Sorry to be a Buzz Killington, but someone’s gotta say it.
Despite what the media has tried to tell us over the years, we are saddened to say that alcohol simply isn’t good for us. No, red wine is not a heart-healthy elixir (you’d have to drink over 500 liters of wine per day to reap the antioxidant-related benefits of resveratrol). And no, drinking does not lower your stress or help you sleep.
In fact, quite the opposite.
Here are a few not-so-fun facts: in addition to the well-known effects of liver damage, alcohol also increases the risk of heart disease and heart-related complications, like high blood pressure and stroke.
Chronic drinking can seriously mess with your gut, causing inflammation and microbiome dysbiosis (i.e., a disturbance in the gut).
And here’s a really scary one: alcohol is one of the biggest, not-talked-about risk factors for cancer—especially breast cancer, as women who have just three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of developing it.
But let’s be real—as 60% of Americans are still on the booze train, it’s unrealistic that we’ll all become sober Sallies overnight. So, are there ways we can drink in a more healthy way?
Glad you asked!
Gonna Drink? Let’s Do It Healthier
First things first: you know it wouldn’t be an article about alcohol if the “m” word wasn’t used—moderation. What exactly does moderate drinking entail?
For men, you’re looking at a maximum of two drinks in a day, and women get a measly one.
And “drink” equates to 5oz of wine, 1.5oz of hard booze, or 12oz of a 5% beer.
So, if we are going to drink moderately, what’s the healthiest way to do it?
Here are some tips:
- Avoid sugary mixes like juice, soda, and tonic water that add dozens of grams of sugar and contribute to the dreaded hangover.
- Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
- Opt for lower-calorie drinks like dry wine, champagne, tequila, vodka, or lighter beer (some beers can exceed the four-hundo calorie mark, BTW).
- Supplement with liver-loving compounds like B vitamins, NAC, and milk thistle.
- Oh, and stay off your phone—nothing says regret like something you posted on your Instagram story at 2 am.