Every day we hear how alcohol is bad for us.  Families break up, relationships end, abusiveness, violence or maybe even indifference, but still we keep drinking.  www.factsaboutalcohol.ie states every night 1,500 beds are occupied by people for alcohol related reasons and in 2013, 75% of alcohol was consumed as part of a binge session.  Treating alcohol related injuries and diseases cost Irish healthcare around €1.2 billion and it is estimated that €527 million is lost in alcohol related absenteeism.

Alcohol has some benefits!

But I know my audience and before you all stop reading there are some benefits to alcohol.  The Harvard School of Public Health www.hsph.harvard.edu outlines a number of studies which show that one glass of alcohol a day can help increase high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol); it can improve sensitivity to insulin and can also help with blood clotting.

The key is ONE glass per day; not all your weekly units in one night. 

More than one drink can quadruple your risk of breast cancer

But just when you are feeling good about your occasional glass of red wine, a new Study[i] has been released which shows with every glass of alcohol (10 grams) over that one drink per day you quadruple your risk of breast cancer.  The Study involved five Spanish universities and monitored 334,850 female volunteers over eleven years.

Number of years drinking also matters

Risk was also related to the number of years the person has been drinking and it was especially pronounced if she began drinking before her first pregnancy.  With so much teenage drinking by girls you wonder what the prognosis will be in a ten year’s time.

The link between alcohol and cancer is very clear and a number of studies have now shown a link between breast cancer and alcohol.

So what can you do? 

Unless you have had cancer you don’t need to give up alcohol entirely.  Drinking one glass a day, can actually deliver health benefits.  However, you do need to avoid binges.  The European Code against Cancer[ii] has also found that healthy eating and physical activity can help.  Those who live healthily, exercise regularly and have a normal body weight, can reduce their risk by 18%.

If you would like to reduce your alcohol intake, talk to us at Fresh Perceptions Health, Dublin.  We will work with you to develop a health programme – including a herbal formulation which will help reduce cravings.  As always everything we do is based on diet, herbal solutions and common sense.

[i] Romieu et al, Alcohol intake and breast cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. International Journal of Cancer, 2015; 137 (8): 1921 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.29469

[ii] European Code Against Cancer – http://cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr/index.php/en/

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