senior woman drinking green beer

Did you know the Irish toast “sláinte” means “health”? Here’s a way to protect yours.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those occasions when Americans tend to drink a bit too much. It’s right up there with New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo. So if you’re going to take part in the wearin’ o’ the green, don’t overdo the drinkin’ of the green (beer, that is).

Most of us know that drinking too much alcohol can be very bad for our health. While some experts believe consuming a small amount might offer health benefits, others disagree. But what everyone agrees on is that overconsumption raises the risk of liver disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and depression. Overindulgence also makes it more likely that we will have an accident while driving, or suffer a serious fall injury.

If protecting your health isn’t enough motivation, what about your vanity? Alcoholic beverages have a lot of calories! Here are a few examples from the National Institutes of Health:

Beverage Calories (average)
Beer (12 oz.)            153
Wine (red or white; 5 oz.)            125
Port (2 oz.)             90
Spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila; 1.5 oz.)             98
Martini (2.25 oz.)            130
Margarita (4 oz.)            168
Piña colada (9 oz.)            490

So if you still want to fit into your leprechaun costume next March 17, keep track of how much you drink, and do the math – and increase your luck by cutting back.

If you’re an older adult, remember that the overall effects of alcohol may be even greater for you. As we grow older, our bodies contain less water, so each drink results in a higher blood alcohol concentration than it did when we were younger.

Studies show older adults today are drinking more than in previous generations, and that’s not good! Also, remember that the last mixer you want to add is a medication! Many of the prescription and nonprescription drugs seniors take are dangerous when taken with alcohol. This includes aspirin, sleep medications and antidepressants.

This St. Patrick’s Day, sing a few choruses of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” enjoy news coverage of the green Chicago River – and stick to no more than two drinks if you’re a man, one if you’re a woman. Better yet, have a non-alcoholic green beer or a shamrock mocktail!

The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Be candid with your doctor about how much alcohol you drink, and if you’re having trouble controlling your intake, ask about counseling, a support group or a treatment program.

 Source: IlluminAge