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Should I drink alcohol?

Alcohol is something that of course is used to celebrate good times and catch ups with friends or family. If you only have an occasional glass or two, then this is not necessarily a bad thing. Alcohol can also be a help if you are struggling with your appetite or feeling unable to face the dinner table. As a small glass of wine or sherry can help to stimulate your appetite,  make the meal setting more relaxed and an enjoyable occasion.

But the emphasis, is on SMALL and OCCASIONAL. Alcohol has now been linked with an increased risk of developing some types of cancer and for ongoing cancer prevention, it is probably better not to drink at all. In particular, some studies have shown that as little as three units a day can increase the risk of oesophagus, mouth, throat, liver, stomach, breast and bowel cancers. Alcohol is also high in calories and is often a factor in weight gain or difficulties taking weight off.

If you do drink it is best to limit your intake to no more than the total amounts outlined below.

men drink no more than 2 units of alcohol per day, try to have at least three or more days without alcohol.

and women drink no more than 1 unit per day, try to have at least three or more days without alcohol.

One unit of alcohol is the equivalent of a SMALL glass of wine (100mls), 1 middy or 285mls of standard strength beer, 425ml (1 schooner) of low alcohol beer, or a single measure (30ml) of a standard strength spirit. Beware that cocktails can often contain more than three standard drinks and should be avoided.

Drinking large quantities of alcohol in one session (binge drinking) is thought to be worse for your health than drinking a small amount each day. It is also recommended that people have 3 or 4 non-drinking days each week.

If you are taking any medicines or in treatment, check with your doctor or pharmacist whether it is safe to drink alcohol.