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Alcohol: 5 Small Changes for Big Health Benefits

November 18, 2015 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Is drinking alcohol a part of your social life? Would you say you often drink more than Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines? Little changes – so little you won’t even notice them – can go a long way in having a positive impact on your health. Whether you have a drink or two during special occasions or you drink a little more frequently, these tips can help you make small changes without completely overhauling your lifestyle.

1. Include food

Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Before you drink and while you are drinking, be sure to eat. Pairing your drinks with finger food like nuts or cheese is an easy way to make sure you eat while drinking alcohol.

2. Drink slowly

Our bodies process alcohol differently depending on age, sex, weight, height, and metabolism. There is no benefit to pouring back the booze, so drink slowly to add more enjoyment and limit yourself to no more than two drinks in any three hours.

Try our blood alcohol content calculator. Enter your gender, weight, number of drinks, and time to see how alcohol might affect you—you might be surprised by the results!

3. Measure the pour

A standard drink looks different for wine, beer, cider, and spirits and also varies by alcohol content. A Canadian standard drink contains around 13.5 grams of pure alcohol which equates to about 350mL of 5% beer, 150mL of 12% wine, and 40mL of 40% spirits. You can keep track of how much alcohol you’ve had by measuring the pour. If someone else is doing the pouring, make sure they measure for you.

4. Finish then fill

Finish your drink before you go back for another one. When you “top-up" your beverage there is no way to know how much you’ve actually consumed—especially as the night goes on.

5. Alternate

There’s something to be said for having a drink in your hand during social events. Try alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Add lemon, lime or other fruits to water or sparkling mineral water to keep your taste buds satisfied.

Find more alcohol-free alternatives. There are tons of ways to jazz up non-alcoholic drinks. Try some of these ideas at your next gathering.

Small changes to your drinking style can make a big, positive impact on your health. If you choose to drink, follow Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines. When it comes to alcohol, moderation is the best choice.

With the holiday season around the corner try these tips; find out how to have low-risk or no risk celebratory events, and how to set an example for kids at your holiday parties.


Related blogs

Risks and Health Effects of Drinking Alcohol
Social Drinking: The Hidden Risks
Parenting and Alcohol Use

Recommended resources

AlcoholSense
HealthLink BC: Quick Tips: Cutting Back on Drinking
Canadian Mental Health Association: Balancing Your Life
A Standard Drink: Here to Help

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