“Healthy drinking” – sounds like a contradiction in terms? It need not be. Moderation and quality are the keys to successful imbibing!

If you’re going to drink, you might as well drink the good stuff, but whether you quaff country or Courvoisier, moderation is a secret of successful imbibing. Another is to know what you’re getting into before you let the genie out of the bottle. Here are some of the best tips I know for healthy drinking:

  1. HAVE A SLOW HAND. Many men end up drunk for the simple reason that they didn’t give their first drink enough time to kick in before ordering up a second or third. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for alcohol to do its thing, so wait at least that long before having another. A normal liver can handle about an ounce of alcohol an hour.
  2. READ TOMORROW’S WEATHER FORECAST. The hotter it gets and the more active you are under the sun, the more trouble alcohol can cause. Booze fast-forwards dehydration. Smart coaches stress to players that the night before a day game, they should limit alcohol consumption.
  3. EAT, THEN DRINK. Drinking only on a full stomach is probably the single best thing you can do, besides drinking less, to reduce the severity of a hangover. Food slows the absorption of alcohol, and the slower you absorb it, the less alcohol actually reaches the brain. The kind of food you eat doesn’t matter much.
  4. AVOID THE GRAPE ESCAPE. Alcohol is not an anti-depressant. If you’ve got the blues, booze will provoke only momentary relief that keeps you from tackling your problems, say experts. Using alcohol as a cure is the first step toward making drinking a disease.
  5. DON’T DRINK TO DE-STRESS. Rather than relieving stress, drinking can actually increase anxiety. If you’re going through a particularly tough time, you should be having two drinks less per week. And, on a day when you know you’re going to face a stressful situation, drink little or no alcohol.
  6. AFTER THE BUZZ, CUT. The amount you can drink in an hour without getting smashed varies according to body weight, mood, what you’ve eaten and other factors. To make it simple, limiting yourself to one drink an hour, the rate at which most people metabolize alcohol, will help prevent you from becoming intoxicated.
  7. DON’T GUZZLE BEER TO QUENCH A THIRST. You’ve got a powerful thirst and those cool frothy mugs are beckoning. Wait. Do one thing at a time. Drink water to replace your sweat loss first. Beer is a lousy thirst-quencher, in part because it inhibits the release of a hormone responsible for water retention. The result: frequent urination, leading to fluid loss rather than fluid replacement. Not to mention the fact that you may inadvertently end up loaded and bloated on a few hundred unnecessary calories.
  8. DRINK FROM A GLASS. Pour your beer into a glass or mug to let some of the carbonation disperse. You won’t get that bloated feeling as quickly as you will if you drink from the bottle.
  9. DO NOT CHALLENGE A BIG BULLY TO A DRINKING CONTEST. With few exceptions, there’s no way a 150-pound drinker can go one-on-one with a 250-pound one and wake up the winner. So scale down your drinks. A 150-pound man can only handle about half as much alcohol as a 250-pounder can.
  10. THE ICE FACTOR. A martini on the rocks is less potent than one served straight up, where there’s no ice to melt and water down the drink.
  11. SMOKE AND DRINKS DON’T MIX. Avoid smoky bars. A substance called acetaldehyde is found in alcohol and tobacco smoke, and it can make a bad hangover worse.
  12. PARTY SMARTLY. At a party, follow each drink with a glass of mineral water or lime water. You’ll always have something in your hand to sip, but you’ll be getting half the liquor and calories you otherwise would. You’ll also counteract alcohols dehydrating actions.
  13. ROTATE YOUR DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES. You really shouldn’t drink seven days a week, even if you only have a beer or two a day. Daily drinkers can unknowingly build up a tolerance to alcohol and may gradually increase intake to realize the feelings they used to experience on smaller doses.
  14. BOOZE IS BAD FOR BLOOD PRESSURE. If you have high blood pressure, take it easy on the alcohol. A liquor cabinet full of studies has shown that heavier drinkers show greater increases in blood pressure and moderate drinkers show smaller increases. Two drinks or fewer a day will probably have no detrimental effect on blood pressure, but when you go beyond that, you’re looking for trouble. A heavy drinker with high blood pressure who stops drinking altogether may see his pressure drop 10 to 25 points.
  15. WHEN TO SAY NO TO A NIGHTCAP. Alcohol makes for a poor sleeping potion because it disrupts sleep patterns. You may doze off initially, but in a few hours the effects will wear off and your body will slide into withdrawal, waking you up. If you have insomnia, avoid drinking at dinner and throughout the rest of the evening.
  16. PREVENT A BOUT WITH GOUT. If you suffer from gout, avoid alcohol. Alcohol seems to increase uric-acid production, which can lead to gout attacks. Beer may be particularly it is higher in a food substance called purine than wine or other spirits. If you drink, minimize your risk of a reaction by following this tip: Drink slowly and buffer wine with readily-absorbed carbohydrates such as biscuits, fruits and cheeses.
  17. BEER BASHES ULCERS. Heartburn or ulcer problems may flare up after you drink wine and beer. They make the stomach secrete more acids, further irritating the inner lining.
  18. TRY HALF-AND HALF. Order your cocktails with the alcohol on the side so you can mix your drink at your own pace. Pour half the shot into your mixer and, when that’s gone, order another glass of mixer and add the rest of the alcohol.
  19. REASON #4,763 NO TO DRINK AND DRIVE. A study by two Mississippi State University psychologists suggests moderate drinkers are even more likely than intoxicated ones to feel bold and self-assured about passing in the fast lane and driving at high speeds. Most people suffer some impairment of driving skills after only two drinks.


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