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Health reasons why you should drink less alcohol

IT’S almost impossible to go to a social event that does not have alcohol. Whether the attendees intend to celebrate or mourn, there will be bottles on the table.

You may also find yourself regularly drinking with friends during your free time, making alcohol slowly entrench itself as part of your life, which can lead to addiction or alcohol dependence.

Over time, uncontrolled drinking can lead to physical and mental health issues.

Your liver deserves a break

Alcohol is broken down in the liver. If you take a small amount of alcohol, the liver can regenerate. However, liver regeneration may not be possible if you drink too much at once or too often.

Not many people appreciate the full extent of the effects of alcohol on the liver. The major alcohol-related liver diseases (ARLD) include:

● Acute alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)

● Liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)

● Fatty liver (Steatosis)

Although not usually listed as an ARDL, liver cancer has also been associated with alcohol intake.

If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, get checked for liver disease:

● Jaundice

● Abdominal pain and swelling

● Swelling in legs and ankles

● Discoloured or bloody stool

● Chronic fatigue

● Dark urine

● Nausea or vomiting

There is no cure for ARLD but you can only manage by quitting alcohol and embracing a healthy lifestyle.

You are hurting your heart

Recent studies suggest that people who drink moderately are less likely to suffer heart diseases compared to those who do not drink at all.

Experts have, however, poked holes into these studies, indicating that the studies were not controlled for many factors and were thus unreliable. For instance, it is possible that some of the non-drinkers already had health conditions, which is why they did not drink alcohol in the first place.

The counter studies also suggest that most of those who can drink a few glasses of wine regularly were well-off and could afford a healthy lifestyle and quality healthcare.

Heavy drinking or long-term moderate drinking has been linked to hypertension, heart failure, or stroke. Excessive drinking, especially beer, also leads to obesity, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure and other heart illnesses.

The weight changes are not healthy

Some studies show that alcohol leads to weight gain, others show it results in weight loss, while others show no correlation.

In all the studies, however, it is consistently clear that what you drink, the frequency, and how much you drink determine the effect of alcohol on your weight. Diet, genetics, physical activity, and age are also significant factors.

Beer is usually associated with weight gain, especially in the lower abdomen. The weight gain may be caused by the high number of calories in beer. It has also been theorised that beer lowers metabolic rate.

Inversely, excessive weight loss may occur when the person takes lots of alcohol and does not eat nutritious food.

Weight fluctuations associated with alcohol are not healthy because they alter your body balance and weaken your body, especially the immune system, predisposing you to severe illnesses.

For better mental health

Alcohol hinders the part of your brain associated with self-control through inhibitors, which allows you to relax and have fun.

Unfortunately, the feel-good mood lasts a short while as the hangover takes over the next day. If the cycle is repeated frequently, it disrupts your brain’s chemical balance, leading to dependency or addiction.

In turn, dependency and addiction damage your personal life, goals, and relationships, leading to other mental conditions, including anxiety and depression.

By moderating how often and how much alcohol you take, you can avoid addiction and other mental illnesses.

If you already have a mental health condition, it is advisable to avoid alcohol until the issue has been addressed.

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