While moderate alcohol consumption can have some health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, we all know alcohol is not a healthy choice. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) But it is summer—the season of frosé—so let’s be realistic. If you are going to indulge in happy hour here and there, there’s a right way (keep reading) and there’s a wrong way (shots). Read on to learn how to drink without derailing your otherwise healthy lifestyle.
Fill Your Stomach
Drinking on an empty stomach is trouble waiting to happen. Before consuming alcohol, make sure you fuel up on good quality protein like fish, vegetables, quinoa, nuts, or eggs. If you have protein in your stomach, the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly, keeping your blood alcohol content (BAC) low.
Keep It Clear
If you plan to have more than a couple drinks, go with a clear spirit instead of a dark one. Dark liquors like whiskey and brandy have higher concentrations of congeners, which are toxic compounds formed during fermentation. These pesky compounds can increase the severity of hangovers.
Many cocktails and mixers are notoriously high in sugar. Consumption of sugar can not only increase the risk of hangovers after drinking, but more importantly, it can raise blood pressure, cause insulin resistance, disrupt your metabolism, and contribute to all sorts of diseases, including diabetes and obesity. When you’re selecting your drink of choice, avoid cocktails with pre-made mixers and with added sugar, honey, agave syrup, and the like. When in doubt, order a “skinny” version of your preferred drink, which generally won’t have sugar.
Just Add Water
Alcohol is dehydrating, so if you can, choose a cocktail that has water or sparkling water in it, such as vodka soda or a wine spritzer. This way, you’ll foil the dehydrating effects of alcohol with the water you drink. With no sugar or sweeteners and a subtle natural fruit flavor, hint fizz® is an easy and delicious mixer for practically every spirit under the sun—just use a 1:1 ratio.
In addition to choosing a cocktail with water in it, you should also hydrate with a glass of water in between each drink—keep a bottle of hint® handy when you’re drinking.
Alcohol also depletes electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium, so it’s a good idea to refuel after a night out. Most sports drinks and coconut water marketed as high in electrolytes are notoriously laden with sugar and sweeteners. Healthier sources of electrolytes are bone broth and bananas, which are rich in potassium and magnesium.
Take Your Vitamins
When you drink alcohol, your body is depleted of B vitamins. If you have more than one or two drinks, take a B complex both before and after drinking—just don’t overdo it, as exceeding your recommended daily intake of vitamins is also not a good idea.
What are your tips and tricks for drinking in moderation? Share below.