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How to drink wine and still prioritize your health

By WHN Editorial Team

We all want to be healthy and we also want to enjoy the pleasures of life — like a glass of good wine. So, how do you strike a balance between drinking wine while still prioritizing your health? 

Here are some easy steps you can take to safely savor your next sip. 

How to drink wine and still prioritize your health

Take your vitamins

Because alcohol is a diuretic, vitamins and other nutrients are flushed from your system whenever you drink. Ironically, many depleted nutrients are the same ones that help to mitigate negative effects of alcohol, from hangovers to liver damage. Taking a vitamin supplement is a simple and effective way to replenish key nutrient levels and hold them steady. 

B Vitamins 

Frequent alcohol consumption is linked with B complex vitamin deficiencies, which can contribute to memory and mood disorders, slow metabolism and low energy. Boosting your B vitamin intake also helps in the short term to ward off hangover symptoms. When supplementing B complex vitamins, look for a multivitamin supplement that provides B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, B6 and B12 (also called cobalamin), which assists brain and nervous system function.

Vitamin C and Magnesium

As your body’s main detox organ, your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol and eliminating it from the body. Both Vitamin C and magnesium support the liver in this important job, so you want to make sure you’re getting a steady supply. A high quality multivitamin can provide you with the Vitamin C and magnesium you need to replenish your levels. Food sources for magnesium include pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews and pecans. To give your Vitamin C levels an instant lift, drink a cup of plain seltzer with big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 

Curcumin

Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric root prized for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can help ward off headaches associated with hangovers. What’s more, research shows curcumin is effective in protecting the liver against damage induced by chronic alcohol intake.

Curcumin is easy to take in supplement form; in foods, it is versatile spice used in everything from curries to chili. Add a pinch of black pepper whenever you add curcumin to foods to enhance absorption.  

Hydrate

Alcohol’s natural diuretic effects also explain why you feel so parched and dehydrated the morning after having a few drinks. The best preventative measure for this classic hangover symptom is to boost your water and fluid intake. When you know it’s an evening that you would like to unwind with a glass of wine, first drink a glass of mineral water or fruit juice (no sugar added) to help offset fluid loss and replace some of the vitamins and minerals and electrolytes being flushed out with it. Drink another glass of water before going to bed. 

Avoid liquor and stick with wine, preferably red

Some alcohols contain higher levels of congeners — chemical compounds that are especially likely to trigger hangover symptoms. Congeners are thought to develop during the liquor aging process. Whiskey, bourbon, scotch, brandy, cognac and other darker liquors are some of the worst offenders for congeners.

Wine — both red and white — contains lower levels of congeners. Any kind of alcohol can prompt a hangover, but limiting or avoiding congeners may help to minimize risk for hangover symptoms. 

Speaking of red and white wine, for added health benefits, stick with red wine. All varieties of reds contain antioxidant polyphenols, including the anti-aging powerhouse resveratrol.

Skip dessert

Love a relaxing glass of wine after dinner? Enjoy it, but consider skipping dessert on evenings when you drink.  Because your body cannot store alcohol, as soon as you consume it, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol and ridding it from your system. Anything else you consume during this time, including a slice of chocolate cake, gets put on the back burner. This slower metabolism of food — especially when it’s a dessert that’s high in fat and sugar — can result in less fat being burned and more fat being stored. Over time this can result in weight gain. 

Do your best to strike a balance and think of that yummy glass of wine as enough of an after dinner treat.

Drink in moderation

There is no one set accepted medical definition of “moderate” drinking, but according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “low-risk” alcohol use is generally defined as up to one drink daily for healthy adult women. (One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits).

The key to drinking moderately is to truly savor and enjoy your drink. We’ve talked about the benefits of eating mindfully before. Apply these same habits to drinking mindfully: put away your phone and other distractions so you can fully focus on the taste, smell and feel of your drink. Mindful moderate drinking also means being fully conscious of how each sip of your drink affects your mood, behavior, thoughts and body. 

When you are more “tuned in” to how alcohol affects you, it can be easier to understand when it’s time to put the cork back in the bottle.

And with that, here’s a toast: Cheers to your good health and healthy drinking habits!

Read more: 6 ways to prevent hangovers.
Last Updated: November 21, 2022
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