Four Reasons to Cut Down on Alcohol
The short-term side effects of drinking too much alcohol include weight problems, headaches, upset stomach, anxiety, stress, depression, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping and raised blood pressure. But there are lots of more serious long-term health consequences, too. These include accidents and injuries, liver and heart disease, cancers of the mouth and throat, strokes, memory loss and dementia.
If you're drinking inside the limits, keep up the good work. If not, it's time to cut down and enjoy the health benefits that will come when you do.
- Your health: Lowering alcohol intake is the most important way of reducing your risk of cancer, after giving up smoking and eating a healthy diet. Cutting back also boosts energy, so you'll feel more inclined to exercise, which is proven to improve your all-round health.
- Your looks: Alcohol dehydrates the skin, making it show signs of aging sooner. You might also bruise more easily, as alcohol depletes the body's levels of vitamin C and dilates capillaries, leading to tiny thread veins appearing on the skin.
- Your weight: Drinking affects your liver metabolism, which causes blood-sugar levels to drop, and levels of insulin to rise, both of which stimulate appetite. Alcohol may also decrease the production of the hormone leptin, which gives us that full-up feeling, so we eat more.
- Your happiness: Alcohol works as a depressant, and contributes to mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression and memory loss. Being more in control of your drinking habits can lift your mood and give your self-esteem a huge boost.