New evidence suggests that one to two new cases of cancer in 2020 were linked to one to two drinks per day.
Has the occasional glass of wine on the weekend turned into a night or two during the pandemic? Do you have a regular happy hour to unwind after work? Or a daily beer after being on the hill?
If so, you’re probably not alone, but you might want to consider a proposal for cuts in 2022.
While at first, it was thought that a little alcohol couldn’t hurt you, research is showing that it isn’t.
“Now, with new evidence, it is actually showing one in all new cancer cases in 2020 – 100,000 new cancer cases worldwide – are for people who drink only mild to moderate. So, one per day Two drinks from,” said Sandra Gentle, registered dietitian with BC Cancer. “Basically with alcohol, there is no safe level for cancer risk.”
Gentleman explained that alcohol can increase the level of estrogen circulating in the bloodstream. For example, it increases the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian and endometrial.
“All cancer risk increases with any alcohol,” she said. “Why this happens is that the ethanol in alcohol breaks down into a known carcinogen that damages DNA. It’s called acetaldehyde and it’s a carcinogen that’s in your body’s bloodstream. Alcohol breaks down, and then this DNA And it also impairs the body’s ability to break down and absorb important good nutrients that protect against cancer.”
The body is trying very hard to remove alcohol from the blood. This is its priority because it is a carcinogen, she explained.
And so your liver isn’t working on other things, like lowering your cholesterol, for example.
Along with this new research showing a link between alcohol and cancer, other studies suggest that the pandemic has led to more drinking.
The Canadian Center on Substance Abuse and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada found that in 2020, one in three respondents using alcohol reported an increase in use and one in five reported problematic use.
Gentleman said the concern is that new drinking habits are being formed that go beyond the temporary stress of dealing with the pandemic.
Gentleman added that people who prefer an after-work drink can swap out some alcoholic beverages for mocktails or spitzers or near-beer.
If drinking at night is for self-care, perhaps going in a bath, book or yoga is an option, she said.
If the purpose of drinking red wine at night is to increase your iron, eat meats — chicken, fish — or nuts and seeds and whole grains, as well as foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli or peppers, which help your gut absorb iron. and is a healthier alternative to alcohol.
“So, for example, if you’ve ate it like a spaghetti meal, you’ve got a good source of iron in the noodles. And then you’ve got tomato sauce, [which] Rich in Vitamin C. And yet if you have some meat—chicken or something—it also has a good, good amount of iron and you’ll absorb it,” she said.
If you drink red wine because you think it helps your heart, swap red wine for blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, with any foods that have bright colors, such as eggplant, red Cabbage or cauliflower.
She admitted that during the pandemic most of us are already realizing that we can’t do a lot of the things we want to do, so she said she’s not saying never drink alcohol. Instead, she’s saying try to reduce the amount wherever your baseline is.
“It’s just to be aware that there is no safe level of alcohol. It’s like candy. I mean, you’re going to eat it anyway, but you know it’s not good for you. It’s nothing Has been doing [good]But it is a treat. And even with wine,” she said, adding to knowledge is power.
“If you know that … you have a family history of cancer — hormonal cancer, or liver and esophageal and head-neck, oral, pancreatic — …. your risk goes up a bit more when you drink. “
plus to tap out
She added that not drinking much alcohol can have immediate benefits.
For example, when you don’t drink alcohol, you get better deep and REM sleep.
Drinking less alcohol will also help with energy levels during the day and may help manage weight.
“Alcohol has calories, but even so, when you’re drinking, the inhibitions are reduced, and so you can eat in the evening,” she said. “It affects your weight gain, and it also increases your cancer risk. So, I mean, of course, there’s a ripple effect, and it’s all connected.”
He said the start of the new year is a good opportunity to re-evaluate alcohol consumption.
“It’s a good time to rethink our habits, and this is one of them. Because if we’re looking for long-term health and a good immune system and getting stronger and healthier, that’s one aspect,” she said. .
For more information about alcohol and cancer, visit BC Cancer.