The Effects of alcohol on the Body

Even a small amount of alcohol has an effect on your body. When you drink, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body. A tiny amount of alcohol exits your body in your urine and your breath.

You absorb alcohol more slowly if you eat, especially if the food is high in fat. However, if you drink more than your body can process, you’ll get drunk. How quickly alcohol is metabolized depends on your size and gender, among other things.

Alcohol consumption causes physical and emotional changes that can do great harm to your body. The long-term effects of alcohol abuse are many, putting your health in serious jeopardy and endangering your life.

The liver takes the brunt
Alcohol must pass through the liver. Chronic alcohol abuse overwhelms the liver so it can’t break down harmful substances
Slurred speech
Slurred speech is one of the first signs you’ve had too much
Shrinking frontal lobe
Impaired judgement may be the result of a shrinking brain
Strange sensations
Numbness  and pain in your hands and feet may be the result of damage to your nervous system
Hallucinations
When chronic drinkers suddenly stop drinking, severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations may occur
Major mouth problems
 A loose tooth, together with other signs of alcohol addiction, could be a sign your drinking is out of control
Malnutrition
Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to use the nutrients and vitamins in the food you eat
Hard on the heart
Heavy drinking can mess with your heart rhythm or even damage your heart muscle
Sexual dysfunction
Drinking is no aphrodisiac, in fact it can make you sexually dysfunctional
Birth defects 
Drinking during pregnancy can cause a lifetime of problems for your newborn
Muscle cramps
A muscle cramp can be a signal you’re drinking too much
Check out that cough
People who drink a lot are more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis
Pain in the pancreas
Pancreatitis is a life threatening condition. One of the causes of chronic pancreatitis is alcoholism
Diabetic danger zone
If you have diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to many complications
Coordination
That uncoordinated attempt to walk a straight line might mean you’ve had more to drink than your body can process
Blackouts
Can’t remember what you did last night? Or are parts of the night missing from your memory. It may be a sign you drank too much
Shifty eyes
Long-term alcohol abuse can cause involuntary eye movements
Dependence
If you become physically dependent, a doctor’s care may make withdrawal safer
Stomach distress
Bloating, gas or painful stomach ulcers could be the result of too much alcohol
Gotta go
 A damaged digestive tract may not work efficiently, leading to bouts of diarrhoea
Fighting fatigue
Fatigue could be a sign of anemia, a possible sign of alcoholism
Infertility
in the long-term, excessive alcohol can make it difficult to conceive
Skinny skeleton
Thinning bones may lead to easy fractures

The Long-Field

 

strawberries

“We have all grown up with the Long-Field. City folk see it as green ditches with no footpaths as soon as they have escaped the urban. Cattle and sheep view it as manna from heaven when they escape out on to it from their closures and rural folk, well rural folk are always delighted to inform their fellow farmers that it is their stock that has escaped onto the Long – Field and not their own”

Evan Doyle of “Strawberry Tree” fame talks about his passion for Wild Food, a feature of his restaurant.

Evan goes on to describe the Long – Field;

“The Long – Field is the 327,258 km of Irish grass verges and hedge rows. Our lush damp climate produces a stunning array of wild foods, from fresh spring herbs to summer berries to autumn mushrooms and nuts”

His chefs can be seen out foraging for nettles for the” Wild Nettle Tea”and Dillisk for oatcakes. Or wading for seaweed for “Wild Carrigeen and Wild Prawn Bisque”.   They pick wild garlic for the “Wild garlic, leek and potato bake” and mushrooms for the “Wild St. Georges mushroom, spinach and gorgonzola risotto”. They are gathering Wild Sea Beet, Wild Rock Samphire, Wild Sorrell and others, all to put into delicious dishes. The book is full of recipes.

“Wild Food” is an eye opener to the harvest nature provides. “Wild Food” by Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle is published by O’Brien Press. The Strawberry Tree, Macreddin Village, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow.

 

Is red wine good for your heart?

No, is the simple answer

The French paradox – in spite of high saturated fat intake, the French die less of coronary heart disease thanks to their higher consumption of red wine

The concept that drinking red wine can prevent cardiovascular disease dates back to the early nineties, when Serge Renaud and Michel de Lorgeril published a paper in the Lancet entitled,   ” Wine, alcohol, platelets and the French paradox for coronary heart disease”. They argued that whereas their consumption of saturated fat was high, mortality from coronary heart disease was low compared to the US and the UK. They called this the “French paradox” The difference was the French drink more red wine, there was some protective polyphenols that came straight from red grapes. The studies were based on data from three French cities, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Lille. CHD mortality was much lower in Toulouse compared to Strasbourg and Lille, however wine consumption was much higher in Toulouse compared to the other two cities.

In the 1990s, wine  sales in europe were declining, with many young people switching to beer, wine drinking was seen to be old-fashioned. The wine industry jumped on the “French paradox” story promoting an epic marketing campaign which instilled in a lot of people the idea that drinking red wine is good for your heart.

A great deal of research ensued and found, while there was some beneficial effects from the extracts from grapes, the amount of wine needed to get enough resveratrols to produce a significant effect would be incompatible with the toxic effects of alcohol.

The key to below the norm mortality rates from CHD in Toulouse, was not red wine but diet. While they drank more red wine and ate slightly more cheese, they ate a lot more vegetables, a lot more fruit, half the butter and more vegetable fat and more bread. In other words they were eating more fruit and vegetables and ingested more fibre, less saturated fat, more polyunsaturated fat and more grains.

The popular narrative of the French paradox gets the premise and the conclusion wrong. It is wrong to assume that saturated fat is all that matters to predict cardiovascular risk, since we know it is just one of the many dietary factors involved. And it is dead wrong to suggest that drinking a few glasses of red wine is all you need to make it better. If anything, the whole story proves once more the concept that the balance of diet in general is more important than any single component in preventing disease and ensuring good health.

http://www.nutrition.org. 01/18/2013; Stefano Vendrame

Our brain is inconceivable, beyond imagination

brain-regions-100414-02

The brain is made up of an inconceivable number of cells

An “enchanted loom” is how Charles Sherrington described the interconnected net of cells that make up our three-pound control centre. Indeed there is something almost magical in the notion that all our mental processes from perception, to memory to consciousness itself, can be described entirely by cellular activity in the brain.

The basic functional unit of the brain is the neuron, a special cell that sends electrochemical signals to other neurons (across a “synaptic gap”) and thereby creates those patterns that make up what we think of as the mind.

The complexity of the task requires a fairly inconceivable 100 billion neurons, interconnected via trillions of synapses. A single firing neutron might communicate to thousands of others in a single moment. No computer comes close to the complexity of these communicating bits of organic matter.

What’s more, for each neuron there are 10 to 15 glial cells providing structural support, protection, resources and more.

Source; http://www.livescience.com

Alcohol is a drug that goes to the brain, interfering with the cells, disrupting the communication. That is why after a few drinks we have difficulty thinking, talking, walking, eating. The more alcohol, the more out of control.

Why do we consciously interfere with the workings of this incredible machine?

If we knew how much damage we were doing to our brain, would we drink as much?

Would we drink at all?

Keith Floyd on pleasure

I drink whisky, I drink beer, I drink wine. I love fatty pork and beef on the bone. I eat chocolate, fish and chips and caviar and drink vodka. I drink instant coffee but adore a Spanish cafe solo. I eat chillies, ginger and garlic. I adore pungent blue cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola and Danish Blue. I love liver with fried onions and I enjoy ice cream and hot chocolate sauce between cigarettes. I drink Champagne on occasion, aquavit rarely, gin and tonic occasionally. I love apples and Mars bars. In fact I am a chocaholic. Actually I am a kind of gastronomic tramp. I am too hungry for dinner at eight, and sometimes at breakfast a curry is great. Ossobuco in an Italian service station can please, an ignorantly served hamburger can bring you to your knees. For me the whole thing about eating and drinking is whatever gives you pleasure, enjoyment and fun

Sadly Keith Floyd died of a heart attack at 66. From the book Floyd Uncorked by Jonathan Pedley with Keith Floyd

 

The land of potatoes and Guinness…and more Guinness

This stage Irish characterisation is taken from;  http://www.uncoverdiscover.com

The context; Top 10 beer drinking countries – Ireland is ranked 4th in the world. It continues;

So the stereotype of Paddy’s enjoying their Guinness does have some grounding then. With a per capita consumption of 104 litres, Ireland is firmly in 4th place in the list of top beer drinking countries in the world. Guinness sales top 1.5billion pints worldwide and we wonder how many are consumed by the natives themselves

We should thank Guinness for this then? No way. We grew up in a country where Guinness  is good for you. Your national pride was measured by how many pints you could drink. A mindset arrogantly nurtured by Guinness over generations.

You would think the natives would cop on by now? Not if Guinness have their way. Guinness alcohol is inseparably linked with sport, music, and anything close to the heart of the young Irish man. They continue to pour money into sponsorship

There is a change. Growing concern for one’s health. Alcohol is a serious threat

 

 

Your brain is your best friend

Your brain is your best friend, it controls everything you do, how you feel.

This is how it can make you happy, just by taking a little exercise;

“What triggers happiness in our brain when we exercise?

If you start exercising, your brain recognises this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain – Derived Neurothropic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also a reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and we have a happy sense of achievement”       Leo Widrich, blog.bufferapp.com

A half hour walk will do. While your brain accounts for only 2% of your body weight, it devours 20% of the energy. There’s a lot going on in there so it pays to look after your best friend. Here’s a list of top foods for the brain;

  1. Wholegrains
  2. Oily fish
  3. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants
  4. Tomatoes, avocados
  5. Water
  6. Dark chocolate
  7. Pumpkin seeds
  8. Broccoli
  9. Nuts

If you look after your brain  – your brain will look after you

Sound health!