Since about 7000 B.C., alcohol has been a staple for gatherings in many cultures. You may have heard that wine can be healthy for your heart, or that a hot toddy when you’re sick helps you get better quickly. With the holidays coming up, you may be wondering: Are these claims true?
Like most answers: yes and no. It depends on a myriad of things like your genetics, the way your body processes alcohol and additives, and the quality of the booze you’re consuming. So where does alcohol fit into your health? If you’ve ever wondered if you should avoid it altogether, or if you can have a glass or two of your favorite red or microbrew, this article is for you.
Let’s talk about the science of alcohol. What’s in it that gives us that fuzzy feeling? The answer: ethanol. This substance absorbs into our bloodstream and causes a “depressing effect” on the systems in our bodies. Our reaction times slow, stress and anxiety are reduced, and the body slows down.
Weightlifting and exercise, in general, generate metabolic waste for the body to process. The liver is instrumental in clearing these waste byproducts from the body. If you are working hard in your training you may be putting a hefty load of work on your liver. Make sure that if you are exercising and enjoy a few drinks, you are getting ample rest and recovery to keep your body in balance.
Calories are another top consideration when it comes to alcohol. If you are trying to lose fat then there is most likely no room in your diet for excess calories. You want your primary calories to come from lean protein, fibrous vegetables, and heart-healthy fats. Replacing some of those calories with alcohol put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, after a few drinks, you may become tempted to reach for foods that don’t support your body compositional goals.
The bottom line when it comes to indulging? Just like anything else you consume, alcohol should have can have a place if you keep it in balance with your health and wellness goals.