I often hear about the harm and abuse of excessive alcohol consumption (cue up Brad Paisley’s song, Alcohol), but rarely do I hear about the benefits, other than from the regularly drunk friend who is trying to justify his habit. “Everyone in Europe drinks from a young age and they are healthy.” Yes, this may be the case, but based on my experience they walk most everywhere and don’t eat much processed crap food. They sit down and enjoy their meals, not shovel food in their mouth while driving in the car, trying to make it to the store before it closes, or rushing to get the kids to swim practice.
I won’t lie — I really enjoy an adult beverage, a cold one, a “mommy drink.” Call it whatever you want, but call for it in moderation. I was reading this article The New York Times, THE UPSHOT|Alcohol’s Effect on Health: What the Science Says and realized there is indeed scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of alcohol. Some of these include cardiovascular protection, improved (HDL) good cholesterol, decreased risk of Type II diabetes when other factors were well-controlled, improved cognitive skills (although there are many times I wish I didn’t remember certain things involving alcohol). Unfortunately, when it comes to breast cancer, less is best. Research shows that an increase in consumption of alcohol increases the risk for breast cancer.
I don’t have to choose between breast health and heart health because I choose overall health. I am overweight and being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for a number of diseases. Alcohol adds unnecessary calories to my diet, something that wasn’t heavily touched on in the article. And, even if I stayed within the less than 4 drinks per week for breast health, drinking alcohol typically makes me hungry, so I eat. And, I don’t grab the carrots and hummus. Thus, drinking alcohol for me creates a vicious cycle, so I don’t drink that often anymore.
My reality is that I have fake breasts because the real ones tried to kill me. My risk of recurrence is pretty slim, but the possibility still exists. While I have no heart conditions, being overweight makes me vulnerable. Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and setting a good example for my children are my top priorities.
And, that’s not worth drinking to!