GET THE DRINKS BALANCE RIGHT
It’s easy to get into the habit of relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of a long day. But it seems we’re not stopping at just the one. Historically, men have been far more likely to drink alcohol in quantities that damage their health but, in recent years, the amount women drink has crept up, and now the gender gap has shrunk so much that we’re catching up with men in alcohol consumption and its associated harms.
The issue is that we have a high fat to water ratio, so the alcohol is more concentrated. We also have smaller livers with which to process it. But our livers aren’t the only thing we’re damaging. ‘Excess alcohol is also linked to head and neck cancer, and heavily linked to breast cancer,’ says Dr Crosbie. It’s thought that as many as 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be avoided if women drunk no alcohol at all.
We’re not saying you need to go teetotal, just to be aware. One 175ml glass of 14% ABV wine a night adds up to nearly 17 units a week and, let’s face it, one often leads to another! ‘It’s easy to lose track of units at home, especially if you’re sharing a bottle of wine,’ says Dr Crosbie. ‘Units can be hard to calculate, but the total number is printed on the back of a bottle of wine, so make sure you look.’
Experts agree that having two or three back-to-back boozefree nights a week allows your liver to regenerate. And, when you do drink, buy a goodquality wine that you will take your time over. It’s not about abstaining, but adjusting.