Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Alcohol triggers Cancer

Now, I am thankful for having a very healthy lifestyle. Ever since in my life not a single drop of liquid coming from any alcoholic beverages with more than 5% of ABV (alcohol by volume) pass my mouth. The only alcoholic beverage I tried is wine with only 5% ABV which I only indulge once a year---every new year. 

I am not convinced with the idea that occasional drinking of alcohol within the limit of 13% ABV brings good to our heart. We can get "alcohol" from the foods we consumed everyday, the moment we eat rice or anything we already have alcohol, the foods once expose to air will yield alcohol. 

I read from a health book that the human body only needs .04% of alcohol everyday in order to get enough fuel, the alcohol content from the foods we eat is enough to cover this requirement. Women in particular are not advised to drink alcohol because it can block the absorption of Folate in the body. Lack of Folate is associated with birth defects, women's preparation for pregnancy ideally should be at least two years. Alcohol by the way is one of the sources of calories (together with fats, protein and carbohydrates) but a very poor source among the four.

And so one day, I read an article from that alcohol brings no good to the body, in fact there are evidences showing that consuming alcohol will increase the risk of developing cancers. The Cancer Council of Australia for one says that alcohol causes cancer and it has strong associations with various cancers, it is now the leading cause for bowel cancer for women and liver cancer for both women and men.

The story linking alcohol to good health or heart health benefits recently are flawed with current scientific research revealing that there are no concrete evidences linking alcohol to a healthy heart. The National Heart Foundation already warned the public against drinking wine in a daily basis or any types of alcoholic beverages including beer. So far, researchers say that there's no safe level of drinking alcohol when it comes to cancer.

Why alcohol causes cancer?

According to Ian Olver, CEO of The Cancer Council of Australia "The causes were identified through causative mechanisms conducted by health researchers" as follows:
  • Our body breaks down Ethanol, a chemical traditionally present in alcoholic beverages, the breaking process will then create a substance called acetylaldehyde--a cancer-causing agent that degenerates body cells. Ethanol itself is damaging to body tissues [and often associated with free radicals].
  • Alcohol increases levels of sex hormones. Estrogen, a female hormone, is strongly associated with breast cancer.
  • Alcohol contains too much calories which may trigger the clogging of the veins and other irregularities in the body cells.
There's no other form of prevention people can take except having a healthy lifestyle. For people who cannot resist drinking alcohol, try to observe these reminders from the Australian Drug Foundation:

  • Have a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol.
  • Eat before or while you are drinking.
  • Don't let people top up your drinks.
  • Try having a "spacer", a non-alcoholic drink every second or third drink.
  • Try a low-alcohol alternative or a non-alcoholic cocktail
  • Write down how much you drink each day. This can make you more aware of exactly how much you drink.
  • Don't be pressured into drinking more than you want or intend to.

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