Fun fact: St. Patrick’s Day was once a dry holiday. For most of the 20th century all of the pubs were closed on that day because it was considered a religious observance. It wasn’t until the 21st century that it started becoming largely commercially driven.
While some of us may be Googling how many drops of food coloring is needed to make green beer, I just wanted to take a moment to remind you of some of the not-so-great things that can happen to our bodies when we over-indulge on alcohol.
The Short Term--Drinking Too Much In One Sitting
- Lowered inhibitions, could make you have poor social judgement
- Loss of coordination
- Dulled perception
- Increased blood pressure and faster heart rate
- Passing out
The Long Term--Drinking Too Much Over Time
- Liver inflammation, scarring, and eventual cirrhosis
- Digestive system issues-eventually your intestines could be less able to digest important nutrients causing malnutrition, which can lead to problems with blood production, immune system issues, and brain damage
- Increase your risk for diabetes
- Central Nervous System issues
- Problems with your circulatory system-increased risk for blood clots, stroke, heart attack or other heart disease
- Reproductive health problems
- Weak bones and muscles
- Increased Risk of Cancer
Wait, Can It Affect My Fitness Goals?
The answer is, it can if you drink too much. If you are trying to manage your weight, know that alcohol contains calories and needs to be monitored along with the rest of your food and beverage intake to make sure you aren’t taking in too much. If you are trying to get stronger, alcohol impairs the process your muscles go through to get that way.
Binge drinking can also increase your cortisol levels, a hormone that destroys muscle. In terms of athletic performance, well, it’s probably best to stay away from alcohol before you are trying to improve a certain performance measure or compete because of all of the short-term effects listed above. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic which means it increases the rate at which our body eliminates fluids, all of which the body needs for proper hydration.
Long Story Short...
If you're going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day like we do in the 21st century, do so in moderation! Stick to drinking only 1-2 drinks per hour and make sure to drink lots of water (no, the water in beer does not count!) and make sure to eat real food!
Here are some ideas for non-alcoholic St. Patrick's Day drinks if you want to give them a whirl.