Most of us have now been in quarantine for a few weeks and are starting to lose a bearing on time. Some of us have seized the opportunity and are doing various detoxes. Whilst some of us are drinking regularly to take the edge of the crisis and because frankly, we don’t have much else to do.

In fact, drinking has become such a popular past time that #quarantini has become a trending hashtag. Wine and alcohol companies such as winc have seen up to a 600% increase in new member sign-ups and deliveries. 

 We at Quarksnews wanted to know more and better advise ourselves and our readers about healthy drinking habits

What are the benefits of drinking?

Aside from taking the edge of a little, alcohol does have noted beneficial outcomes when it’s consumed. Some studies indicate that alcohol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cognitive disorders that are affiliated with age. Alcohol can also reduce the risk of diabetes. Nevertheless, a lot of alcoholic beverages contain large quantities of sugar and therefore the risk of diabetes could increase, depending on what is drunk. And although alcohol is classed as a depressant light and moderate use can lead to lower rates of depression.

Furthermore, certain alcoholic beverages can have their own beneficial effects. Such as:

 

 Guinness

  • High in antioxidants.
  • High in Iron.
  • High in phytoestrogen which improves bone strength. 
  • Due to its health benefits, it is often added to Irish dishes where the alcohol is boiled off and the healthy parts remain.

Red wine

  • Contains antioxidants. (Although red wine can in no way substitute for antioxidants you would otherwise consume).
  • Can reduce cancer.
  • Reduces insulin resistance.

Alcohol Dehydrogenase

There is one effect of regular drinking which many can see as a benefit or a consequence. This effect is the build-up of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme is responsible for the process that breaks down ethanol into non-toxic products. This process works by converting ethanol into acetaldehyde, then to acetic acid and finally, it converts the acetic acid into carbon dioxide and water. This is the process which allows you to regain sobriety or to not get drunk. The more you consume alcohol the more alcohol dehydrogenase will be produced and the harder it will be for you to get drunk. If you drink less the opposite will happen.

An image of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase

This is a benefit and a consequence depending if you want to have a higher tolerance and be able to drink more or have a lower tolerance and be able to get drunk cheaper. However, it is important to note that alcohol dehydrogenase is not the only factor that affects your tolerance and many other factors such as body mass and gender have a significant part to play as well.

 What are the dangers of drinking?

Needless to say, there are countless risks to drinking. The buzzed feel and loss of inhibition, which is chased by alcohol consumers, is dangerous by itself. These effects can cause serious damage due to falls, motor vehicle accidents and the increased number of fights. Drunkenness can even cause suicide as suicidal thoughts can be acted out without the brain stopping them. As alcohol is a drug withdrawal from it can cause withdrawal symptoms along with depression. However, these dangers mainly come along with heavy and binge drinking which is not the purpose of the article.

“When consumed in excess, alcohol can cause damage to immune cells in the lungs, upper respiratory system, and the gut. This, in turn, poses a higher risk for the chance of developing diseases like pneumonia or tuberculosis, making you more susceptible to COVID-19,”

Dr Niket Sonpal; Internist and Gastroenterologist.

Moderate drinking can play a role in the following issues:

  • Certain types of cancer.
  • Strokes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart muscle damage.
  • Liver disease.
  • Brain damage to unborn children.
  • A disrupted sleep pattern.

Aside from these long term issues there clearly remains the issue of the high-calorie intake whilst drinking. Alcohol is often mixed with a sweet drink to offset the bitter dry taste. This means that although it may be easier to consume three rum and cokes than three cokes. You will still be having all the sugar, caffeine and additives from whatever the alcohol was mixed with.

What should we be doing?

As any health professional will tell you if you are going to drink, drink in moderation. To drink moderately, according to the CDC, is to drink up to one unit a day for women and two units a day for men.

 It is important to note that a unit is roughly equal to a 33cl beer so drinking a pint is more than the maximum daily intake CDC recommends for a woman. 

If you do want to drink in moderation, then:

  • Try and not to drink every day to avoid dependency. Up to three times a week is fine.
  • Try to drink healthier drinks. Stick to red wine or Guinness and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Be prepared for a potential change in your tolerance.
  • And although this is less of a concern during quarantine. Avoid being at risk to yourself or others and do not operate heavy machinery.

We hope you found this article interesting. If you have any further questions or remarks please leave a comment. If you want to write your own article and publish it here; you can become a writer by filling out the form in the about us page!

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