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A little Overindulging

BODY PARTS– APRIL 2013 – THE DAY AFTER THE WEDDING

Now is the time to start planning for what could be the most important day of your life, besides childbirth! There is so much to do when it comes to planning a wedding and the cost can be astronomical. But that is not what this article is about! It’s about the Bachelor Party, Staggette and the Night After the big wedding celebration. Yes, this article is about a little overindulging when it comes to your alcohol consumption.

WHAT ALCOHOL REALLY DOES TO YOUR BODY

BRAIN: From the first sip, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the brain. Although you won't be aware of it, there is an impairment of brain function, which deteriorates further the more you drink. Cognitive abilities that are acquired later in life, such as conduct and behaviour, are the first to go. Early on, you will experience mild euphoria and loss of inhibition, as alcohol impairs regions of the brain controlling behaviour and emotion. Most vulnerable are the brain cells associated with memory, attention, sleep and coordination. Sheer lack of mass means that people who weigh less become intoxicated more quickly, and women will feel the effects faster than men. This is also because their bodies have lower levels of water.


HEART: More than 35 units a week, or a large number in one sitting, can cause 'holiday heart syndrome'. This is atrial fibrillation - a rapid, irregular heartbeat that happens when the heart's upper chambers contract too quickly. As a result, the heartbeat is less effective at pumping blood from the heart, and blood may pool and form clots. These can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Atrial fibrillation gives a person nearly a fivefold increased risk of stroke. The effect is temporary, provided heavy drinking is stopped.


LUNGS: A small amount of alcohol speeds up the breathing rate. But at this level of intoxication, the stimulating effects of alcohol are replaced by an anaesthetic effect that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. The heart rate lowers, as does blood pressure and respiration rates, possibly to risky levels - in extreme cases the effect could be fatal. During exhalation, the lungs excrete about 5 per cent of the alcohol you have consumed - it is this effect that forms the basis for the breathalyser test.


LIVER: Alcohol is metabolised in the liver and excessive alcohol use can lead to acute and chronic liver disease. As the liver breaks down alcohol, by-products such as acetaldehyde are formed, some of which are more toxic to the body than alcohol itself. It is these that can eventually attack the liver and cause cirrhosis. A heavy night of drinking upsets both the delicate balance of enzymes in the liver and fat metabolism. Over time, this can lead to the development of fatty globules that cause the organ to swell. It is generally accepted that drinking more than seven units (men) and five units (women) a day will raise the risk of liver cirrhosis.


SKIN: Alcohol increases bloodflow to the skin, making you feel warm and look flushed. It also dehydrates, increasing the appearance of fine lines. According to Dr Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist, even five units will lead to an unhealthy appearance for days.

Alcohol dehydrates virtually every part of the body, and is also a neurotoxin that causes brain cells to become damaged and swell. This causes the hangover and, combined with low blood-sugar levels, can leave you feeling awful. Cognitive abilities such as concentration, coordination and memory may be affected for several days.


Over time, alcohol can cause permanent damage to the connection between nerve cells. As it is a depressant, alcohol can trigger episodes of depression, anxiety and lethargy.

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to an increase in the risk of most cancers. Last week, Cancer Research UK warned how growing alcohol use is causing a steep rise in mouth cancer cases.


Just a few weeks of heavy drinking can result in painful inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis. It results in a swollen abdominal area and can cause nausea and vomiting.

Don’t worry, we have all done it; people will eventually forget your bad behaviour (eventually!). But what about your poor overworked and overloaded liver? It may need some help to detox; you owe it to yourself to start eating these healthy foods immediately, if not sooner, and buy a juicer!


Garlic: Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

Grapefruit: Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in both vitamin C and antioxidant properties.

Beets: Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.

Leafy Greens: Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver.

Green Tea: Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been known to improve the functions of our liver.

Avocados: Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials.

Crucferous Vegetables: Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that helps create enzyme production for digestion.

Lemons: We all know citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.

Turmeric: Used as a spice, tumeric has been known to help our bodies digest fats and stimulate the production of bile. It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.

Walnuts: Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our liver through its cleansing process.

According to The Mayo Clinic, mistreating your liver can raise the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies and many other ailments. Something to think about as you raise that glass!


Submitted by: Kathryn Hartwell


Information found on www.independent.co.uk and www.huffingtonpost.ca