With the peak drinking season upon us — Homecoming and Halloween are a week apart — our livers aren’t in the best condition.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s this amazing thing called “balance”, which we students should look for in our academic and social lives. It allows you to engage in awesome things, like having an alcoholic drink or two, without feeling like a sloth the next morning.
Be smarter when you drink with the following guide to healthier boozing.
Be responsible for your own alcohol
This doesn’t mean just bringing your own booze if the party is BYOB. Being responsible for your own alcohol means knowing how much you can handle. The best thing is to have a plan, before you start drinking, of how much you’re going to consume. Then, take only take that much with you.
Know the nutrition
Currently, very few alcoholic beverages come with a nutrition label. Those that do are often the lighter versions of beer or spirits. Though the U.S. has begun to introduce nutrition labeling on alcoholic beverages, Canada is still lagging behind.
In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. A rum and coke (2 oz and 12 oz) contains about the same number of calories as a blueberry muffin, a piña colada equals out to a piece of chocolate cake and some frozen margarita mixes are the equivalent of a full cheeseburger. You know the dreaded freshman 15 that everyone blames on cafeteria food? More often than not, it’s alcohol related. If you’re looking for lower-calorie booze options, stick with clear spirits like vodka or gin, mixed with club soda. You can also turn your glass of wine into a spritzer to dilute the mounting calorie count.
Eat smart beforehand
You may have read the above paragraph and gone, “shoot, I’ll just eat less before I go out to make sure I’m not over-consuming calories!” — but this is not a good idea. The simple carbohydrates of cocktails will lead you to spike and then crash, making you more ravenous than ever. Also, as I hope we all know at this point, you’re much more likely to get sick if you drink on an empty stomach.
For every alcoholic drink you consume, have a glass of water in between. To be honest, once it’s in a red cup, no one knows what it is anyways. Staying hydrated while consuming alcohol is the number one way to prevent a next-day hangover.
Only time sobers you up
Contrary to popular belief, having a coffee, taking a cold shower or eating carbs doesn’t make you sober up faster. Only time allows alcohol to work itself out of your system. If you have a friend who’s getting too tipsy, switch them to water and let their buzz wear off.
Ladies, don’t try to keep up with the guys.
Even if a girl and a guy weigh the same amount and the girl has a high alcohol tolerance, she’s still more likely to get drunk faster when drinking the same amount.
This is because men have a higher percentage of water within their bodies, as well as higher levels of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which leads to increased metabolization of alcohol.
Take care of yourself the morning after
Make your go-to morning breakfast scrambled eggs and a banana. Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to help reverse the damage alcohol does to your liver. Bananas contain potassium that helps you replenish your electrolyte stores. If you’re feeling nauseous, try ginger tea. It’s a renowned natural treatment for upset stomachs and has been proven to reduce inflammation — a leading cause of hangover symptoms.
Even if you go to a party with a group of friends, partner up so you each have one person you know you’re keeping an eye on. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend that you think it’s time to switch to water. You would want them to do the same for you. It’s never a good idea to leave a drink unattended, so this way you also have a go-to person to hand yours to while you hit the bathroom.
Opting out is always okay
The definition of being social isn’t being drunk. If you don’t feel like drinking on a particular night, that’s totally cool. If your friends make you believe otherwise, it may be time to re-evaluate the type of friend they are. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Moreover, don’t give into peer pressure. It’s your body after all.
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