Five simple strategies to help mitigate the adverse affects associated with alcohol and its metabolism.

1. Never drink on an empty stomach. Lunch at 12h00 would have emptied at around 16h00… The combination of food and wine alters alcohol’s potential adverse effects. Something with zinc (e.g. oysters), something with vitamin C (e.g. cocktail tomatoes) and something with soluble fibre (e.g. hummus or oat biscuits) have been shown to protect the delicate cells of your stomach and intestines when they are exposed to alcohol. Honour them – when they go, your health goes too…The direct and indirect effects of alcohol contribute to development of conditions and symptoms such as indigestion, insulin resistance, reduced mental focus, fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety and even depression.

2. Dilute your alcohol to reduce the rate of absorption – for every glass of wine, have a glass of water. 

3. Avoid foods rich in saturated fat (fatty meat, butter, cream and palm oil) when drinking alcoholic beverages. Fat metabolism changes while the liver is metabolising alcohol. Swap the fatty meat for lean, add olive oil instead of butter and rather eat dry roasted nuts or olives instead of oil roasted nuts and chips. Most chips and salted nuts are roasted or deep-fried using palm olein or palm fruit oil – which are high in saturated fats.
The exception is ripened and aged cheese (without preservatives), which is also considered a high saturated fat food but excused from inclusion since it is an essential source of probiotics. A diverse micro biome is important for healthy digestive system functioning and even alcohol metabolism. In this case – the benefit outweighs the detriment.

4. Opt for red wine most of the time. The polyphenols aid the metabolism of the alcohol rendering it a little less harmful…

5. Whisk up interesting alternatives! Be warned though: replacing it with artificially sweetened drinks or fruit juice doesn’t count as a ‘better’ options. Rather investigate de-alcoholised wine and add some pressed pomegranate or berry juice, frozen berries or grapes or soda water, buchu and rooibos tea or bitters for daytime gatherings or long lazy lounging occasions.