An adult beverage made from the natural fermentation of sugar, alcohol is produced in the forms of spirits, beer, wine, and other drinks. It is a common and popular drink, especially in social settings, but the long-term consumption of alcohol has been linked to many different health problems and conditions.
For years, research into alcohol has shown the different negative effects it can have, both throughout the body and the mind.
On the body, alcohol can have short-term and long-term effects. The impacts of alcohol on the body begin from the first sip. Some of its short-term effects on the body are nausea and vomiting, head pain, diarrhea, and feelings of relaxation. Other side effects that are related to dehydration can appear much later.
Long-term effects of continuous alcohol usage can lead to insomnia and other sleep disorders, as well as a weakened immune system, changes in weight, and damaged organs.
The liver breaks down and removes toxins and harmful substances, like alcohol, but it can struggle to perform with chronic alcohol usage. Long-term use of alcohol can increase the risk of liver disease.
- Alcohol-related liver disease: This disease leads to the buildup of toxins and waste in the body, and it has the potential to be life-threatening.
- Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is the severe scarring of the liver. It can occur in the late stages of liver diseases and conditions related to liver damage, and it is irreversible.
Under the influence of alcohol, the user has lowered inhibitions. This can lead to impulsive behavior, where the user can make poor decisions like drinking and driving. Some of the short-term side effects can be changes in mood, hearing, vision, coordination, trouble focusing, and gaps in memory.
Consistent use of alcohol over time can lead to mental health problems, like depression and anxiety. It has also been associated with the development of dementia, poor circulation to the brain, shrinkage of the brain, and permanent changes in mood or personality.
Alcohol can even have effects on the cardiovascular system. The heart pumps blood to the body, which delivers nutrients and materials. Alcohol is one of the materials delivered to different parts of the body, and it greatly affects the cardiovascular system. Short-term, alcohol can temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Excessive drinking over time can lead to poor health conditions, including heart conditions. Heavy drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. Drinking over time has also been linked to weakened heart muscles, and irregular heartbeats called arrhythmia.
Because of the many different negative effects of alcohol on the body, it’s best to step back from its usage altogether. There are some alternatives to it that are much healthier for the human body.
Kombucha is quickly becoming popular as an alternative to alcohol. It is fermented and made from either black or green tea, with bacteria thrown in. It is popular amongst those who like the taste of alcohol because it has a similar aroma and flavor, but it is also healthy. Kombucha has probiotic and antioxidant properties, and it is not sugar-based.
Alcohol-Free Sparkling Wine
For wine drinkers, alcohol-free sparkling wine is a great alternative to normal wine. It is fermented in the same way, and there isn’t much difference in the taste and aroma.
There is a large market for premium alcohol-free beers, which are mostly looked for by younger drinkers who want to drink responsibly. Alcohol-free beer still has the same fermented taste as normal beer, just without the alcohol, so it is a great alternative for those used to drinking beer.
The only difference between a mocktail and a cocktail is the absence of liquor. Instead, juices, sodas, infused waters, and other non-alcoholic drinks are included. Because there are different variations in ingredients and flavors, they can deliver the same experience as a cocktail.
Sparkling juices have a similar acidity and flavor profile to wine and are made from the same fermentation process as sparkling wine. They are generally made from herbs, fruit, and apple cider vinegar.
Adaptogenic drinks are another fun alternative to alcohol. Not only do they taste great, but the herbs and plants they are made from have been proven to have health benefits.
There are other, simpler alcohol substitutes, like:
- Soda with lime
- Virgin Mojito
- Berries in iced water
Additionally, one of the main reasons people drink alcohol is to relax or relieve stress. Another way to achieve this without a beverage is to engage in exercise, like aerobic activity, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.