When you’re all about living a healthy lifestyle, drinking alcohol might feel contradictory. Is it possible to do both? For people who drink, booze is a big part of socializing. It’s what we toast with at weddings, holidays, and even a casual Sunday brunch. Others like to reach for wine to celebrate a special occasion, whether it’s an anniversary or surviving a long and stressful week. Unsurprisingly, you may feel wary about abstaining completely.
Here’s some good news: You don’t have to! It’s possible to enjoy alcohol and be healthy. Moderation, as you know, is everything. That counts as 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.1 But that’s just one part of the game, because it also matters what you’re actually drinking.
1. Sulfur-Free Red Wine
If you’re looking for a buzz, you might as well get a generous dose of antioxidants. Enter red wine, a drink that’s known for potential heart benefits. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, relaxes blood vessels, reduces platelet accumulation, and increases “good” HDL cholesterol.2
Opt for red wine without sulfites, a type of food preservative. Many people are actually hypersensitive to the compound. Asthmatic adult women are most likely to be affected, causing symptoms like hives, wheezing, nausea, and stomach pain.3 4 As always, when possible, go organic!
For a drink that packs a punch, order sake. This Japanese wine is made from fermented rice and can be served hot or cold.5 A little goes a long way, so you won’t need much to feel the effects.
Like red wine, opt for organic if it’s available. This is the best way to ensure that the rice is free of chemicals and pesticides.
3. Fruit Cocktail
Never underestimate the power of fruit. Liquor, seltzer, and a splash of pineapple or cranberry juice makes for a low-calorie drink. Even better, muddle fresh fruit in club soda and use as a mixer.
On hot and humid days, cool down with a slushie with fruit, ice, and a shot of liquor.
4. Honey Mead
Honey mead might be an ancient drink, but it sure is delicious! Instead of fermented grains and grapes, mead uses honey as a source of sugar. You’ll get an awesome dose of anti-inflammatory properties.
Don’t buy just any mead, though. Cheap honey often has added sugar, so look for a dependable brand that uses high-quality honey.6
While kombucha isn’t the life of a party, it does contain some alcohol. This fermented tea drink supports immunity, energy, and bacterial gut balance. It will even enhance the body’s ability to detoxify and get rid of waste.7 Just don’t drink too much too fast. If your stomach isn’t used to probiotics, you might find yourself running for the bathroom.
You can also make drinks healthier by adding herbs or honey. These ingredients will add flavor without the calories! Consider making smaller servings, and add ice to make the glass seem fuller than it really is. But remember, even these drinks need to be consumed in moderation. A high alcohol intake can lead to a host of problems, so be mindful.
|↑1||Alcohol and Heart Health. American Heart Association.|
|↑2||Saleem, TS Mohamed, and S. Darbar Basha. “Red wine: a drink to your heart.” Journal of cardiovascular disease research 1, no. 4 (2010): 171-176.|
|↑3||https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfitehttps://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfite#section=Tophttps://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfite" href="https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfite#section=Tophttps://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfite" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sulfite. National Center for Biotechnology Information.|
|↑4||Yang, William H., and Emerson CR Purchase. “Adverse reactions to sulfites.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 133, no. 9 (1985): 865.|
|↑5||Tokuoka, Masafumi, Chihiro Honda, Akira Totsuka, Hitoshi Shindo, and Masaru Hosaka. “Analysis of the oligosaccharides in Japanese rice wine, sake, by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography–time-of-flight/mass spectrometry.” Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering (2017).|
|↑6||Pereira, Ana Paula, Teresa Dias, João Andrade, Elsa Ramalhosa, and Letícia M. Estevinho. “Mead production: Selection and characterization assays of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains.” Food and chemical toxicology 47, no. 8 (2009): 2057-2063.|
|↑7||Vīna, Ilmāra, Pāvels Semjonovs, Raimonds Linde, and Ilze Deniņa. “Current evidence on physiological activity and expected health effects of kombucha fermented beverage.” Journal of medicinal food 17, no. 2 (2014): 179-188.|