10 easy steps to safe drinking
With the holiday festivities in full gear, many people will most likely become victims or causalities of careless drinking.
No one can claim that drinking too much alcohol is good for your health – especially as you get older. For some people, careless drinking has put them in a situation where they have been advised by the doctors never to drink alcohol again- if they love their lives anyway.
But there is a good and a bad way to drink alcohol.
Take the better – or least worst – route to drinking alcohol and you can neutralise its worst effects for both yourself and other people.
So – kick start a healthy New Year by following these proven ten tips for safer alcohol consumption.
1. Choose your best time to drink
Every time you take a sip of wine your body reacts as if it’s being poisoned. Which, of course, it is. A group of enzymes (alcohol dehydrogenase) swing into action to get the alcohol toxin out of your system as quickly as possible.
If you’re reasonably healthy, your body can get as much as 98% of the alcohol out of your system at the rate of around 1 unit of alcohol an hour. Your body is in peak production mode for these alcohol-eliminating enzymes at 8.00 pm – so if you’re going to drink that’s the “healthiest” time to do it!.
2. Take care when drinking alcohol at lunch-time
Your body deals with alcohol much less efficiently during the day (those six enzymes again). Production of alcohol dehydrogenase drops during the day so middle of the day is absolutely the worst time to drink. Of course you can’t avoid lunch time drinking entirely during the holiday season – so just be aware that the effects will be much stronger
3. Make sure you aren’t “tired and emotional” BEFORE you start drinking
Tiredness and hormonal changes effect your body’s ability to produce those all important enzymes and one drink will hit your body like two.
4. Stay away from the ice bucket
The coldness of an ice filled drink opens a valve at the top of your stomach – the result you tend to gulp your drink down quickly rather than sip slowly. As the healthiest of us can only eliminate one unit an hour – your body won’t be able to cope.
5. Drink a lot of water
Make sure you have at least a glass between each drink and plenty before you go to bed. Many hangover symptoms – headache, nausea, furry mouth – are due to the effects of dehydration rather than the alcohol poisoning.
6. Eat something with your drink
We all know this one – but how many times do we ignore it? Drink with food is much better than drink on its own. Food slows the absorption of alcohol and delays its effects. So if you can’t eat a full meal as you drink then hit the snacks big time.
7. Line your stomach
Another golden oldie but true nonetheless. That old drinkers tip of lining your stomach with a glass of milk really does work. Make sure it’s full fat milk though or try full fat pro-biotic natural yoghurt. Just make sure you give it time to settle on your stomach before you hit it with your first cocktail.
8. Don’t try and keep up with the boys
Especially if you’re a woman. Women produce less alcohol dehydrogenase than men and so the alcohol effects us more quickly. We also have more fat and less water in our bodies and so alcohol is more concentrated in our systems. It may not be fair but being a woman could be a very good reason to keep your drinking under control.
9. Be honest about how much alcohol you drink
Dietary guidelines for most people published by the US government sets the boundaries at one half litre bottle of beer per day for women and two for men. Or it should really be a SMALL glass of wine or a single measure of spirits . European guidelines are a bit more generous but the absolute maximum weekly limit for women is set at 14 units of alcohol and 21 for men.
10. Never go on a binge
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in a very short period of time is the worst possible drinking habit you could have.
Binge drinking pumps toxins into your body at a rate your major organs – specifically the liver, brain and kidneys – just can’t handle. Spread your alcohol consumption out and keep it moderate – little and often is OK (but LITTLE is the important word here). Frequent binges are a recipe for alcoholism and liver damage. So take care when out and about over the holidays. Drink wisely and choose moderation over excess – that way you can have fun and not live to regret it in the morning.
Finally, be warned never to drive after drinking. It is not only a crime but also a big danger to your health and the lives of other innocent road users.
source: Monitor Online