As the summer approaches, we wanted to take the time to share more information on a controversial topic. You may have heard over the last few years that drinking alcohol in moderation (especially red wine) is good for your health. While one drink per day for women and two per day for men is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and possibly diabetes, there are many risks involved with alcohol as well.

When you drink more than the recommended one-two per day, any benefits you may have received are reversed, and you are at a greater risk for certain cancers, damage to vital organs (especially the liver), gastro-intestinal problems, and auto-immune disorders. Most often, when someone has one drink, inhibition decreases making it easier to say yes to a second and a third. In the short-term, this can lead to disturbed sleep, headaches, and nausea, but it can also lead to poor decisions like over-eating, or worse, getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.

Many of us use alcohol as a way to relax at the end of a busy day, and if you’re able to limit yourself to the recommended one for women and two for men, it’s ok to continue. But more evidence is suggesting that the benefits do not outweigh the risks, so if you don’t drink regularly or you have been thinking about stopping – that appears to be the healthiest idea.

*Are you worried about your drinking? Have you ever thought you should cut down, felt guilty about or annoyed by others’ criticism of your drinking, or do you frequently have a morning eye opener that’s unsettling for you? If so, reach out to friends and family for support in cutting back on alcohol. You can also find a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you.