Alcohol and How it Affects the Body

I know most of you don’t want to read this or even hear it and I can tell you that every time I tell a client, “We need to cut back on the alcohol” I constantly get the “I know, I know” response. If you aren’t sure what I am referring to, read my last blog post!

Alcohol. We all know it’s part of the reason why we gain weight or the reason our mid-section isn’t getting any better. I know you keep seeing articles saying that studies have found red wine is good for you, or tequila has health benefits or drink a beer a day and it will add at least 5 years, but I am going to be completely honest with you, it’s a load of shit. There is a reason it’s called “alcohol poisoning” because it is literally poison to the body. Now I am not trying to say don’t drink alcohol at all anymore because even I enjoy a nice glass of wine every now again or margaritas with the girls! Let’s be clear here, it is what the wine is made with that has the benefits or what the tequila is derived from that has the health benefits NOT the alcohol. If you were to take the hops out of the beer, grapes out of wine, agave out of tequila, potatoes, corn or wheat out of vodka, you would nutrient dense foods that have a TON of health benefits.

Hops- anti- inflammatory, relaxer, antioxidants

Grapes- high in vitamin A, K, C, B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, and contain minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. Helps with migraines and indigestion.

Agave- healthier option to sugar, natural sweetener

Potatoes- high in vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, zinc, lower blood pressure

Corn- high in vitamins A, B, E, high in fiber, Phosphorus, along with magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and copper, beta-carotene which is good for your eyes and skin

Wheat- mineral salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, arsenic, manganese, zinc, iodide, copper, vitamin B, E

As you can see, all these ingredients are very beneficial to the body but when you add in something that can literally alter the way you are thinking and affects your brain, it is no longer good for you.

For the people who drink more than 1-2 glasses a night, here is something that is literally straight from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that hopefully will make you rethink your next bottle of wine you down.

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior as well as make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:

  • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
  • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:

  • Steatosis, or fatty liver
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Throat
  • Liver
  • Breast

Immune System:
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease.  Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.”

Let’s talk about moderation. Moderation is not having a drink every night, moderation is having a drink only a few nights a week. “Just wait until you have kids.” HA! I get this one a lot. Do you know how many fit moms don’t drink? Almost all of them will tell you, “I don’t drink during the week and only have a few on the weekends.” Practicing other methods of de-stressing like yoga, hot chamomile tea or essential oils will help you stay away from that desired feeling that alcohol gives you.

The moms who rely on alcohol are the ones who will tell you they need to stop but never do. Now, when I say rely, I mean they have more than 2 glasses of wine a night and have been doing that for years now. I know this type of mom all too well- they make up the majority of my clients. The ones who will start to notice little results but will always complain about doing more core work because their mid-section isn’t going down. I am not saying alcohol is the sole reason, but it does play a huge role.

Another common thing that I hear, “Load up on carbs to soak up that alcohol!” Unfortunately, that is not how that works. Alcohol isn’t “soaked up”, it is metabolized. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram compared to carbs and protein which is 4 calories per gram and fat which is 9 calories per gram. Carbs are used to getting metabolized first so when you eat all those carbs, they get pushed to the side, so the alcohol can metabolize first. This is how you get the feeling of being full when you eat a lot before drinking. However, it’s not good to drink on an empty stomach either. That’s why eating protein and HEALTHY fats are key when drinking alcohol. Oh, and water of course!! For every drink of alcohol you have, drink a glass of water! Alcohol already dehydrates you so making sure you are drinking plenty of water while you are drinking will not only keep you from getting a gnarly hangover the next day, it also flushes the alcohol out of your system faster.

So, load up on those veggies and protein before you go drinking and make sure you are going 1 for 1 with alcohol to water. And try not to drink every day!

P.S. My husband has found an antioxidant drink called “Bai” that we drink before we go out with friends and it does wonders for us and could maybe help you!!

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