Last week we were told that there is simply ‘no safe level of alcohol consumption’ and that drinking any alcohol can increase the risk of cancer. I know… not what any of us wanted to hear!! But the fact is, many of us enjoy alcohol and we’re unlikely to completely give up drinking it in spite of this new information.
Britain is a nation of drinkers. In a 2014 survery, 58% of adults over 16 said they drank alcohol at least once in the week before being interviewed. I’ll put my hands up and admit that I love wine. I don’t drink nearly as much as I have done in the past (!!) but I still enjoy drinking wine most weeks. So what can we do to make sure that our drinking does the least harm to our health possible?
Here are six ways that you can minimise the negative impacts alcohol has on your health:
STICK TO THE RECOMMENDED WEEKLY INTAKE
Do you know the recommended maximum limit for alcohol intake? In January, the government lowered the recommended intake for men to the same as that for women. 14 units per week. What does that mean in real terms? Well it’s the equivalent to six pints of beer or cider, six small (175ml) glasses of wine or six double shots of spirit. We should all be aiming to consume no more than six drinks containing an average % alcohol over the course of a week.
DON’T ‘SAVE UP’ YOUR DRINKS
I don’t need to tell you that binge drinking is not a good idea! Saving up your units to use them all in one go will do your health no favours at all. Spread them out over the course of the week.
HAVE AT LEAST TWO ALCOHOL FREE DAYS PER WEEK
Whilst it’s not good to drink alcohol all in one go, it’s also good to give yourself alcohol free days too. Aim to have at least two days per week when you give your body a rest and don’t drink at all.
CHOOSE HEALTHIER DRINKS
Go for better quality, more naturally produced wines and spirits. Choose dry wines which have a relatively low sugar content. Avoid regularly drinking beer, cocktails and alcopops.
DRINK WITH FOOD
Drinking on an empty stomach has a more significant negative impact on your blood sugar level. Have a few mouthfuls of food before taking your first sip and don’t forget to drink water to avoid dehydration.
DRINK FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
It’s easy to fall into the habit of drinking ‘after a hard day’ or ‘because it’s Friday’ or because you always do in a certain situation. Be mindful of what triggers an urge to drink. It’s worth taking a step back and asking if yourself if you’re drinking for the right reasons.