Avoid alcohol during Holi celebrations

Consumption of alcohol during Holi can be dangerous. It makes one prone to accidents and people who drink may end up quarrelling with each other unnecessarily, said Padma Shri, Dr. B C Roy National Awardee & DST National Science Communication Awardee, Dr. K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and Sr National Vice President Indian Medical Association. There is no evidence that people who do not drink should drink during Holi. For social drinking, one should restrict the intake to less than 80 grams per week or 80 ml per day.

Alcohol impairs the intellect, which in turn impairs the power to judge individuals and discriminate between the opposites. The impairment in judgment can also lead to errors while driving leading to fatal accidents.

Three to four drinks are sufficient to raise the blood pressure to dangerously high levels in susceptible individuals. In patients who are prone to heart attacks, this dangerous rise in blood pressure can precipitate heart attack, paralysis and brain hemorrhage. The incidence of paralytic attacks is found to be high within 24 hours of heavy drinking.

Binge drinking (more than 5 pegs in one hour or six pegs in a day) is also associated with irregular heartbeats and increased incidence of sudden death. Heart and high blood pressure patients are therefore specifically cautioned not to indulge into heavy drinking.

Drinking one peg of alcohol (one ounce) in one hour can still be considered as safe (social drinking) as this amount of alcohol can be totally metabolized by the liver during one hour.

Consuming six tablets of paracetamol with alcohol, which is a common practice to reduce the hangover particularly by women, can produce fatal liver damage. Taking aspirin to reduce the hangover can also produce fatal hemorrhage in the stomach and hence should be avoided. The festival of Holi is to share happiness with each other while forgetting all the differences.

Similarly, the practice of consuming bhang, which can cause impairment in judgment and brain functioning, should also be avoided.

Those who cannot restrict their alcohol intake should only take red wine as it contains antioxidants, polyphenols that slow cell deterioration. They also prevent plaque build-up and inhibit platelet formation. Natural sources of polyphenols are grape seeds, grape skin, aloe vera, green tea, chocolate and cocoa. The types of polyphenols in cocoa are flavonoids and flavanols, and contain catechins, epicatechins, and procyandins.