A beer or two – but no more: Study finds drinking more than 10g per day compromises cognitive function

Beer drinkers need to closely monitor their daily alcohol intake because according to a new study, drinking "more than a third of a pint of beer a day impairs people's response time."

The reports of a study published in the United Kingdom reveals that drinking more than 10 grams (g) (or a unit) of beer daily will greatly decrease one's cognitive function. The study authors also note that "alcohol's negative health effects worsen as people age."

The U.K. Department of Health cautions that adults must drink "no more than 16 g of alcohol a day to avoid its negative health effects." This is equal to two units of beer, or with one unit being equivalent to "a third of a pint of beer or half a standard glass of wine."

But according to the researchers, it would be safer to consume only 10 g per day. Drinking at least one unit means that adults are only consuming "a safer upper limit."

Studying the effects of daily booze consumption

For the study, researchers from Oxford University looked into the alcohol drinking habits of 13,342 individuals aged 40 to 72 years old from 2006 to 2010. The alcohol consumption of the participants was recorded through questionnaires and interviews.

The participants' cognitive abilities were measured via a short test done on a computer. They were shown two cards at the same time, and the participants had to answer quickly if the images onscreen were the same. The study's findings were published in the Journal of Public Health.

Study author Professor Simon Moore warns that the public must be properly educated about the extent of the damage that alcohol consumption can do to our health. He adds that people need to know about the growing evidence that points to the dangers of alcohol before they decide how much is safe to drink. (Related: Drinking Beer Linked to Psoriasis)

Foods that can help reduce alcohol cravings

If you're having a hard time resisting alcohol cravings, try eating more of the foods listed below:

  • Complex carbohydrates -- If you're a heavy alcohol drinker, chances are "your body has been conditioned to use simple carbohydrates as your major energy source." Removing or reducing your alcohol consumption will make your body crave carbohydrates or, specifically, sugar. Eat more fiber-rich complex carbohydrates like those in wholemeal pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, vegetables, legumes, and wholegrain bread. When these carbs are released slowly into your bloodstream, your blood sugar levels will remain steady and you can keep the cravings away longer.
  • Bananas and sunflower seeds -- After making your dopamine levels rise, "prolonged alcohol use deteriorates this ‘happy’ chemical in the brain." Drinkers will need more alcohol to get the same boost, and they can feel anxious when craving alcohol. Eat bananas and sunflower seeds to naturally increase dopamine levels. Bananas also increase serotonin in the brain, which reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Green vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens -- Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas, bananas, oranges, and melons are full of vitamin B, which can help fight alcohol cravings and addiction. Vitamin B helps you fight fatigue, boosts red blood cell production for brain and heart function, and it is needed during digestion because it metabolizes nutrients.
  • Good quality proteins - Protein aids in many bodily functions like muscle and tissue growth and restoration, and it can greatly affect your mood, quality of sleep, and digestion. Good protein sources include chicken and fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Vegetarian options include walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and peanut butter.
  • Fresh spinach and parsley - L-Glutamine is an amino-acid that is a great energy source for the brain. It can also improve sleep quality, decrease anxiety, and reduce alcohol cravings by reducing sugar cravings. L-Glutamine is found naturally in uncooked and fresh spinach and parsley, which are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibers that can help control metabolism.

You can learn about other research findings on food and beverages and how they affect us at Research.news.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

GoodbyeDrinking.com

TheSun.co.uk

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