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3- To Stay Healthy When Drinking Alcohol

Whether you are going out for a night with friends or have a special occasion on the rise, there is a good chance alcohol will be in the picture. Although we may be told to avoid alcohol when adjusting to a healthy lifestyle, there are ways to make healthy choices and enjoy alcoholic beverages too. So how do we do this? In a few simple ways. — Prepare, Choose Wisely, and Replenish. 

Preparation is key

I’m sure you’ve heard that before, preparation is key, but when it comes to consuming alcohol and not feeling crapy the next day that could not be more true. Alcohol is a diuretic, that means it causes your body to remove fluids from the blood through your renal system at a much quicker rate than other liquids. For this reason, alcohol can dehydrate you and if you are already dehydrated from not drinking enough water throughout the day, you can become dehydrated quickly which is no bueno. Always aim for 2-3 liters of water per day, especially when you plan to consume alcohol.

Alcohol slowly gets metabolized by the body, at the rate of one drink per hour. That’s one glass of wine, one glass of beer, or one shot per hour. One way I like to natural slow down when I drink is to alternate every drink with water or dilute it with water so it lasts longer. This also helps on the hydration front I mentioned above.

Additionally, there are some things that you can do before going out to help your body with the metabolism of alcohol or lessen the effects of oxidative stressed on the liver caused by alcohol.

  • TIP 1: Eat probiotic foods. Probiotic foods have been shown to be key players in the elimination of toxins from the body. Try having a tbsp or two of fermented vegetables before you go out. Fermented foods are also great the morning after to help with a hangover.
  • TIP 2: Sip on green tea the morning of. Green tea is high in antioxidants, ones specifically shown to protect the liver from oxidative stress due to alcohol.
  • TIP 3: Take Chlorella. Chlorella is an ancient micro-algae that contains more chlorophyll than any other plant on Earth. It has been shown to remove a various amount of toxins from the body including those found in alcoholic drinks. I personally take 2-3 tablets of Organic Burst Chlorella every time I go out when I know I could potentially have a drink. Note: not all chlorella is created equal and it is important to know your source and source optimally when consuming this superfood. 

Choose wisely  

Not all alcohol is created equal and there are ways to choose wisely.

If you are someone who is trying to drop a few pounds or regular your blood sugar levels it’s best to avoid wine and beer which tend to be higher in sugar. Clear tequila, vodka, or mezcal are better options. It is also important to try to stay clear of sugary cocktails and mixers. If you are switching to a good quality tequila but then ordering a sugary margarita than you are defeating the purpose. Order a tequila on the rocks or with bitters, seltzer, or soda water for a better low sugar choice.

Wine. Wine may be “higher in sugar” but wine has its benefits too. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found very potently in wine which carries many heart healthy benefits. Additionally, Quercetin, another flavonoid present in red wine, has proved to promote heart health by regulating blood pressure levels. So where do the cons out weight the pro’s?… When you drink too much. If red wine is consumed in large amounts it can have opposite affects. Research shows that most benefits typically come from drinking a glass of red wine one or two times per week, in small quantities, and when it is organic and biodynamic. Yes, there is such thing as too much of a good thing and with wine you can go from 0-100 real quick. When we think of all the benefits that come from wine we do see them coming from the high amounts of antioxidants but with antioxidants present in wine also comes sugar and alcohol. If you drink, try sticking to 4-6 ounces of red wine only a couple times per week and practice some of the tips in this blog to protect the liver from the alcohol.

Replenish

The “replenish” phase should ideally happen before you go to bed. Many people wait until the morning of to cure a hangover but why not try to prevent one in the first place. Whether you were a grade A student and took my advice on all the tips above or went out and YOLO’d and drank your heart out… the replenishment phase is just as important.

Before going to bed I recommend hydrating more. Kudos to you if you rotated your alcoholic beverages with water but it never hurts to sip on a little more before you hit the sheets. As I mentioned above, alcohol is a diuretic and it does dehydrate you so boost that glass of water with some electrolytes to really replenish and hydrate. I like to keep nuun electrolyte tablets at home, but you could also use a pinch of sea salt with a small squeeze of lemon to serve the same purpose. Another thing I do before I go to bed is take 2-3 more tablets of chlorella. As I mentioned above, chlorella helps you metabolize alcohol faster by supporting liver function. Chlorella is also high in certain nutrients like Vitamins B6, B12 and iron which can be lost when consuming alcohol.

The next morning I recommend starting your day with lemon water and an alkalizing green smoothie. Lemon water supports the liver and assists in gentle detoxification. Alkalizing greens can help your body reset its mineral levels and treat your liver. Throughout the day I also recommend upping your greens, especially asparagus. Asparagus has been shown to protect liver cells after consuming alcohol. If you had a crazy night out and omitted any of the recommendations I gave above then you are most likely waking up hungover, feeling nauseous, and not really thinking about eating or getting down a smoothie. I’ve been there. What I have found has worked for me is to sip on a miso salty rich broth. This is the ultimate back up plan but miso soup can really do the trick if you loose control.

Ultimately, there are ways to consume alcohol on an occasion and still stay healthy. Next time you go out try these simple Prepare, Choose Wisely, and Replenish steps to optimize your health while doing so.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023893/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165230/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28521683

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20391297

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