Filed under Culture
Written by Jo Hombsch
As soon as the Christmas decorations go up, our social calendars go into overdrive. It’s the time of year where everyone is up for a good time and we’re easily persuaded into canceling our pilates class for after-work drinks. A few hours later, we’ve found ourselves at a bar ordering another glass of wine and our third round of cocktails wondering how today turned into yet another cheat day… Just another Thursday evening in December, right?
We all know too well that our favourite drinks are loaded with calories but when you’re out with the girls and your besties start ordering another round of Margaritas, the dreaded hangover and all those hidden calories don’t cross our minds.
The silly season is a chance for us to let our hair down and celebrate the past year, so for many of us overindulging during this season comes hand in hand. To help us through we called in two experts Gabby Ward, The Sports Dietitian Co. and MACROS Food Specialist, and Madeline Calfas founder of The Wellness Group who shared some practices that will help us feel and look our radiant self during this time of year.
Pick your drinks wisely
“Two things I would consider when choosing your drinks are the mixers used, and the alcohol percentage,” Ward told En-Route.
“Calories aren’t necessarily the ‘villain’ when it comes to alcohol, it is the alcohol itself that can affect our health the most. Alcohol causes stress in our body, and our body then has to work hard to break it down!”
When it comes to drinks from a calorie perspective “Cocktails are the WORST! They are often filled with high-sugar liqueurs and mixers… (but) clear spirits such as gin and vodka are the kindest to your hips. Just make sure that you don’t add high-sugar mixers with them. Try having a gin with soda and some fresh lime,” Calfas tells us.
For ‘healthier’ cocktails, steer clear of the ones “packed with cream and sugar,” Calfas suggested, and choose “Cocktails that have quite fresh ingredients,” Ward added.
As for wine, red wine takes first place for the healthiest type of alcohol. Opt for organic red wine too as it’s loaded with “Phytonutrients and polyphenols which are beneficial for your health.”
water is your best friend
It seems there is a lot of truth behind the one drink, one water rule. Ward tells us “Definitely, one drink, one water can be useful for a multitude of reasons. These include helping you stay hydrated AND helping slow down the rate at which you are drinking.”
“Ensuring you are hydrated at the start of the night is important as alcohol can increase your risk of being dehydrated,” as alcohol is a diuretic – in other words, it makes us urinate more often.
“Drink a couple of glasses before you leave home, and then make sure you drink a couple of glasses throughout your evening,” Calfas adds.
“Electrolytes are essential. NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) is great for liver support, as is Vitamin B12 and glutathione,” Calfas suggests. Ward also tells us that Zinc is also beneficial, as both “B Vitamins (especially B3) and Zinc are used when alcohol is being broken down in the liver.”
“Be sure to replace not only water but your electrolytes before and after you go out too,” but stay clear of a giant bottle of Gatorade – that is really all sugar, instead Ward tells us to “Get a proper electrolyte supplement that will have sodium, magnesium, and potassium in it.”
Popping some Vitamin C could also help “As it can help with alcohol causing an immune response, which slightly depletes Vitamin C,” she adds.
Line your stomach before heading out
We’ve heard it many times before, “Make sure you eat before heading out” and it’s something both of our experts make mention. “Alcohol is going to be absorbed a lot faster if you have an empty stomach, than if you take the time to have a proper meal,” Calfas tells us.
With Ward telling En-Route “Eating a well-balanced diet…. reduces how fast alcohol enters your bloodstream before heading out.”
As the old saying goes line your stomach with a proper meal before heading out “Fat and carbohydrate are great options to help absorb the alcohol while slowing down its effects on your brain. It will also provide for a much softer landing the next day.”
Here’s How To Cure The Hangover
So you’ve overindulged and woke up hung over, here’s the cure.
“Hydrate. Make sure you have some proper electrolytes… Coconut water helps in this regard as it is a great source of potassium, which is one of our key electrolytes,” Calfas tells us.
As for food, Ward suggests fueling up on “A perfectly balanced meal might be some eggs, salmon and leafy greens on a whole-grain bagel.”
“The reason most people find bacon works is because the fat content tends to help soak up some of the alcohol. Likewise, bread, cheese, etc are all going to give your stomach a good lining and make you feel that much better,” says Calfas.
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