Drink Smarter: Our Top 5 Tips for Enjoying a Drink

Drink Smarter: Our Top 5 Tips for Enjoying a Drink

Holidays are a time of joy, celebrations, and social gatherings where alcohol is present. While it's a season to indulge and make merry, it's also important to be mindful of our alcohol intake. Overindulgence can not only dampen the holiday spirit but also have longer-term impacts on our health and well-being.

Not to be be a killjoy and all, but did you know that alcohol:

  1. Shrinks your brain
  2. Hinders fat loss
  3. Inhibits vitamin and mineral absorption
  4. Inhibits muscle protein synthesis
  5. Damages collagen (skin)
  6. Causes inflammation
  7. Lowers testosterone
  8. Increases the risk of breast cancer and other cancers
  9. Ruins your sleep?

 

Yeah, it's not great for you but I'm not about to tell you not to drink over the holiday period so instead here are my top 5 practical and effective tips to enjoy the festivities, whilst maintaining a balanced approach to alcohol, and minimising the damage.

From understanding your limits, to discovering alternative celebratory drinks, we're here to guide you through a holiday season that's both joyful, and responsible. So, let's raise a glass to a healthier, happier festive period and learn how to celebrate in style without the extra hangover!


1. Be strategic

If you're going to drink, it's useful to understand darker liquors like whiskey and red wine have more congeners, byproducts of fermentation, and can intensify hangovers. And, it's equally important to think about your mixers - like lemonade - which are very high in sugar.

What to do

  • It's better to go for lighter spirits such as vodka, tequila or gin which are lower in congeners and might be a better choice.
  • You can also alternate alcoholic drinks with their non-alcoholic versions. Be wary of cocktails and mocktails! Their high sugar and calorie content can significantly increase the likelihood of a hangover, digestive upset, and weight gain.


2. Hydrate

Because alcohol is a diuretic it leads to dehydration which is one of the main causes of hangover symptoms. 

What to do:

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water
  • Choose healthy mixers like soda water with lime or kombucha
  • Drink electrolyte-rich beverages before, during, and after drinking alcohol. Instead of gulping sugary commercial electrolytes, make your own. All you need is 250ml filtered water, a good pinch of sea salt flakes, and juice of 1 lime.


3. Eat protein-rich foods before and while drinking

Eating protein-rich foods before and while drinking alcohol can mitigate the rate of alcohol absorption due to protein’s slower digestion, which delays gastric emptying. Proteins stimulate gastrin, which slows alcohol's progression to the small intestine, where it's rapidly absorbed.

Additionally, food forms a barrier in the stomach, lessening alcohol's direct contact with the stomach lining and stabilising blood sugar levels, helping to prevent spikes and crashes. This not only slows the absorption of alcohol but also contributes to a feeling of fullness, potentially reducing the overall intake of alcohol.

What to do:

  • If you don't get a chance to eat before drinking, grab some biltong or beef bars to eat before you drink


4. Choose the right supplements

Drinking alcohol can deplete crucial nutrients such as B vitamins and zinc, impairing energy production and immune response, which can worsen hangover symptoms. Replenishing these nutrients, particularly through liver capsule supplements before and after drinking, might reduce hangover severity.

What to do

  • Liver capsules are rich in natural B vitamins and zinc, essential for metabolising alcohol and supporting enzymatic functions for detoxification. They offer broad nutritional support, potentially enhancing the body's alcohol processing and hangover recovery.


5. Take a cold plunge

Cold showers and ice baths can potentially ease hangover discomfort by several mechanisms. Cold exposure increases circulation, promoting the efficient removal of alcohol's toxic byproducts that cause hangover symptoms. It also reduces inflammation, which may lessen headache severity.

The jolt from the cold water can heighten alertness, combating the drowsiness that often comes with a hangover. This practice also prompts endorphin release, providing pain relief and a mood lift. Additionally, the cold induces a surge in adrenaline, which can further invigorate the body and mind, helping to shake off the lethargy of a hangover.

What to do

  • A quick dip in the ocean or pool if it's safe (i.e. obviously don't go anywhere either if you're under the influence!)
  • Take a cold shower if you're under the influence

 

What if you lost control and ended up with a hangover?

The best strategies to incorporate the day after include rehydration (make our Homemade Gatorade), outdoor movement, consuming magnesium-rich foods, incorporating cold showers and ice baths, and drinking black tea (L-theanine). 

Instead of eating greasy comfort foods, such as bacon & egg rolls, that overload your liver and worsen your hangover, try our XMAS HANGOVER SMOOTHIE packed with magnesium, collagen, and other healing nutrients:

  • 1 scoop of Chief Dark Chocolate Collagen Protein (contains cacao powder, which is high in magnesium and Himalayan salt, great for rehydration)
  • 1 cup of organic kefir (we love Blue Bay) for your gut
  • Handful of frozen spinach (magnesium and other nutrients)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter (magnesium and good fats)
  • ½ frozen banana (magnesium and other nutrients)
  • Handful of frozen cherries (magnesium and anthocyanins for pain relief)
  • Handful of ice cubes and a little filtered water if you don’t like your smoothie too thick.

 Enjoy!

 


Veronika Larisova
Co-Founder, Registered Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist

 

 

 

 

 

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