What's your vice- liquor, wine, beer? Today, we're looking at the health implications of alcohol use and how alcohol consumption can fit into a healthy lifestyle if you so choose.
Would you be surprised if I told you that people who drink moderately (1-2 drinks per day maximum) actually have the lowest rates of morbidity and mortality (illness and death)?
Let's start off by saying that this is NOT true for all individuals. Below is an excerpt from one of my college textbooks about people who should use caution or avoid alcohol all together:
• Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed by some individuals, including those who cannot restrict their alcohol intake, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, individuals taking medications that can interact with alcohol, and those with specific medical conditions.
• Those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation—defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
• Alcoholic beverages should be avoided by individuals engaging in activities that require attention, skill, or coordination, such as driving or operating machinery.
-Krause's Food & the Nutrition Care Process, Mayhan, Raymond, 14th Edition
*I'd also like to add that if you can't control your actions when you consume alcohol (most likely due to binge drinking as mentioned above) and you act a fool every time you drink- you may consider limiting or avoiding alcohol, too.
Alcohol consumption can be extremely dangerous- consuming multiple drinks per day or going all week without a drink and then bingeing (5-10+ drinks) every weekend is not healthy for your liver, heart, or brain. If you prefer beer, your waistline may be in trouble too as hops used to brew beer are a highly estrogenic food and contribute to fat accumulation in the torso and chest.
Some people choose not to drink for personal or religious reasons, too- and that is ok. It's not your job to be the "fun police" and ask people why they're choosing not to drink.
Moral of the story- alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but it's not for everyone.
Moderate alcohol consumption actually has anti-inflammatory benefit
Some alcohol contains free radical (cancer) fighting antioxidants
Some alcoholic beverages contain ingredients that promote health (Bloody Mary, vodka cranberry)
Some alcoholic beverages can contribute to hydration based on their fluid content
Chronic overuse of alcohol can cause liver failure and mental decay
Too much alcohol can be pro-inflammatory
Some alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and can lead to insulin resistance
Alcohol is a diuretic, so if you don't consume enough fluid to replace what your body loses, you will become dehydrated (same goes for caffeine- neither are actually "dehydrating")
As with anything, there are pros and cons to drinking alcohol.
Since I love you, here is a "Nutritional Scientist Preferred" list of beverages. How does your favorite drink rank?!
You'll see that first on the list are mixed drinks that use real fruit, not much sweetener, and contain health promoting ingredients but leave out the other stuff.
To help you learn what that looks like (and how easy it can be!) I've created a special opportunity just for YOU!
Every Friday in May, you can get a new recipe sent to your email inbox for just $10!
We'll have alcoholic AND non-alcoholic options (fondly referred to as our "Health Elixirs") as well as recipe cards, grocery reminders, and a bonus drink to celebrate my birthday on 5/25 🥳
Join me in making healthier swaps in all areas of your life.
You'll have lifetime access to this course so you can come back at any time (trust me- these recipes will be ones you come back to again and again!!)
Healthier Happy Hour can help you feel even better about what you're putting into your body and how it can help you get closer to your health goals, wether that be preventing cancer, reducing your risk of stroke, or reaching your peak performance.
Sign up today and keep an eye on your email inbox next week!
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