Most of us don’t spend long thinking about the effects of alcohol on our bodies. Alcohol has probably become a pleasant part of your daily or weekly routine – like many people you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal or a drink with friends.
One of the changes we all notice as we get older – if we drink at all – is that we can’t drink as much or as frequently as we did in our youth. If you don’t want to age prematurely – you need to find out just how alcohol affects your body. So next time you fill your glass – here’s seven things you really ought to think about:
1. Alcohol causes liver damage
Most of us already know that this is one of the worst aspects of excessive drinking and can ultimately in extreme cases cause liver failure and death. Bear in mind that to your liver alcohol is a poison – the more you take in the harder it works to eliminate it.
2. Drinking alcohol makes you more likely to develop osteoporosis
This is one effect of alcohol not many people are aware of and it matters quite a lot – especially to women. Osteoporosis affects many women later in life and is an aging and debilitating condition causing weakness and brittleness in the structure of the skeleton. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to absorb calcium so the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of brittle bones.
3. Alcohol ages your skin
Not to be taken lightly this one. Even if you aren’t put off by health problems you probably don’t want damaged or prematurely wrinkled skin. Alcohol dilates the small blood vessels under the skin resulting in a flushed red-faced look and broken veins. And what’s more, because alcohol is dehydrating, your skin will also be more prone to premature wrinkling.
4. Alcohol is fattening.
The problem is that drink you love is just calories – completely empty of any nutritional value whatsoever. To get rid of the extra calories from one drink you need to walk a mile consider that over your next glass of wine. Even worse because alcohol has no nutritional value in itself drinking is likely to stimulate your appetite meaning you eat more than you need.
5. Alcohol affects your brain
In the short term that means all the symptoms of intoxication how bad it gets depends on how much you drink and other factors like your size, how tired you are, when you drink and whether you eat as well. In the long term alcohol destroys brain cells contributing to memory problems and dementia.
6. Alcohol affects women more than men
The less you weigh the more likely you are to become drunk because heavier people have more blood and water in the body to dilute the alcohol. Also as alcohol is stored in fat and women tend to have more fat than men – it takes us much longer to eliminate the alcohol from our bodies.
7. The effects of alcohol worsen with age
From the age of 40 onwards we tend to store more fat so the time the body takes to process and eliminate alcohol increases. So if you feel that you can’t drink as much as you used to without feeling the effects you’re right.
If that all sounds like bad news on the alcohol front – consider the experience of the French. French people eat a diet that contains one of the highest levels of fat in the world and despite this they have a 42% less heart disease than Americans.
They owe their increased resistance to heart disease largely due to wine consumption – although it is probably true that the healthier French diet has something to do with it.
Scientists have linked the protective effects of wine to an organic compound known as ‘resveratrol’ that’s found in red wine. Californian red is among the wines with the highest concentration of resveratrol in the world.
So consumption of a very moderate amount of the right kind of alcohol – plus a healthy diet – is the way to go. Drink wisely and the effects of alcohol on the body can be positive. Drink unwisely and not only will your health suffer but you’ll see the results in the mirror and on the scales!