Alcohol…… Health /Fitness

Although alcohol is certainly part of our western culture to believe it is good for us is somewhat a little far fetched  Yes I do have an occasion beer or glass of red myself but many of the stated benefits that surround the use of alcohol are normally sung by the people who make, distribute and sell the stuff. Before you indulge or certainly indulge to excess you might want to know these facts.

You may have heard that some types of alcohol can be good for you. Many people believe that drinking can be good for the heart, or that red wine can protect against cancer.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol has been shown to offer some protection for people at risk of heart disease, which normally applies to people over the age of 40. However, drinking more alcohol doesn’t reduce the risk further. It in fact can increase the risk of stroke and high blood pressure as well as other conditions.

Red wine does contains high levels of a chemical called resveratrol, which has some anti-cancer effects in laboratory cells only. But this is a far cry from saying that drinking red wine can protect people from cancer or in fact protect the heart. Many will tell you that it is full of antioxidants, however the amount you would need to consume to have this effect would destroy your liver and damage organs especially brain cells. Of course red wine also contains many other chemicals which may not be so beneficial, including the alcohol itself.     The science research so far tells us that there is no strong evidence that drinking red wine or any other alcoholic beverage (for that matter) can or could protect against cancer and heart disease.  What evidence does show is that alcohol has the following responses, it can: cause depression, makes the body work harder and places stress when we try to exercise the day after a big night. There are many health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol. These include anxiety, sexual difficulties such as impotence, slowed breathing and heartbeat, impaired judgment leading to accidents and injuries, loss of consciousness, suffocation through choking on your own vomit and potentially fatal alcohol poisoning. Drinking heavily also increases your calorie intake, and it is frequently associated with obesity. There are 125 calories in a medium-sized (175ml) glass of wine and over 500 in a bottle, the same as in a large hamburger! Alcohol irritates the stomach, so heavy drinking can cause sickness and nausea and sometimes diarrhea and bleeding. Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect, which is why excessive drinking can lead to a thumping headache the morning after. It dries out your skin, (the biggest organ in the human body) and if you drink heavily you may develop rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can progress to facial disfigurement, a condition known as rhinophyma. Alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant.
Physiological effects include, liver disease which has traditionally affected drinkers in their middle age, but now sufferers are getting younger. Up to one in three of the adult population is drinking enough alcohol to create a risk of developing alcohol-related liver disease. You don’t have to become a complete wowser however, you may just want to re think your intake especially if you want to improve your gym workout or sport performance.


By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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