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This is why we tend to drink more alcohol in winter

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New research has revealed a link between seasonality and drinking habits.

Ever wondered why you find yourself particularly craving a glass of the strong stuff on a random November weekday? Regular old Christmas jollity may be partly to blame, but that’s not all.

A new study published in the Hepatology journal, has exposed a link between seasonality and how much we drink. 

Indeed, based on data from 193 countries, all signs lead to there being a higher occurrence of binge drinking and liver disease in colder climates.

Professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Raman Bataller, explains: “It’s something that everyone assumed for decades, but no one has scientifically demonstrated it”.

Information was also gleaned from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation.

In case you were wondering about the science behind this connection, it’s simple – booze tends to warm you up, quite literally. Alcohol is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes blood vessels, increasing the flow of warm blood to the skin. This may be the reason we feel a little flushed when drinking, and also explains the toastiness that tends to accompany tipsiness. 

Anyone who has seen post-New Years pictures of of the UK’s bigger cities won’t be surprised to hear that we Brits are counted amongst those to demonstrate a higher alcohol intake in colder months.

The country with the highest levels of binge-drinking was named as Belarus, where the sun is hardly glimpsed between November and February. An average citizen will, according to figures, consume 17.5 litres of alcohol a year.

Of course, fewer sunlight hours and cooler temperatures have long been linked to depression which, in turn is known to be connected to an increase in drinking.

Bataller told the Pittsburgh Tribute Review: “Knowing that colder places have more drink-related problems could be helpful to the efforts in these areas to determine better policies. If you have a genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse, maybe you should avoid super cold areas”.

With the festive season almost upon us, remember: everything in moderation. 

Main image: Unsplash

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