Thanks to the pandemic, buying alcohol has never been easier. You can order a margarita to-go from your local eatery, pay for a wine subscription box or buy a case of special craft beers from your nearest brewery. While libations may take your mind off the constant state of chaos we’re now living in, there are a few things you should consider before your next drink.
Most women know they should avoid drinking alcohol while they’re pregnant. However, many are unaware that heavy drinking can affect their fertility. Some studies suggest that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption can lead to changes in cycle regulation and ovulation, resulting in low egg counts.
Therefore, if you’re trying to conceive, it may be best to forego another drink. Your partner might also choose to do the same. Heavy alcohol use has a similar effect on male fertility, decreasing sperm counts and lowering testosterone. Play it safe and settle for one or two drinks, instead.
It would be best if you also considered eating before consuming alcoholic beverages. Skipping dinner before a night out will only lead to the munchies, which may cause you to overeat or consume calorie-dense foods. Moreover, an empty stomach absorbs alcohol quicker than a full one, so eat before you hit up the bar.
Additionally, it’s wise to hydrate before, during and after consuming alcohol. Drink a glass of water with your meal and then one between each cocktail or beer. Doing so will slow your pace and prevent a dehydration headache the next morning.
While many pubs remain closed in light of the coronavirus, many are opening their doors again. If you do choose to hit one up, think about how you’ll get home when the festivities are over. Do you plan on driving yourself? If so, you may want to stop after one drink or refrain from ordering anything, to begin with.
Females tend to metabolize alcohol quicker than men, meaning they’ll achieve a higher blood alcohol concentration after a few drinks. Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is illegal and can land you a hefty fine, license suspension and even jail time. Plus, drinking and driving puts your life and the lives of other drivers at risk, so it’s best to stay sober and play it safe.
For some people, as little as one drink can trigger a hangover. Others have to drink quite a bit more before they risk waking up with a headache and an upset stomach. Therefore, it’s important to know your limit and consider whether or not a night of indulgence is worth a day of discomfort.
If you are someone who tends to wake up with a hangover, regardless of how little you drink, opt for light-colored drinks like vodka and gin. These spirits are lower in congeners, which are chemicals that can cause intense hangovers.
If you’re already drinking a sweet cocktail, you may want to pass up on another. Vodka-cranberries, rum and cokes and other mixers often contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or simple syrup, which is basically sugar water. Of course, all that sweetness is going to make your drink taste delicious. However, it can wreak havoc on your body if you overindulge.
The American Heart Association advises women to consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. Meanwhile, a single can of soda could put you over the limit. Therefore, it’s best to shy away from tonic water, juices, flavored syrups and other ingredients that may up your intake while you’re at the bar.
Most people can cope with the short-term effects of alcohol consumption — hangovers being one of them. However, the long-term effects are much more serious and can negatively impact your physical and mental health in a variety of ways.
For instance, excessive drinking can have detrimental effects on liver health and even cause liver diseases like cirrhosis. Overindulgence can also increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease or throat, mouth, breast and colorectal cancers. You may also experience memory loss, stroke, high blood pressure and even trouble learning if your drinking habits are excessive and habitual.
Another long-term consequence of heavy drinking is alcohol use disorder. While many people may develop an addiction to alcohol due to their environment and lifestyle choices, genetics may also predispose certain people to develop an addiction.
Studies have concluded that genetic variations can increase one’s chances of developing alcohol use disorder or heavy drinking habits. Some researchers have even been able to pinpoint specific variants in several genes — like DRD2 and SIX3 — that can lead to overconsumption and AUD. Therefore, it may be wise to consider your genetics and family history before throwing back one too many.
Indulging in a cocktail or glass of wine after a long workday may be your go-to for a relaxing evening in or a fun night out with friends. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink, you’d be wise to limit your consumption and take care of your mind and body. Before indulging in a few beverages, consider your future self and what she’ll feel like the next day — and the years to come — and be kind to her.