DRINK IT IN
Reaching for that nightly glass (or three) of wine a little too often? Try this perfect cool-weather mocktail instead.
THE PANDEMIC HIT, and we all reached for the bottle. Okay, maybe not all of us. But 18 percent of Canadians stuck in their houses reported an increase in their alcohol consumption at home due to COVID-19 (that number rose to 25 percent for people ages 35 to 54), according to an April report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Anecdotally, we know many of us have increased our booze intake since March — witness the alcohol-related memes and #winemom culture.
But the adverse health effects are real, especially for women. Alcohol has long been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, but it seems even a moderate intake — drinking one glass of wine, beer or any other type of alcohol a day — may raise your risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. That’s because alcohol consumption increases levels of estrogen and other hormones that are linked to hormone-receptive-positive breast cancer. It can also damage DNA in cells, another cancer risk.
Too much alcohol can also worsen feelings of anxiety and depression, which we’re already swimming in under COVID-19 — there’s a fine line between the pleasure alcohol can provide and the negative feelings or consequences it can trigger.
And long-term, excessive alcohol use is linked to health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke (heart disease is the number one cause of death for women over 55 in Canada), as well as liver disease, digestive problems, learning and memory difficulties, and dementia. Oof.
Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines recommend no more than 10 drinks per week for women and taking at least a few days off (yes, meaning no alcohol, at all). So instead of uncorking a bottle of wine to unwind, consider this cool-weather mocktail that’s full of spice and punch, and not a drop of booze.