Are you able to drink alcohol while maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle consists of healthy habits or daily actions that support our wellness. But how does alcohol fit into this mix? Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle if you enjoy drinking. Drinking often goes hand in hand with celebrations and holidays, it pairs well with food and can help relieve stress.
According to the Dietary Guidelines, if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age. For those who choose to drink, moderate alcohol consumption can be incorporated into the calorie limits of most healthy eating patterns. The Dietary Guidelines does not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason. So if you choose to drink alcohol, do it in moderation to protect your health. Additionally, if you choose not to drink, there is no need to include alcohol in your diet to gain health benefits.
If you choose to occasionally drink alcoholic beverages, here are 4 tips to help you do so healthily:
1. Choose alcoholic beverages with little added sugar
To avoid excess calories from alcoholic beverages choose drinks with minimal added sugar. Wine, champagne, light beer, or spiked seltzer are great options for a lower sugar alcoholic beverage.
2. Maintain boundaries for yourself with drinking
Think about setting up boundaries for yourself when it comes to drinking. You want to keep your relationship with alcohol healthy and manageable. Set a limit for 1-2 alcoholic beverages per drinking occasion. If you need assistance with alcohol dependency please visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator: https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov.
3. Drink water when you drink alcohol
A good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water or seltzer water before each alcoholic beverage. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration so we want to be sure to rehydrate. Drinking water in between alcoholic beverages can also help slow down the rate of consumption.
4. Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach
Without any food in your stomach, alcohol is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. This is because the food in your digestive tract helps to slow down the alcohol absorption rate. So when you drink on an empty stomach alcohol’s effects are intensified. To avoid this, eat a balanced meal before or while enjoying your drink.