Tuesday, February 26, 2013

5 Tips to Keep Healthy as a Beer Drinker

Beer drinking and long-term health.  These two things are not the most positively correlated, yet with some forethought you can make changes to reduce the negative long-term effects of beer drinking. 

Minor changes to behavior will have a large impact on your health as a beer drinker.

Eat Foods Good for your Liver

Drinking alcohol is bad for your liver, and can lead to liver disease.  One way to combat this is to eat foods which actively support your liver function.  There are many foods that support good liver function.  

The best way to select these foods is to find a large list of possible foods, and figure out which ones you can easily include in your diet.  Trying to add foods you don't like, or like to cook will result in failure.  

Choose foods you'd eat as part of a meal, and ones you would eat as a snack.  Having good snack options will help you to avoid empty calories from sugar.  Apples and carrots are great for this.

A good list of foods to improve liver performance includes -

Olive Oil Broccoli
Avacados Carrots
Beets Greens
Garlic Apples

Avoid sugar

Alcohol puts another burden on the body in the form of empty calories.  Every gram of alcohol you consume is 7 calories with no nutrients.  Sugar is also an empty calorie.  With the goal of being in shape, limiting empty calories is a must.  Drinking two beers a night is the equivalent of having two donuts every morning.

Eating two donuts a day seems gluttonous, but two beers a night sounds reasonable.  It is effectively the same thing.  Cutting out the sweets is the only way to have a reasonable chance to stay fit while home brewing.

Avoid sweetened foods except on special occasions   During special occasions eat so much it makes you sick. That should cure you of any need for sugar until the next holiday. "Special occasion" does not mean every weekend.

The worst trigger for getting back into sweets is having them in the house on a regular basis.  Avoid having sweets in the house overnight.  Ideally only eat sweets away from the house.  If you do happen to bring sweets home, anything you don't finish goes in the trash before going to sleep.

Stay Hydrated

Alcohol promotes dehydration through excessive urine production.  Consumption of alcohol actually causes the production of more urine than the volume of alcohol ingested. This additional urine comes from your body's reserves, and causes the dehydration.

Follow a 2:1 rule.  Drink two volumes of water for every volume of alcohol.  This helps keep you from becoming too dehydrated, however you will still likely be net negative.  This also helps keep the number of drinks down, and keeps you from getting too intoxicated.

Eat Nutrient Dense Foods

The empty calories in a beer drinker's diet mean that the remaining calories have to be more nutrient dense to fulfill your nutritional needs.  

Focusing a large part of the diet on vegetables and meats makes this easy to do.  This type of diet provides two nutrient rich sources of calories.  Replacing what would normally be the carbohydrate portion of the meal with a larger serving of vegetables is an easy switch.  

Frozen veggies to be a great way to replace rice, potatoes or other grains.  Grains are mostly filler in the diet.  They provide minimal nutrients per calorie, and there are almost always better sources.  Vegetables provide more than anough fiber, typically more than grains.

Alcohol Free Days

You should have at least two alcohol free days a week.  This gives the liver time to recover, and keeps your alcohol tolerance from escalating. Daily drinkers have a higher chance of getting liver disease than intermittent drinkers.  

The negatives of not taking an alcohol break includes chronic dehydration, degraded liver function, high blood pressure, and more.

Liver Disease Information - http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Alcohol-and-Liver-Disease.htm
Daily Drinking Information - http://alcoholism.about.com/od/liver/a/daily_drinking.htm
List of Liver Healthy Foods - http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/liver-cleanse-foods/

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