Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day—In Moderation
Our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have looked different during the pandemic. Instead of crowding into a pub for a corned beef dinner, many people opted for take out. Some clever folks festooned their leprechaun decorations with facemasks, which makes sense: staying safe isn’t just a matter of luck!
But what about that green beer? St. Patrick’s Day is one of those occasions when Americans tend to drink a bit too much, right up there with New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo. So if you’re going to take part in the wearin’ o’ the green, don’t overdo the drinkin’ of the green (beer, that is). And on St. Paddy’s Day 2022, this warning is even more pertinent. Experts report that alcohol sales have increased by 262% since the beginning of the pandemic, giving rise to the coined word “quarantini.”
While some studies suggest that consuming a small amount of alcohol might offer health benefits, others research suggests otherwise. But all experts agree that overconsumption of alcohol can be very bad for our health. Drinking too much raises the risk of liver disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and depression. It also makes it more likely that we will have an accident while driving, or suffer a serious fall injury.
If protecting your health isn’t enough motivation, consider yet another term for our times: the Quarantine 15. Many Americans have been packing on the pounds during lockdown with comfort eating, getting less exercise—and yes, drinking more. Alcoholic beverages have a lot of calories! Here are a few examples from the National Institutes of Health:
|Beer (12 oz.)||153|
|Wine (red or white; 5 oz.)||125|
|Port (2 oz.)||90|
|Spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila; 1.5 oz.)||98|
|Martini (2.25 oz.)||130|
|Margarita (4 oz.)||168|
|Piña colada (9 oz.)||490|
So if you still want to fit into your leprechaun costume next March 17, keep track of how much you drink, and do the math … and increase your luck by cutting back.
A Note for Older Drinkers
Even before the pandemic, studies showed that seniors today are drinking more alcohol. If you’re an older adult, remember that the overall effects of alcohol may be even greater for you. As we grow older, our bodies contain less water, so each drink results in a higher blood alcohol concentration than it did when we were younger. And remember that many of the prescription and nonprescription drugs seniors take are dangerous when taken with alcohol.
So this St. Patrick’s Day, stick to no more than two drinks if you’re a man, or one if you’re a woman. Better yet, have a non-alcoholic green beer or a shamrock mocktail!