Spring Racing is about the hit the ground running in Melbourne, and as the weather warms up the parties will start to ramp up, and with all of this comes the flowing glasses of alcohol!
There are so many stories in the media about alcohol, and some suggest that alcohol is good for you and others suggest that alcohol is bad for you – how do you know who is telling the truth?
Well I am going to state the facts for you, and let you make up your mind.
Firstly, it is generally agreed that excess alcohol is bad for your health. That is, for both men and women, no more than two drinks per day and no more than four drinks on one occasion.
Why is over-consumption bad?
To explain this, you need to know that alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and intestines, enters the blood stream within minutes of consumption and is metabolised mainly by the liver. Alcohol absorption rates vary depending on drink type, individual sensitivity, genetics and weight. So it makes sense that consuming large amounts of alcohol stresses these parts of the body that process it, such as inflaming the stomach lining and intestines, depleting the body of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, cirrhosis of the liver and increasing risk of some common cancers.
Excess alcohol consumption can also lead to weight gain due to the high concentration of calories. This image highlights the calorie content of common alcoholic drinks.
Is there anything good about drinking alcohol?
Well, yes. Some research points to some positive health benefits from restrained alcohol consumption. The positive side effects appear to come from alcohol raising the levels of good cholesterol, that protects against heart disease, and by thinning the blood to enable easy flow around the body. Additionally, there is scientific evidence pointing to red wine containing grape antioxidants, with a particular benefit coming from polyphenols and resveratrol. Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds that protect the body’s cells from oxidation. Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound found in the skin and seeds of grapes. It is believed that resveratrol helps to increase good cholesterol, reduce bad cholesterol and assist with blood clotting.
Top 7 tips for navigating the Spring Racing party season
Start the party with something soft, and follow every alcoholic drink with a soft option
Have something to eat before you drink alcohol, to slow the absorption
Keep your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day, and don’t have more than four drinks at one occasion
Aim to have two alcohol free days per week, to give your body a break
If you drink beer, try to drink light versions and try not to drink beer during the week (choose a drink with less calories)
Try to reduce the calorie content of your drinks by diluting with soda water, water or ice
Exercise. Recent research has shown that exercise might actually reverse some of the negative side effects of alcohol consumption.