With the holiday festivities in full swing, alcohol is often flowing unabated at every turn. I wanted to share some of my concerns about the imbibing of alcohol, particularly as it pertains to women’s health.
This is a time of year when families come together to share memories, while spending time together, and enjoying festive traditions. Yet it’s easy to lose track of how much you are drinking – eggnog, mulled wine, a brandy for Father Christmas – the quantity of alcohol consumed can really add up.
So how can you make sure you don’t overindulge? How much is too much? This is an issue for both sexes, but particularly for women.
Women and men differ in many ways, and how they process alcohol is one of them. This is in part due to size differences, but also due to key functional differences. As a rule of thumb, women should consume no more than half the maximally allowed amount of alcohol permitted for men, and that is far less than most realize.
Women are more susceptible to liver damage from alcohol, a well recognized harm from alcohol consumption. Alcohol has a host of additional harms, including a negative impact on the brain, the gastrointestinal system, and the immune system. Additionally, drinking spirits increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
As you can see, drinking alcohol presents no net benefits but clearly increases harms. When it comes to consuming alcohol, less is best! Although some believe alcohol is essential to the enjoyment of a social event, you truly don’t need alcohol to have a marvelous time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for the non-alcoholic drinker over the holiday season. Try mixing up different juices to make a delicious punch, or add pieces of fresh fruit to sparkling water for a seasonal twist. If it’s cold outside, try sipping a mug filled with warm nut or organic soy milk with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices instead of a mulled wine, or indulge in my favorite – organic hot chocolate.
If you do decide to imbibe, the most any woman should drink is one alcoholic beverage per 24 hours, no more than five times a week. Keep this amount in mind at all times so you can plan your party-time drinking appropriately.
Remember that enjoying the company of family and friends is the goal of getting together at the holidays. so celebrate life while enjoying all the festivities – in good health!