Safe drinking over Christmas

Can we drink alcohol over Christmas and stay healthy?

With the party season in full swing it’s very easy to get caught up in a whirl wind of social engagements and the sound of popping champagne corks. Whilst Christmas is a time to let our hair down and enjoy the celebrations, making small simple changes to our choice of beverage can make the world of difference to how we feel the morning after!

The more frequently you drink alcohol and the more you drink to excess, the faster the detrimental effects will be to your health. Immediate signs of too much alcohol can be a hangover however long term effects can show as red cheeks, dilated capillaries, skin irritations, pigmentation, weight gain around the tummy and a lowered immune system. Drinking too much alcohol puts a strain on the liver and the entire cells of the body as toxicity results if the alcohol is not removed thoroughly from the system. This explains the hangover symptoms experienced from over indulging the night before.

Top tips to healthy drinking

Never drink on an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to be absorbed more quickly into the system resulting in faster intoxication and potential irritation to the stomach lining. Have a smoothie or a light snack before going out which will help to prevent blood sugar dips and excess eating after a few too many drinks.

Dilute your drinks. Try adding ice to drinks or a splash of mineral water to make the drink last longer. Adding ice to white wine can be very refreshing during the warmer months and the additional water helps to keep you hydrated.

Alternate drinks with a glass of water. Be sure to keep hydrated by having a glass of water in between drinks. This will slow down the rate of alcohol consumption and help you to pace yourself throughout the night.

Be mindful of drink top ups. It is very easy to lose track of how much you are drinking if you allow your drink to be regularly topped up. This is the quickest and easiest way to lose control of your drinking. Once you have finished a drink, have a glass of water and then take a fresh drink.

Choose clear spirits such as vodka and gin over the darker spirits such as whiskey and dark rum and avoid mixing drinks. This will minimise hang over side effects.

Avoid sugar laden soft drinks. Adding mixers to spirits really ups the sugar and calorie content of a drink so choose low sugar options where possible. Add sparkling mineral water with a dash of cranberry juice and lime, water infused with fruit or coconut water as a healthier alternative.

Minimise creamy, high sugar cocktails or ask for a low sugar option such as a decaf expresso martini without the additional sugar syrup or a mojito without the crushed sugar for example.

Larger and beer can be high in wheat, yeast and sugar which can cause bloating of the tummy. Experiment with gluten free and low carb beers and see how you go.

Enjoy all things in moderation. Have a little bit of everything and not too much of anyone thing. Christmas is about having fun and enjoying yourself after all.

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