Alcohol is widely consumed all over the world and while some can swear on its beneficial effects, others see it as utterly harmful and as a poison that must be avoided.
The question then is, is alcohol good or bad for one’s health? In answering this question, one must consider all the evidence for and against the consumption of alcohol.
Firstly, there is some evidence that moderate alcohol drinking might be beneficial in preventing a few health problems, including some heart problems. However, when these minimal benefits are compared to the harms that alcohol drinking can cause, the advice would be to abstain from drinking alcohol. However, If you must drink alcohol, then make sure that you limit the quantity that you consume.
Different countries have their recommended safe limit for alcohol consumption and for patientnaija, we will be adopting the United Kingdom recommendation of 14 units of alcohol per week.
Units provide us with a simple way of calculating the amount of alcohol present in a drink
Calculate your alcohol intake in units below
So, what are the harmful effects of alcohol consumption?
Excessive alcohol intake can affect almost every part of the body from the brain down to the joints of the feet.
In the brain, alcohol can lead to memory problems and strokes. In the heart, it can cause enlargement of the heart and heart failure. In the digestive system, it can cause hepatitis, and in the joints, it can increase your risk of gout.
Excessive alcohol intake is also associated with many types of cancers including liver, throat, and breast cancers.
The final lesson
When we compare the risk of alcohol intake versus the benefits, the consensus is that the harmful effects of alcohol intake much outweigh the benefits. So, if you can, avoid drinking alcohol. However if you must drink, minimize your alcohol intake to less than 14 units per week.