This Is How Much Damage Christmas Drinking Will Do to Your Body

When it comes to partying, no matter what the occasion, we often are inclined to imbibe a little more than we would on an ordinary day. Especially at Christmastime, the festive spirit of the holiday may be a time when you throw caution to the wind and just drink up. But should you? The Huffington Post suggests that a booze binge even once a year is far worse for your health than you think. But if imbibe you must during the holiday season, try to have three to four consecutive alcohol-free days per week.

Drinking has become so common you might not give it much thought, especially when you’re at a party. Researchers have even stated that moderate alcohol consumption may have certain health benefits, which may serve as a comforting justification for some. But, that said, the effect of alcohol on your body depends on a number of factors, including your gender, weight and genetic makeup. The smaller you are, the more concentrated your blood alcohol level will be compared to a larger person drinking the same amount — certainly something to consider when you’re tempted to fill your glass too many times.

During the rest of the year, whether or not moderate alcohol consumption can be safe and even healthy is controversial, with studies showing a mixed bag of results. For instance, research shows people who have one to two drinks a day may have a significantly reduced risk of death from heart disease and "all causes" compared to those who never drink alcohol.

Interestingly, in a study of 60 long-time drinkers, those who were the most physically active had less damaged white matter in their brains compared to those who were less active. (The white matter is considered the "wiring" of your brain's communication system, and is known to decline in quality with age and heavy alcohol consumption.)

If you’re planning a few drinks this season, while I don’t recommend drinking alcohol, taking N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) — at least 200 mg — 30 minutes before you drink will lessen alcohol’s toxic effects. B vitamins, milk thistle, vitamin C and magnesium help too. And, whatever you do, do NOT take acetaminophen to relieve a hangover headache.
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