The Healthy Way to Enjoy Cocktails and Wine | Reader's Digest

The Healthy Way to Enjoy Cocktails and Wine

3 tips for drinking alcohol responsibly this season.

By Janis Graham from Reader's Digest | December 2008

     

    Chances are, you’ll be raising your glass once or twice this holiday season. While some wine or the occasional cocktail may help improve levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), the recommended limit is generally one drink a day (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor) for women, two for men. Two-thirds of women and half of men say they typically exceed that amount. And that, says a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is associated with a 70 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and abdominal fat (the kind most dangerous for your heart).

    Says lead author Amy Z. Fan, MD, “The best advice is to stay within the guidelines.”

    Alcohol and Healthy Lifestyleclipart.comPeople tend to pour up to 30 percent more into short, wide glasses than into tall, slender ones.

    Some tips to help you moderate your intake:

  • 1.

    Pay attention to the pour.

    Pull out the highball glass or wineglass you use most often, and measure how much it holds. Cornell University researchers discovered that people poured up to 30 percent more into short, wide glasses than into tall, slender ones.

  • 2.

    Beware of binges.

    If you don’t drink during the week, it’s not okay to make up for that with five or more drinks on Saturday night. Drinking jags, even infrequent ones, especially increase the risk of high blood pressure and elevated triglycerides.

  • 3.

    Say no to salty snacks.

    Parties mean big bowls of chips, pretzels, and nuts, all of which make you thirsty, so you feel like drinking more. But drinking on an empty stomach isn’t smart either. Have a real meal of healthy food before you take your first sip.