Since the pandemic, average alcohol consumption per citizen has increased.1 For example, liquor authorities sold the equivalent of 9.7 standard alcoholic beverages a week per Canadian of legal drinking age in 2020-2021, an increase of 2.1% from a year earlier.2
While this increase in consumption generates more tax revenue for governments, it can conversely reduce the purchasing power of individuals for other goods and services, especially in a context of high inflation.
For example, spending $60 per week on alcohol adds up to an average of $3,120 per year. Part of this amount can be saved and reinvested for different projects, such as the purchase of a property. Of course, the savings can be even greater for people who frequently consume alcohol at bars, restaurants or festive events.
A new Canadian study has revealed that the health risks of alcohol consumption begin when you have more than two drinks a week.3 Alcohol can in fact lead to a variety of systemic health problems, including cancer.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, alcohol is involved in many types of cancer: mouth, larynx, liver, stomach, pancreas, colorectal.4 In short, wherever alcohol circulates in our bodies, especially in high doses, it compromises the proper functioning of our organs.
Improve sleep and digestion
Falling asleep after a night of drinking is normally not an issue. However, your night’s sleep will not be as restful as it should be because alcohol affects your natural sleep cycle. This can leave you feeling less than refreshed when you wake up the next morning.
Alcohol can also alter our intestinal microbiome, which is an essential element in digestion.
An imbalance can cause digestive problems such as bloating, stomach aches or gas. It can also lead to sugar cravings, skin problems and fatigue.
Alcohol consumption may slightly weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to catching viruses. It is believed to disrupt communication within the immune system, and therefore the way the body protects itself against germs.
Drinking less alcohol also helps with faster healing of wounds and certain infections.
Alcohol is a depressant. It brings dopamine to our brain, which influences the way we feel pleasure. Once the effect begins to wear off, some people may experience anxiety or other negative emotions. In short, even if alcohol can temporarily make people feel cheerful, the effect that follows is negative.
The hormonal imbalance caused by alcohol can therefore play an important role in your mood and make you feel down, or even depressed.
And, of course, alcohol also decreases cognitive performance and impairs your judgment.
For yourself... and for others!
Finally, cutting down on alcohol has benefits for more than just your own health. It can also affect that of others. Alcohol abuse makes some people aggressive. Also, whatever the circumstances, we all need to avoid driving while impaired to reduce the risk of having an accident.
That being said, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a drink or two on occasion. After all, alcohol has been a part of our social lives practically since the dawn of time. The idea is to use it with moderation and care, for your own physical and mental wellbeing—and that of others.