4 Essential Tips to Drinking Responsibly for Overall and Liver Health
6 minute read
The dangers of excessive or heavy drinking are well-documented and understood. With damage to your overall health, specifically to your liver and heart, drinking too much alcohol has a price.
For that reason, many decide to cut back and drink more responsibly. You can still enjoy alcohol with a healthy lifestyle. However, when you cut back, you reduce the risk of serious disease and even death. Here are 4 easy steps to consider in order to be a healthier drinker.
The Dangers of Drinking Too Much
While everyone should already be aware of the dangers of drinking to the point of drunkenness, it’s important to note that impairment of cognition occurs after just one drink and gets worse the more you drink.
Beyond the immediate impact, alcohol can have long-lasting and serious consequences to your health, especially your liver. While your liver can regenerate and repair some damage, many people use liver health supplements to help prevent problems and strengthen this important organ.
Some of the other dangers of drinking alcohol include:
♦ Cirrhosis of the liver or liver disease
♦ Pancreatic disease or cancer
♦ Cancer of other organs
♦ Obesity and increased risk for diabetes
♦ Stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
♦ Increased risk for disease and infection
♦ Cognitive impairment, memory loss, and brain damage
♦ Malnourishment and vitamin deficiency
Steps to Drinking Responsibly
Cutting back on alcohol might be easy for you or it may be a challenge. It depends on how much you drank on a regular basis before deciding to cut back. When it comes to cutting back and drinking responsibly, there are a few simple steps to guide you.
Step One: Set Yourself a Goal
Set your drinking goal based on your current health, past behaviors, and weaknesses, and be realistic for your lifestyle.
There is nothing worse than setting a goal that you cannot stick to. If you decide to quit completely, consult with your doctor about quitting and getting the support you need.
In some cases going cold turkey can be too dangerous, so you need to approach the situation wisely and with support. If you opt to set a goal for controlled drinking set a realistic goal to reach.
Your goal can vary from just drinking on the weekends to lowering alcohol consumption to a healthy amount per week or even only drinking at parties, but never getting drunk. Whatever your goal is—write it down and keep it handy to keep you focused.
Step Two: Assess Your Alcohol Consumption
This step requires honesty and accuracy in order to be effective. The most accurate way to assess your drinking is to keep a diary where you note down every drink that you have.
The point to this exercise is that, by identifying and understanding your drinking habits, you are better equipped to change or control them. Keep track of what you drank and where you were as well as with whom to identify helpful patterns.
There may be certain places or certain people that make drinking more problematic.
Once you identify patterns to your drinking behavior, you can calculate a safe limit for yourself. Safe limits vary between people because they are based on blood alcohol levels that can be influenced by weight, metabolism, health, and gender.
Write your safe limit down and keep this handy so you can stay on track.
Step Three: Think Ahead
When you keep wine or beer stocked in the house, it will be easy to sabotage your goals.
Don’t buy them. Only purchase small amounts of alcohol to have around. Buy only the amount you have calculated as your safe limit.
If you know that one serving will not cut it, so you will want to have several drinks, make sure to buy lower alcohol content drinks. You will have more drinks but still consume the safe amount of alcohol.
You might also want to try nonalcoholic “mocktails.” You may be surprised how good a healthy mocktail can be.
Step Four: Watch Out
Watch out for triggers that may cause you to drink more, then avoid those situations. You also need to keep a watch on your safe level and pace yourself so you do not reach it too quickly.
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When this happens, it is easy to drink to excess and the risks become all too real again.
You also need to watch for peer pressure. If you identified certain people that influence heavier drinking, then you should avoid them while you are working to control your drinking. You only need to do this for the first month or so, until you have a new handle on your drinking program.
The Bottom Line
Alcohol is addicting and alcoholism is a disease, but you can take control back. Making the decision to start drinking responsibly and to cut back is the most important step. After that, the steps above will help you control your drinking within safe limits.
In the end, you can still enjoy your favorite drinks, but the serious risks to your health will be in the rearview mirror. By taking responsibility for your drinking habits, you are showing responsibility for your health.