Consumer Reports: Be careful not to self-soothe with booze

One glass may be less than you think

SAN ANTONIO – In these anxious times, booze is seeing a bump.

Sales of alcohol for home consumption were up 22% in March alone as people began dealing with job losses and stay-at-home orders. Coping with all the worries the pandemic brings, along with family stress and just plain boredom may lead light to moderate drinkers to overindulge. And that can lead to more than a headache.

“Heavy drinking is obviously not healthy and can damage the liver and heart and can cause other health problems,” said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports’ health editor. “But even moderate drinking may be harmful over time, increasing the risk for some cancers and affecting the good gut bacteria and their ability to protect against illness.”

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Even small amounts of alcohol can interact with some medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

How much is too much? For most people, a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, or on a Zoom call with friends, is generally fine, according to CR. But they recommend women try to stick with no more than one glass a day, while men should limit alcohol to no more than two glasses a day.

Exactly what defines one drink is probably less than you think: 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine, or 1.5 ounces for a shot of spirits. Wine glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so be careful eyeballing it.

And maybe skip that extra glass of wine before bed, even though as many as 20% of Americans have said they use alcohol to fall asleep.

“Alcohol may help you nod off, but it interferes with brain changes that occur in the later stages of sleep. So you might not sleep as well, or you may even wake up in the middle of the night,” Calvo said.

While you’re pouring, remember to drink water. Good hydration helps your cells function and your body eliminate waste, which enables your immune system to work better. Drinking water can help prevent headaches and even boost your mood.

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