11 Nutritionist Tips For Healthier Drinking This Christmas
11 Nutritionist Tips For Healthier Drinking This Christmas

11 Nutritionist Tips For Healthier Drinking This Christmas

We all know alcohol isn’t great for our health, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid it entirely – something that feels pretty impossible at this time of year. In fact, any nutritionist would agree alcohol can play a role in a balanced lifestyle – the secret lies in knowing what to drink and how to do so mindfully. Here’s what the experts recommend…
By Tor West

Choose Red Over White

“A glass of red wine a day really may keep the doctor away. Red wine is rich in polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, preventing cellular damage caused by alcohol. On the other hand, drinks that have lower concentrations of polyphenols – think white wine, beer and spirits – have been shown to have far less beneficial pro-inflammatory effects. The polyphenols in red wine may also have benefits for our gut bacteria. Studies have found moderate consumption of red wine can increase levels of certain species of gut bugs that bolster the gut’s resilience.” – Clare Barnes, technical advisor at Bio-Kult


Go Organic

“Organic wine contains more polyphenols, and therefore more antioxidants. As a general rule, the darker the wine, the higher the antioxidant levels, although bear in mind that additives can be added to enhance the colour, flavour and texture and to extend its shelf life. One study found cabernet sauvignon has more resveratrol – a key antioxidant – than other varieties of red wine.” – Clare

ORGANIC WINE IS YOUR BEST BET– it contains fewer chemicals and less sulphur dioxide, giving the liver less toxins to process.

Buy The Best You Can Afford

“When it comes to wine, quality matters. For example, wine in the supermarket is unlikely to contain the amounts of resveratrol required to reap the health benefits. Great quality, organic wine is your best bet – it contains fewer chemicals and less sulphur dioxide, giving the liver less toxins to process. A hangover will be less intense after a night of drinking organic wine.” – Stephanie Baker, consultant nutritionist at Purolabs


Swap Tonic For Soda

“Many alcoholic drinks – or the mixers they are served with – tend to be high in sugar, which can cause issues with blood sugar balance, contributing to mood fluctuations and disturbed sleep. If you are drinking spirits, use soda water as a mixer instead of sugary tonic and flavour with freshly squeezed lemon or lime, or even a few drops of angostura bitters.” – Clare


Supplement With Zinc

“Zinc – a key mineral – is necessary for alcohol metabolism, and even small changes in the availability of zinc in the body could have significant effects on how the body metabolises alcohol. This is supported by a recent study, which found those who had a higher dietary intake of zinc reported significantly less severe hangovers than those with a lower intake. Interestingly, live bacteria supplements have also shown to increase the absorption of zinc from the diet, when taken for at least five weeks. Therefore, supplementing with a multi-strain probiotic which also includes zinc could be a good option at this time of year. Be sure to eat plenty of zinc-rich foods when drinking, too – good sources include organic meat, fish and shellfish, nuts, seeds and eggs.” – Clare



Sip Slowly

“Not rushing a drink gives your body a chance to process the alcohol more effectively without becoming overwhelmed. Try to stay present in the moment, and be aware of your own limits – only you can decide when you’ve had enough to drink. If you can, give your body three days off each week – this will benefit the liver, kidneys and digestive tract, enabling them to rebalance and work more effectively.” – Clare


Protect The Liver

“Unfortunately, alcohol is a toxin, one that bypasses the digestive tract and goes straight to the liver. Drinking excessively in a short space of time will reflect on the skin, hair and nails, which the liver is also directly involved with. Within a matter of weeks, you may see redness in the skin – in the form of inflammation, tiny red bumps on the arms and cheeks, thread veins on your cheeks and nose, flushing, hair shedding and hair breakage. If you take one supplement, try milk thistle – it’s a well-known liver protector. Research shows milk thistle restores damaged cells and protects against the damage caused by alcohol.” – Marie Reynolds, wellness expert


Choose Healthier Drinks

“Opt for better quality, more naturally produced wines and spirits. Vodka and gin are far better tolerated by the liver than darker spirits like whiskey or rum, and avoid flavoured spirits, which likely contain added sugars, which will inflame your gut. If you’re in the supermarket, look for a wine that contains a lower ABV – opting for a single digit alcohol content, such as a 9% wine, will give your liver less work to do. It’s also a common misconception that champagne is full of sugar. In fact, the drier the champagne (or prosecco or other sparkling wine), the lower the sugar content. Most dry champagnes contain negligible amounts of sugar.” – Stephanie

It’s a common misconception champagne is full of sugar. Most DRY CHAMPAGNES CONTAIN NEGLIGIBLE AMOUNT OF SUGAR.

Always Eat Before You Head Out

“If you’re going out and know you’ll be having a few drinks, eat a nutritious meal high in antioxidants in preparation. Not only will this line the stomach, slowing the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, but antioxidants will reduce the damage caused by alcohol. If you’re getting ready at home, make a smoothie with antioxidant-rich frozen berries and spinach, or if you’re out having dinner, order a couple of side dishes of seasonal greens.” – Clare


Snack On Protein

“Always have some protein before you start drinking – hummus, nuts, olives and cheese are all good options. This will slow the sugar spike into your bloodstream and prevent weight gain. It will also stop you from immediately grabbing that bag of crisps. If you are at a party or drinking for longer periods of time throughout the day, try to opt for healthy fats and fibre to slow alcohol absorption – try avocado, eggs and greens for breakfast, and snack on nuts and guacamole throughout the day.” – Gabriela Peacock, nutritionist and founder of GP Nutrition


Fuel Your Body

“Over Christmas, it’s inevitable that we’ll be drinking more than usual. Try to take a ‘food-first’ approach, only using supplements as an insurance policy. Eat more beetroot, a nutrient powerhouse that’s rich in pectin, a type of fibre that kickstarts liver cleansing and assists in the removal of toxins; ginger, a potent anti-inflammatory that’s vital for liver health; and Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium, a mineral that’s been proven to be vital to maintain optimal liver health. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and mustard greens are also high in fibre and contain beneficial plant compounds that increase the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes and protect it from damage.” – Eleanor Thrupp, nutritionist at Innermost

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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