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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jesse Ropat

Why To Limit Alcohol Consumption Around The Holidays

What kind of a Bah Humbug idea is that? Where is the fun in limiting alcohol around the holidays? Especially with the kind of year we have had.

Aside from the general advice, often given, that moderation of alcohol consumption is a good idea year-round, why would it be especially good advice around the holidays? Let’s look at some possible reasons:

  1. Alcohol can lead to clouded judgment and perhaps, cause us to say things we wish we could take back. During the holidays we often see family and in-laws we only see occasionally during the rest of the year. Discussions can center around politics, favorite sports teams, even finances and parenting. It’s usually a time to be on our best behavior and have clear decision-making capabilities. We probably don’t need too many details on this one.

  2. The end of the year is often a time to develop goals and resolutions for the coming year. Being at the top of our game and focused on the future is the best way into the New Year. Nursing ourselves through the unpleasant headaches and body pains of excess alcohol is not putting our best foot forward.

  3. The health aspects of excess alcohol consumption are well-documented and not pretty. Even drinking excessively on only a few occasions can have very negative effects on our health potentials. Certain cancers are much more prevalent when alcohol is consumed to excess. Hormones, men’s and women’s hormones, are thrown out of balance with alcohol consumption. Alcohol interferes with the production of testosterone and can impair sexual and reproductive functions in men. For women, alcohol interferes with production of estrogen and many of the glands that maintain hormonal balance.

  4. Acute alcohol consumption negatively effects normal metabolic health aspects for both men and women. These metabolic processes can include irregular bone development due to inadequate levels of calcium, vitamin D deficiencies leading to weakened immune response, electrolyte imbalances which can lead to heart irregularities and precipitate heart attacks.

  5. Drinking alcohol can greatly interfere with insulin production and throw blood sugar levels out of balance. Irregular blood sugar levels can lead to fainting, periods of unconsciousness, even brain damage in some cases.

That’s the bad news, how about some good news. There has been much researched and written about the possible positive aspects of occasional, moderate alcohol consumption. The take home message is limit alcohol consumption to one, possibly two, drinks per occasion. In moderation, most of the negative aspects of alcohol can be avoided.

When the occasion comes up where alcohol is normally consumed, a great alternative is to opt for refreshments that don’t contain alcohol. Being social while drinking a sparkling water with a lime or lemon wedge is an enjoyable way to go. Asking for a cranberry juice cocktail mixed with soda water is refreshing and will take nothing away from the festive occasion.

Limiting alcohol consumption during the holidays is a great way to get the most out of family gatherings and head into the New Year with positive momentum. Be Blessed.

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