The Healthiest Way to Enjoy Alcohol
BALANCE CELEBRATORY SIPS WITH PLANT-RICH NUTRITION
At Sakara, we embrace all of the celebratory and spontaneous affairs that life has to offer (after all, it’s all about eating clean and playing dirty). 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 with a lover or friends. But what follows after a few more drinks is decidedly less blissful: exhaustion, brain fog, indigestion, and anxiety you just can't quiet.
Fortunately, the next-day letdown can be helped, even after a night of heavy pours. Support your body with our healing tips for before, during, and after you imbibe.
Before you sip, have these vitamins and antioxidants at the ready:
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 (a.k.a. healthy fat, which includes ALA, EPA, and DHA) serve as fuel for the brain, support the cardiovascular system, and 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, meaning you’ll be less likely to wake up to fine lines and tired skin the next morning.
Your body needs B vitamins 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, which can result in pounding headaches the next morning (B12 is directly related to cognitive support). Our full-spectrum B vitamin supplement will counteract alcohol’s depleting effects.
POLYPHENOLS (i.e., QUERCETIN)
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, and cherries.
Alcohol is an extractor and a diuretic. When we imbibe, we excrete minerals and can diffuse the electrical system of the body. One mineral we’re at risk of depleting is magnesium, which is a conductor of various body processes, including our body’s ability to handle stress. This wunderkind mineral performs well over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including aiding the creation of serotonin and melatonin, the respective “happy” and “sleep” hormones. Those nights of interrupted sleep or anxiety after drinking? That’s partially due to magnesium loss, which also supports our body’s “rest and digest” state (a.k.a. the parasympathetic nervous system), which is essential for deep REM sleep and soothing stress by regulating cortisol. To ensure you’re getting enough magnesium, consume magnesium-rich plants—like spinach, nuts, seeds, beans, and leafy greens. (Leafy greens can also boost your body’s production of glutathione, which is responsible for alcohol metabolism.)
Before a big night out, try to incorporate some movement into your day, whether it’s a long walk, pilates class with a friend, or “exercise snack.” Not only does exercise spark feel-good endorphins, it can up your antioxidant activity in the body to reduce alcohol-induced liver damage. 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
Low-quality vino is often filled with yeasts, gelatins, and other additives, and wine grapes are among the most heavily sprayed crops. The good news: Natural wine, characterized by minimal intervention in the cultivation process and sparing use of sulfites, is good for the environment and your internal ecosystem. Seek out quality, ask questions about the process from field to glass, and check out some of our favorite sources for natural wine, Dry Farm Wines or Zafa Wines.
If liquor is in the cards, ready your chalice with organic and small-batch choices. 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. Instead, choose clean favorites like 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.
*FYI: 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!).
The age-old advice to have one glass of water per each alcoholic drink still holds true—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. You can make your water do even more for you by adding in a couple dropperfuls of chlorophyll (found in our Detox Water Drops). Chlorophyll is a verdant pigment that helps plants conduct photosynthesis. When consumed, it oxygenates the blood, increases circulation, and moves lymph, then coaxes out toxins so your liver and kidneys metabolize alcohol more efficiently.
After a day of drinking or night of sipping, stock up on these allies to rehydrate, renourish, and support detoxification.
Alcohol can disrupt our sleep-wake cycle by reducing the amount of melatonin (the hormone associated with this cycle) that your body can create. Before bed, support natural melatonin production with foods like pistachios, tart cherries, and goji berries, and pair your snack with a tall glass of Beauty Water Drops-infused water to up your hydration before you crawl under the covers.
Along with magnesium, critical minerals like selenium, zinc, and iron require deep replenishment after partaking in 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 (all of these signs are your body’s messenger system alerting you to depleted minerals). Rebalance your body’s stores with a glass 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 inhibit the absorption and usage of vital nutrients such as thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc. In order to replenish your body with essential nutrients and support full body detoxification, add The Foundation to your morning after routine.
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 (found in our Complete Probiotic Formula), 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.
To help ease the exhaustion, bloat, and anxiety that ensues a night on the town, we also curated this list of plants and body-balancing rituals to go with them.