Drinking alcohol can be beneficial to your health. No, don’t roll your eyes – you read it right and we’ll say it again – but of course the key is moderation. That evening drink at a party or a chilled beer after a round of golf with the buddies on a Sunday afternoon can actually be good for you. So here are a few handy tips on how to make the festive season a little more fun while enjoying a drink or two. We’ll discuss the various benefits of different alcoholic beverages and let you choose your poison that doesn’t have to kill you, or do any harm at all, as long you’re smart about it.
Beer - It might surprise you to know that beer has quite a few benefits. We all know that nothing quenches the thirst on a hot summer day like a chilled beer. But it’s still a favourite in the cold weather, too. This brew is packed with nutritional compounds that are quite beneficial. Besides the vitamins B2, B12 and B16, beer also has calcium, potassium, silicon, zinc, sodium, magnesium, niacin selium and phosphorus. Surprised? There’s more good news. Beer has no fat or cholesterol. The infamous beer belly is due to the excess calorie intake that comes with having too many beers, not the fat content in each beer. So don’t reach for can after can of it, and you’re all good.
Brandy – Here’s something even grandma wouldn’t say no to! This distilled wine is good for health because it is full of antioxidants. While it warms you up when you are down with a cold, brandy also helps fight free radicals, keeping mild infections at bay. A regular dose of about 30 ml can serve as a regular dose of vitamin C. A regular shot of brandy can help ward off heart diseases. So keep that snifter handy.
Rum - An occasional shot of rum can help reduce anxiety and give you a good night’s sleep. Rum can help lower your chance of developing diabetes. Some studies also suggest that rum can ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia. A moderate amount of rum helps relieve stress, lowers blood pressure and is known to increase longevity too. So, as Captain Haddock sang, ‘Yo ho ho…and a bottle of rum!’ Well, maybe not a bottle, but definitely a small swig!
Champagne - There are plenty of reasons to pop the bubbly this season, but with champagne holding health secrets in its effervescence, now there’s an extra reason to do so. With polyphenol antioxidants which reduce the effects of cell-damaging free radicals in the body, a glass of this sparkling wine can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart problems. Medical studies have also shown that a couple of glasses of champagne on a regular basis can have a beneficial effect on the blood vessel walls. A regular basis, though, doesn’t mean popping a bottle every day.
Whiskey - Whether it’s the odd glass or you’re a serious connoisseur, if whiskey ranks amongst your favourite drinks, you have some extra protection from cancer, according to studies. But again, you can reap the benefits of whiskey only if you have an occasional glass, and not often. With high levels of antioxidants, this distilled brew can be very effective in killing cancer cells. Called the ‘free radical scavenger’ by medical experts, it really can benefit your health.
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol in moderation can significantly reduce certain health risks. Here are a few more pointers to help you reap the benefits of alcohol:
- Choose a health-friendly alcoholic beverage
- Always control how much you drink
- Choose the right mixer with the drink
- Sip slowly
- Don’t chase one drink with another; wait a bit
- Finally, remember: moderation, moderation, moderation!
So enjoy this season of non-stop festivities and sip your drink… the right way. Let’s raise a toast to your good health. Sláinte!