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Depending on various factors like time, quantity, age, sex, purpose, physical condition and health issues of the drinker, alcohol consumption can be harmless or can turn poisonous. While moderate and wise consumption can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, be good for circulatory system and may also prevent type 2 diabetes and gallstones, heavy drinking and alcohol abuse may increase the risk of high blood pressure, liver disease (cirrhosis), pancreatitis, heart muscle damage (leading to heart failure) and even certain cancers.
To be a responsible drinker, the most vital point to be aware of is the right and the healthy time to have a drink, besides knowing how to control and prevent heavy drinking.
Times when cons outweigh the pros
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy, after being diagnosed with liver or pancreatic diseases, while taking medications or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol, despite having a history of a haemorrhagic stroke are some of the times and situations when it should be avoided at any cost.
The right times:
Full stomach: If you wish to grab a drink, it is sensible and proper to have it after a full and hearty meal. The richer the pre-meal is with proteins, healthy fat, starch and other macronutrients, the more it will help slow down the rate at which alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream, thereby reducing the severity of nausea, dizziness, headaches and other alcohol-induced sicknesses. Eggs, fibre-rich cereals, nuts and salmons – source of vitamin B components, protein-rich chicken are some of the pre-game food items and delicacies that can greatly trim alcohol effects and hangover heaviness at the same time. Refined carbohydrates like chips and cookies don't slow down or prevent the effects of alcohol due to the fact that they can be digested comparatively quickly. Medical help regarding pre-alcohol meal should be sought in case of any health issues.
Hydrated body: Alcohol decreases the number of anti-diuretic hormones produced by our body, which helps us to stay hydrated. As a result, our body loses precious fluids fast and gets dehydrated at a faster pace. On top of that, increased urination and vomiting (if occurs) brought about by drinking further causes dehydration. Some of the signs of dehydration can be a dry and sticky mouth, decreased urination and headache. So it is really important to swallow a glass or two of water before so that you can start drinking with your body already hydrated with necessary fluid. In this context, it is also necessary to keep your body hydrated throughout. Maintaining a healthy alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages ratio during the consumption process is always the best idea.
Sufficient sleep: Alcoholic drinks can interfere with our sleep. It disrupts the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and accelerates our metabolism. Hence our body becomes more alert than general and sleeping becomes difficult. It is advisable to avoid alcohol, if you had slept poorly the previous night and looking forward to a good night’s sleep. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.