With alcohol consumption above the moderate, a depletion of B vitamins, zinc, vitamin C and other essential nutrients occurs. We often see people with deficiency symptoms of these nutrients that can be linked at least partly to previous alcohol consumption. As we are realistic enough to acknowledge that overindulgence is inevitable at the odd wedding, birthday or office social, here are some tips for damage limitation. These are not to be used to try and prop you up against a spiralling bad habit, but they can help to relieve the damage, after-effects and some of the guilt:
- Eat before and during drinking to temper the effects and slow down the release of sugar and alcohol into the bloodstream; choose protein foods with good nutritious value to help avoid the deficiencies that alcohol can produce eg. nuts, fish, eggs, chicken and plenty of vegetables.
- Match each alcoholic drink with the same quantity of water to avoid dehydration.
- Take vitamin C and milk thistle before, during and after drinking to protect the liver.
- Learn when to stop and realise that you will feel more in control for doing so.
Alcohol is such an emotive issue that it is very convenient for many to latch onto the “I’ve read that alcohol is good for you” mantra, because of findings that is has benefits in moderation. A major part of nutrition is the education that all things need to be approached with variety and intelligence; broccoli is unbelievably good for you (and helps to clear alcohol out of the liver by the way), but you would not be very well if you lived on it alone. This is why we are always reticent to give people damage limitation advice before making sure that they understand the whole picture.
A good trick that we often (very successfully) advise people to try is to double the amount they spend on a bottle of wine and halve the amount they drink, thereby actually spending the same, getting more health benefits and savouring the quality. After all, you are much less likely to glug down something you paid good money for. This also encourages a culture of appreciation and you can really gain interest in the process and field of wine. Remember, you may love a really good quality piece of beef or cheese, but as with alcohol, the need can be sated with a small amount and when better quality, a smaller amount really is more satisfying.
Better quality wines will have less preservative chemicals such as sulphites and therefore more health benefits. Try visiting English vineyards such as Sedlescombe Vineyard (01580 830715) in Sussex and trying some local organic wines; if a wine isn’t being exported it doesn’t need as much preserving and will be wholly more natural. There are plenty of very decent organic red wines on the market at the moment and supermarkets are really getting wise to consumers’ more sophisticated tastes. It is this very rise in wine appreciation, which will allow you to glean the goodness and not the detriment from a glass or two.
If you need more help to reduce your alcohol intake, get in touch for a free 15 minute chat to discuss how we can help.