For many of us, any holiday or celebration brings with it an additional abundance of alcohol. Who doesn’t want to cheers to the New Year or raise a glass to Independence Day?
We already know that alcohol can interfere with your sleep, impair your digestion, and mess with your metabolism. So if you’re going to indulge, what can you do to be a little bit healthier as you sip your beverage while sitting on the boat or watching the fireworks? We’ve got five tips for drinking healthier this holiday.
5 Tips for Drinking Healthier
1. Drink Water Alongside Your Alcohol
It’s an old adage that actually rings true: Drinking water before, during, and after you imbibe helps your body process alcohol. It keeps you hydrated (alcohol is a dehydrator), and gives your liver time to metabolize the alcohol. We recommend at least two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume—and make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach too.
2. Skip Premade Mixers In Favor of Homemade Drinks
Yes, it’s a little more work to make a margarita from scratch, but that extra effort is worth it to your body. Premade mixers are often chock-full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, artificial coloring, and other unnecessary ingredients that add to the load your body has to process (and it’s already working overtime on the alcohol).
3. Use Fruit In Place of Artificial Sugar
Speaking of made-from-scratch drinks, choosing fruit as a sweetener for your beverages instead of artificial sweeteners is a great way to help balance out the alcohol. Fruit is naturally high in antioxidants, which neutralize the destructive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive oxygen molecules which damage DNA and cell membranes. They’ve been linked to a wide range of diseases and are thought to be one of the chief causes of aging.
Because alcohol itself can facilitate cell damage, including fruit in your cocktail won’t make your beverage a healthy drink—but it can help cancel out some of alcohol’s effects.
4. Look for Organic and Natural Brands of Alcohol
Clean alcohol is actually a thing. There are companies producing wines that have low amounts of sulfites, are naturally or biodynamically farmed, are gluten free, and are without all the additives! If wine is your go-to, try one that is toxin free.
Same goes for liquor. Find a brand that’s organic to help eliminate the side toxins you might be absorbing in brands that are non-organic.
5. Avoid Alcohol In Plastic Bottles
Alcohol often lives in its container for longer than other products we consume, whether that’s on the shelf or in your liquor cabinet. That’s why choosing alcohol that’s bottled in glass instead of plastic can actually have a positive impact on your health.
Glass is more impermeable than plastic, making it better for long-term storage, and less likely to leech anything into the alcohol itself.
Plus, plastic is potentially hazardous to your health in other ways. To make plastic hard and shiny, manufacturers often use bisphenol-A or BPA, a compound that has come under fire for its toxicity. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it can disrupt normal hormone function and lead to a slew of dangerous health issues. For instance, studies have linked the compound to breast cancer.
If bottles are exposed to heat (like sitting out in the sun), they’re more likely to break down and release BPA faster. Instead, skip the plastic and choose glass alcohol bottles.
Indulging in alcohol doesn’t have to ruin your weekend or your health. You can support your body by choosing both moderation and eliminating other contributing factors—all while still enjoying a well-crafted, celebratory drink.
Dr. Cassie Wilder is a registered Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and founder of MIMC. Her passion is empowering her patients through education, understanding, and support through their healing journey. After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Health, Dr. Wilder earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ. During her clinical training, she received extensive hands-on training with many leading experts in the field of functional medicine and developed a passion for treating hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular concerns, and adrenal fatigue.