The Healthiest Way to Enjoy Alcohol
TREAT THE SIDE EFFECTS OF OVERINDULGENCE (OR BETTER YET, PREVENT THEM) WITH PLANT NUTRITION
A life well lived includes the occasional celebratory indulgence. Sometimes that's a rich meal followed by a luscious dessert. Others, it's a glass (or two) of wine or a beautifully crafted cocktail at the end of a long day. Unfortunately, what follows after a few more drinks is decidedly less blissful: exhaustion, bloat, anxiety you can't quiet. Fortunately, the next-day letdown isn't inevitable, even after a night of heavy pours. Nix hangovers from your repertoire with our healing tips for before, during, and after you imbibe.
Before libations ever touch your lips, have these vitamins and antioxidants at the ready.
Your body needs Bs for emotional and mental well-being, but your liver also uses them to metabolize alcohol. An evening of wine and liquor zaps your B12 reserves, in particular, resulting in pounding headaches the next morning (B12 is directly related to cognitive support). A full-spectrum B vitamin supplement will counteract alcohol’s depleting effects.
Flavonoids are compounds that help to fight free radicals, and one of the strongest antioxidants among them is quercetin. Studies have suggested that it can help promote autophagy, or the healing and cleaning of damaged cells—making it your ally when you’re mixing up a cocktail, since alcohol causes free-radical damage. Include quercetin-rich snacks in your pre-party ritual in the form of apples, green or black tea, cherries, and onions.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 (which includes ALA, EPA, and DHA) serve as fuel for the brain and support the cardiovascular system, and these healthy fats are critical for optimal organ health. Before drinking, consider supplementing with DHA, which has been studied to reduce brain inflammation and stave off brain cell shrinkage associated with alcohol exposure. Plus, it’s shown to mitigate oxidative stress, which halts signs of aging—this can prove helpful to avoid waking up the next day to fine lines and tired skin.
In the moment, sip thoughtfully and get acquainted with the world of natural, organic, and small-batch spirits
NATURAL AND ORGANIC
Natural wine, characterized by minimal intervention in the cultivation process and sparing use of sulfites, is good for the environment and your internal ecosystem. Low-quality vino is often filled with yeasts, gelatins, and other additives. And wine grapes are among the most heavily sprayed crops. Your best bet is to seek organic and natural bottles to avoid pesticides. Like everything else that you put in or on your body, seek quality and ask questions about the process from field to glass. Check out sources that emphasize sourcing and quality practices like Dry Farm Wines or Zafa Wines.
If liquor is your preferred poison, ready your chalice with organic and small-batch choices. The FDA requires food and non-alcoholic beverages to disclose their ingredient lists, but a different federal agency is in charge of alcohol—the Department of Treasury (you know, the ones who do your taxes!). Big alcohol companies are notorious for adding corn syrup, fillers, and GMOs to their bottles without letting you know. Not only do those additives have the potential to disrupt your endocrine system, but in the short-term, will compound the hangover as your detox organs strain to process these toxins. Some clean favorites include Hudson Whiskey, Brooklyn Gin, Green Hope Vodka, Gem + Bolt Mezcal, Avion Tequila, and Yola Mezcal. To avoid excessive, headache-worsening sugar, keep it on the rocks, or simply add soda water and a squeeze of citrus.
The standard advice of counteracting alcohol consumption is to drink water in between each glass; this recommendation holds up because alcohol pulls a lot of resources—namely water and minerals—from the liver, which already requires quite a bit of hydration to do its job. Take your water to the next echelon by adding in a couple dropperfuls of chlorophyll—the verdant pigment that helps plants conduct photosynthesis. When consumed, chlorophyll oxygenates the blood, increases circulation, and moves lymph, then coaxes out toxins so your liver and kidneys metabolize alcohol more efficiently.
...With these important nutrients before, during, and most importantly after alcohol, your liver and kidneys will be much better equipped to metabolize the toxins.
After a day of drinking or night of sipping, stock up on these allies to rehydrate, replenish the liver, and steady moods
This wunderkind mineral is essential for helping you bounce back from interrupted sleep patterns and unexplained anxiety brought on by alcohol. It performs well over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including aiding the creation of serotonin and melatonin, the respective “happy” and “sleep” hormones. It supports the “rest and digest” function, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system, which is important for deep REM sleep and soothing stress by regulating cortisol. Ever dealt with bathroom woes after a few too many drinks? Magnesium is your friend, here, too, as it relaxes the GI tract for seamless digestion.
Like everything else that you put in or on your body, seek quality and ask questions about the process from field to glass.
Along with magnesium, there are other critical minerals like selenium, zinc, and iron, that require deep replenishment after partaking in heavy drinking. By fueling the body with these important nutrients before, during, and most importantly after alcohol, your liver and kidneys will be much better equipped to metabolize the toxins. Your body won’t be nearly as dehydrated, jittery, or craving salty and fatty foods. These unnecessary cravings are the body’s messenger system alerting to depleted minerals. Rebalance your body’s stores with a glass (or three) of water with Beauty Water Drops which contain an array of 72 essential ionic minerals to bolster your system as it works through the alcohol, and alleviate the physical effects of a hangover.
Alcohol can seriously disrupt the bacterial ecosystem in your gut, also known as the microbiome. The sugar in mixed drinks can change pH levels and increase yeast and pathogens in your internal ecosystem, which affects your mood, energy levels, cognition, and metabolism. Repopulate the gut with good bacteria from high-quality probiotics; seek out strains like L. acidophilus and L. salivarius, which help curb yeast overgrowth and tame irritable digestive issues. Then, pair with prebiotic fiber the next day—think six cups of leafy greens—and ease the body into healing, reset mode.
BONUS BREAKFAST IDEA: PLANT PROTEIN GRANOLA WITH NUT MILK OR COCONUT YOGURT
The morning after may have you craving all things greasy, cheesy, and salty. Instead, reach for ingredients that nurture the liver and restore balance to unusual cravings. Sakara’s Plant Protein Granola is rich in all the right nutrients: flax, with ALA to protect the brain and support the creation of the hangover-counteracting antioxidant glutathione; matcha, with l-theanine for alertness sans jitter; and milk thistle, an herb divinely designed to support liver detoxification. Served simply with nut milk or coconut yogurt and maybe some fresh fruit, it’s a healthy breakfast that requires little effort—a blessing when your energy is diminished.
MORE: HOW TO NAVIGATE SKETCHY SUPPLEMENTS, SUGAR, AND COFFEE