s no other way to slice this one. It’s linked to heart failure, high blood pressure, strokes, and a long list of different poor health outcomes. In addition to the risks, drinking too much is a source of excess calories, leading to obesity. Add weight gain into the mix, which creates a whole other slew of health complications on top of the risks of alcohol. The takeaway here is clear, stick to moderate drinking, if any, for better health outcomes.
So, how will this information affect the way you approach the holidays? Well, that is up to you. But hopefully, by knowing more about how alcohol can affect our health, we can make more responsible decisions. And if that’s difficult to do, know there are lots of resources to help you. Contact an SCL Health provider if you’re looking for help involving any alcohol-related concerns. We are here for you. Let’s keep this holiday season merry, bright, and healthy.