Think before you drink urges former city footballer Darren Eadie
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The days when drinking was part of being a professional footballer are gone, says Darren Eadie.
This month's blog is all about alcohol. Coming from a professional footballing background I have to say there was quite a culture of drinking when I was playing regularly in the 90s. Players would go out and enjoy themselves, let their hair down and drinking was quite a big part of that.
These days it's changed massively, there's a lot more knowledge about the damage that alcohol can do to your body and professional footballers generally don't drink. They're athletes at the end of the day, and they want to set a good example so drinking is just not an option.
I don't actually like the taste of alcohol - I'm a super taster – google it if you want to know more about it! It means I have more taste buds than average and that could be why I don't really like the taste. I'll enjoy the odd drink at the weekend but once you get dragged in it can become a habit.
Alcohol is often associated with having a good time but that's not always the case. I know from experience if I've over indulged it's not just about having a hangover the next day, I'll feel anxious and down for two or three days after drinking. I personally hate the feeling afterwards more than the feeling of enjoyment of drinking itself and it's for that reason I don't really drink.
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Drinking alcohol is socially acceptable, often encouraged but it can also be damaging, causing issues such as liver disease, heart disease, mouth, stomach, liver and breast cancers. Most of the premature deaths due to liver disease caused by alcohol in Norfolk could have been prevented, and that's a fact.
Alcohol can also have a huge impact on your mental health and drinking is a known cause of depression. People drink to have fun and to relax but it doesn't always bring out your best side. Alcohol can often cause anti-social behaviour and accidents – in fact over a third of all A&E admissions are drink related.
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The way we consume alcohol in this country is pretty shocking really and binge drinking seems to be the norm. Men typically drink more than women although the recommended safe drinking amount is actually the same for both. We should be drinking no more than 14 units a week, spread over several days, ideally with a two-day break to let your body recover. Alcohol is a poison after all and your body needs a break to get it out of your system. This useful drink tracker helps you keep track of what you're drinking www.drinkaware.co.uk/tools/you. If you do think you might have a problem, help is out there (check out the links at the bottom of my blog).
So with Christmas almost here, most of us will be enjoying the odd drink or two. If you're having a drink try to keep within the 14 unit limit and give yourself a two day break to recover. If all else fails there's always Dry January – cutting out alcohol for a whole month is known to change the way you look at alcohol, it can help you kick the habit or at least reduce the amount you drink.
Merry Christmas and stay safe!
HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN YOUR DRINK?
A large glass (250ml) 13% ABV wine is equivalent to a mince pie with 228 calories.
A pint of 4% ABV beer is equivalent to two small sausage rolls with 197 calories.
A pint of 4.5% ABV cider is equivalent to a slice of Christmas cake with 210 calories.
One standard shot of 40% ABV vodka is equivalent to two squares of chocolate with 56 calories.
One 275ml bottle 4% ABV alcopop is equivalent to 24 chocolate buttons with 170 calories.
Darren is ambassador for Menkind, the Norfolk County Council campaign to encourage men in particular to look after their health. Read more at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/health-and-wellbeing/adults-health/mens-health-menkind