Less alcohol is the trend. A growing number of people are becoming aware of the damaging effects of alcohol, non-alcoholic drinks have become more popular in recent years and each January you’ll hear people talking about ‘Dry January’: not drinking alcohol for a month. According to Jeroen Jansen, professor of ENT, alcohol should be the new smoking. The consumption of it is a major cause for cancer and a social issue. Friday drinks aren’t complete without alcohol and what is dinner without a nice glass of wine? It’s rooted into our culture, and not participating is seen as ‘not being fun’. However, it would be better if we drank less or stopped drinking alltogether.
Alcohol increases the risk of diseases
Alcohol is part of our society; you easily can buy it at every supermarket, restaurant and night shop around the corner. We sometimes seem to have forgotten that it also carries risks. To understand why drinking less is good for you, it is therefore good to consider the risks:
- Alcohol is one of the top three cancer-causing foods. This is because acetaldehyde is released during the breakdown of alcohol and this substance causes a toxic reaction in the body. Research has shown that acetaldehyde plays a major role in the development of cancer. It also appears that the more alcohol, the higher the risk of cancer. The nutrition center advises drinking a maximum of 1 glass per day to reduce the risk of diseases. However, 1 glass a day can already increase the risk of breast cancer (for young women the risk is even higher), so drinking no alcohol at all is always better
- The risk of having a stroke increases starting from 1,5 glasses of alcohol a day.
- The risk of liver disease increases when you drink too much alcohol for a longer period of time.
- Drinking for a long time increases the risk of diabetes.
- Alcohol can affect the brain and nervous system. Possible consequences are depressive complaints, anxiety and sleeping problems.
Now that we know what the risks are, what are the benefits of drinking less? Being aware of these benefits can help you get motivated to cut back on or quit alcohol alltogether, so here are some:
- You’re healthier. This can manifest itself in having a better condition, more energy and a better memory.
- Alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep (think of the nightcap), but the sleep is restless and less deep. Less alcohol can improve sleep quality. As a result, you feel fresher when you get up (without a terrible hangover).
- It will lower your calorie intake. A glass of an alcoholic drink often contains between 80-100 calories.
- Better skin. Alcohol causes dehydration and that is not good for your skin. Drinking less will keep your skin hydrated and fresh.
So it is clear that there are plenty of reasons to drink less or no alcohol, but it can be a big step to stop drinking cold turkey! Below are some tips you can try:
- Experiment with non-alcoholic drinks, maybe try some mocktails!
- Going for a night out? Alternate alcohol with water and other drinks.
- Do not bring alcohol into your home, it will help to remove the temptation of drinking.
Finally, alcohol can seem to be the standard, but do know that this is changing! If you would like to cut back on alcohol, it is good to become aware of the effects. You may be able change your habits, and refuse a glass every now and then. If you find yourself dependent on alcohol, you can always call in professional help for this. Go to your doctor or click here for more information about help via Niceday.