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September 2, 2018: Alcohol

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

{Did you miss last week’s GYSTS email? No prob! Go here and scroll to the bottom for a complete archive of all GYSTS emails}

Summer time is perfect for a refreshing rose or a frozen margarita. But, like everything else we put in our bodies, we should be aware of its impact on our health: the good, the bad and the ugly. This week, we’re talking about the positive and negative effects of drinking alcohol, just in time for Labor Day weekend BBQs.

Are you saying I can’t drink?!

No. I’d never do that to you. Come on.

The good news

There are potential benefits to consuming a moderate amount of alcohol a day, but moderate means 1 drink per day for women. A study by the School of Public Health at Harvard found that a moderate amount of alcohol raised levels of the good cholesterol, HDL, which protects against heart disease. It has also been associated with preventing small blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke, and they found it produced a stronger sensitivity to insulin which can protect against diabetes. Another study by the Catholic University of Campbasso reported a small amount during dinner can decrease the risk of death by 18%.

The bad news - why you need to keep to moderate drinking

When an excessive amount of alcohol gets into the bloodstream, it can negatively impact everything in your body, for example:

  • Excretory System - Excessive drinking can cause hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, and liver disease
  • Digestive System - Alcohol abuse can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, and can cause ulcers in the esophagus, acid reflux and heartburn
  • Central Nervous System - Alcohol use gets to the brain and causes slurred speech and balance issues and memory loss, and long-term use can actually shrink the frontal lobes of the brain
  • Circulatory System - One drink affects the heart, but heavy drinking can cause cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, heart attack, and even stroke. It's important to note women are more at risk than men for these issues.
  • Skeletal and Muscle System - Alcohol abuse makes it harder to grow new bone and increases your chances of osteoporosis while muscles become vulnerable to weakness, cramps, and even atrophy
  • Immune System - Heavy drinking lowers your immune system, and heavy drinkers are more susceptible to pneumonia and tuberculosis

Alcohol can even affect your sexual and reproductive health. Heavy drinking can stop menstruation, cause infertility, and increase the chances of miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth.

Yes, you can still enjoy a drink

This is not a PSA to quit drinking. It’s just a reminder that everything you put in your body has an effect, good or bad, and the more you know, the more informed your choices are. Like with most things in life, enjoy alcohol in moderation.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about why you might want to ditch the scale when approaching your healthy lifestyle.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.