A drink or two may help you to relax and socialise, it may even do you some good, but regular drinking presents various health risks. Sensible drinking involves knowing what your limits are and being aware of how much you are drinking. Its important to understand how to drink sensibly to enjoy alcohol in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The guidelines recommend not drinking regularly more than three or four units a day for men and two or three units a day for women. Although Regularly means every day, its a good idea to have at least two alcohol-free days a week. So over a week, men shouldnt have more than 21 units and women no more than 14 units.
This does not mean you can save up all the allowance for a weekend binge. A drinking binge is generally defined as drinking double
the daily recommended units in one session.
The recommended limits are lower for women than for men because women have different amounts of fat, muscle and water in their bodies than men. This affects the way women and mens bodies cope with alcohol. Women are more likely to develop health problems, such as liver disease, at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men.
Most of us are familiar with the pleasant glow that follows a couple of drinks. But there are other effects that alcohol has on your body and mind which may surprise you.
Within minutes of taking your first sip, alcohol enters your bloodstream through your stomach wall and is circulated to every part of your body, including your heart, liver and brain. It acts on nerve cells throughout your body and slows down the speed at which your nerves send messages to each other.
If you have one or two drinks, you may find you become more talkative and feel more cheerful and relaxed. But drink a couple more and you will take longer to react, you may misjudge situations and may also find that you start slurring your speech. Walking and co-ordination may also become more difficult.