Friday, May 20, 2022

Want to live longer? Start drinking!

People who don’t drink tend to die sooner than those who do, this according to a paper published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, says TIME Magazine.

Results of this research may well be a spot of good news for the local alcohol industry, long buffeted by complaints that alcohol bingeing has got out of hand. The Office of the President has come out strongly about alcohol being public enemy number 1.

Botswana has of late imposed a heavy alcohol levy on alcoholic beverages in a bid to reduce drinking, widely associated with many social ills such as road accidents through drunken driving, rape, assault and verbal abuse. Alcohol has also been pinpointed as the cause of various diseases and poor work performance. Consumption of alcohol has also been banned from big local events such as the Toyota 1000 Dessert Race, a development which infuriated many.

The research reveals that even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risks of cirrhosis and several types of cancer, heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who don’t drink, even if they never had a problem with alcohol. One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. It goes on to reveal that nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to let go and party.

According to TIME Magazine, the authors of the paper are, however, careful enough to caution that though drinking is associated with longer life, it can be equally dangerous. They note that alcohol can severely impair memory, leading to nonlethal falls and other mishaps that can screw up your life (like, cheating on your partner in a drunken haze). The authors also identify the dependency issue ÔÇô if you become addicted to alcohol and spend your life in a drunken stupor, you may spend a long time trying to quit.

The paper seems to advocate instead for moderate drinking, which it says can improve heart health, blood circulation as well as sociability. Apparently all these are important because people who are isolated don’t have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems. In most cases these benefits arise for people who drink red wine. Moderate drinking is viewed as having between one to three drinks per day, and moderate drinkers have the lowest mortality rates.

Following the release of this study the alcohol debates are expected to continue. Whatever the outcome, it seems the embattled alcohol industry may have a case after all.

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Read this week's paper