Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
As a student I definitely went through a phase of hanging out. eating crappy food, drinking quite a bit of alcohol and smoking cigarettes more than is ever smart. This changed when I made the decision to put myself up for 21 SAS training. Simply put, maintaining that unhealthy student lifestyle was not going to be possible if I wanted to join the elite. That decision, and the health changes I went through subsequently, changed my entire outlook on alcohol, cigarettes and the effect they have on our health, fitness, longevity and happiness. Alcohol helps us lose our inhibitions and, if I am honest, as ayoung man I did sometimes feel a bit of an outsider.
I didn’t want to be like everyone else, but I didn’t know What that really meant. When I went out socially, I would use alcohol to give me the courage to walk my own path. But over time, and through developing solid foundations in my life through my Christian faith, I have found a quiet confidence in individuality and I no longer have to rely on alcohol. Alcohol is highly addictive. Excess consumption can kill brain cells, cause severe dehydration, contribute to acid reflux, stomach ulcers, sleep disturbances, inilammation, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.
It also steals essential vitamins and minerals from our body. But one of the biggest problems with alcohol is the eifect it has on our liver. And our liver never complains. If we’ve had a few too many, we may feel it in our head, our stomach or even our legs, but our liver doesn’t physically hurt when we’ve drunk too much, even though it is the organ most affected. This is a pertinent point to note; I’m sure that if we were to experience severe liver pain each time we over-indulged, we’d be far less likely to do it.
What’s more, alcohol is full of sugar, or is converted into sugar very quickly by our bodies. I know people who claim not to have a sweet tooth, yet they drink alcohol almost every night of the week. It’s their hidden sugar fix.
The blood~sugar imbalances that alcohol causes, paired with loosened inhibitions, have another side effect: breaking our determination not to eat unhealthy things. When was the last time you tucked into a salad after a night in the pub? You’re much more likely to eat fatty, deep-fried, salty foods after you’ve been drinking alcohol. Or to raid the fridge late at night (I’m guilty of this tool).
There is some research that claims two glasses of alcohol a day may lower the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, but I wouldn’t ever bank your health on this. What I do know is that if you are overweight, smoke and rarely exercise, two glasses of red wine a day probably won’t save you from an impending heart attack.
You don’t have to be teetotal. I’m not. But as with everything else, you just have to use your common sense. Buy good-quality alcohol, like organic red wine or a local organic beer or cider. Cherish it and save it for cheat days or special occasions only.
If you drink alcohol daily, Give your liver abreak, then don’t pick up where you left off. Form new and better habits. It won’t be easy at first, but worthwhile journeys often have a little short-term pain at the start. Making alcohol or strong coffee a treat rather than a daily -and little-appreciated habit will make a huge difference to your overall health.