As a nutritionist, the two questions I get most often, especially around festive holidays, are about alcohol: “How much can I have?” and “Which is the healthiest?” Here’s an example of texts that I frequently get from clients: “Alright, I decided that I want to have a drink tonight. I can have tequila, I can have vodka, I can have champagne, or I can have wine — what can I drink that won’t plump up my middle and give me a hangover?”
If you choose to have a drink, you definitely want to be smart about not just how much you drink, but also what your drink — or drinks — of choice will be.
Straight Down the Pipe
Be it a shot of tequila, vodka, or gin — with lemon or lime, of course — all three are much better choices than mixed sugary drinks. Keep in mind that the clearer the color of the alcohol, the friendlier it is on the liver.
Stirred or Shaken
If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a benefit to having a mixed drink over a shot of something, it only goes as far as making it more pleasant to your palate. Often, it’s the sugars in mixed drinks that make you feel sick, so the less you do of that, the better you’ll feel.
Red or White
When it comes to wine and making a healthy choice, color really does matter.
Red wine is commonly touted as one of those good-for-you drinks, but to get any worthwhile health benefits (it contains resveratrol, an amazing antioxidant that’s good for your heart), you’d have to drink 50 gallons. It’ll take you much longer to rid your body of the 74 chemicals, added sugars, and mold than it would take you to drink all that wine.
Instead, opt for white wine. Much more refreshing during the hot summer months, white wine also has a lower mold content, thus making it much better for your metabolism.
There is one way to get around it, however. Look for dry-farmed wines at your local wine shop. These wines are free of chemicals, added sugars, and mold, and best of all, they come in both red and white varietals.
BONUS POINTS: If you can find a yellow band at the top of the bottle, that means the alcohol was designated for drinking in Europe and is required to meet higher standards than wines the US imports from Europe.
Perhaps nothing beats a cold beer on a hot day, but if your top priority is health and not taste, it’s best to stay away, as beer has the most toxins of any common alcoholic beverage. The rule of thumb is the darker the brew, the more mold it contains.
Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink, because everyone knows that alcohol makes you pee more frequently. Most people think it’s because alcohol is a diuretic, and they’re right, alcohol tells the kidneys to absorb less water. However, most people don’t know that beer and wine trigger even more frequent urination because they’re unfiltered drinks that contain a lot of toxins from the fermentation process. Since your body really doesn’t want to store those toxins in your kidneys, where they could cause damage, the easiest way to dispose of them is to pee.