Alcohol is a social norm for many Americans.
Even for the more health-conscious among us, it can be a nice reward to indulge in a favorite, go-to drink every once in a while.
We may drink to our health, but alcohol that prolongs or enhance our physical well-being doesn’t exist (Yet).
Although there is no “healthy” alcohol, not all drinks are created equal because some do more damage to the body than others.
In the following article I’m going to share the best and worst types of alcohol to drink, from a nutritional standpoint.
You’ll learn the three most harmful types of alcohol you should avoid as well as the three least harmful.
These lists are broken down by the toxin content each alcohol contains. The worst contain the most and the “best” contain the least.
Toxins can refer to added chemicals such as artificial coloring and sweeteners, along with substances found in nature, such as mold toxins and yeast via fermentation.
The effects of these toxins on the body can vary based on a variety of factors, including your general health. Choosing wisely can make all the difference between a terrible hangover and bouncing back the next day like you did in your college days.
Too Many Toxins: 3 Alcoholic Drinks to Avoid
Beer: The Dirtiest of Alcohols
Beer, perhaps the most-common adult beverage in America, might just be the worst type of alcohol you can drink. Beer contains gluten, yeast and a multitude of mold toxins.
This includes one of the most harmful, Ochratoxin A; a naturally occurring substance that has been found to suppress immune function. It is common for the grains to be contaminated with mold from fermentation. This makes beer the dirtiest of alcohols on this list.
Wine: Next in Line
Like beer, red wine is also high in Ochratoxin A and yeast, putting it right behind beer for the most toxins. The real killer for red wine is that it is unfiltered. In other words, your liver and kidneys have to do all the work to rid the body of a lot more than just alcohol.
Stay Away from Sweets
Don’t let bright and tasty drinks deceive you. Many colored sweetened spirits are also loaded with other surprises. That’s right. Your favorite cordial might arrive with mold toxins, sugar, artificial colors and harmful chemicals in the glass.
Those kinds of ingredients can be more harmful to the body than the alcohol itself. It’s one thing to consume the natural toxins within alcohol. However, the manmade chemicals added to these popular drinks provide a double-whammy.
3 Better Alcohol Choices
Vodka: The Clear Choice
If you want to enjoy a drink and keep the damage minimum, science suggests vodka could become your go-to drink. Vodka is distilled and charcoal-filtered, so your body only has to deal with straight alcohol and none of the toxins in beer and wine. If you would prefer to avoid grains, then potato vodka may be worth looking at.
It’s important to note, though, that we’re referring to straight vodka. Any mixers you add to it could detract from this “healthier” drink option.
Gin: Another Lower-Toxin Option
Gin is generally made from juniper berries. These berries contain antioxidants, but not that many. However, gin is low in toxins compared to darker alcoholic drinks.
Tequila: A ‘Patron’ Saint?
Like vodka, tequila is distilled and filtered. This leaves nothing but pure alcohol.
The reason tequila ranks below gin on the “healthy” list is because it’s made from agave, which is high in fructose. The fructose is removed during the fermentation process, so that’s a plus.
Overall, though, gin’s juniper berry source appears to be a healthier choice than tequila’s agave.
How to Recover from Alcohol Hangovers
Step 1: Detoxify with Activated Charcoal
Used for over 10,000 years, activated charcoal is one of the world’s oldest detoxing remedies. Chinese, Ayurvedic (Indian) and Western medicine uses activated charcoal as an absorbent agent to combat poisons and intestinal issues.
It has millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind and remove up to 100 times the charcoal’s own weight in toxins.
The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins and gas so they can easily leave the body.
Taking 1 to 2 grams of activated charcoal immediately after drinking can help you absorb the least amount of toxins possible and minimize the damage done on the body.
It’s important to use this activated charcoal separately from any medication or other supplements.
That’s because, along with toxins, the charcoal will also absorb vitamins taken at the same time.
Step 2: Intermittent Fasting
The second step after a big night of drinking and binge eating is to give your body a break. And that means to NOT eat immediately the following day — even if your food choices would be healthy ones.
Ideally, a full 24-hour fast could be most beneficial. But most people have very little to no experience with fasting.
That’s OK, because even a 16-hour fast can provide many of the same benefits.
This means no food — only water and non-caloric drinks (yes, coffee is allowed) — for 16 hours after the last bite.
Fasting gives your digestive system a much-needed break after being bombarded with an abnormal amount of food and drinks.
During a fast, your liver and kidneys eliminate all the toxins and toxins bound to the activated charcoal previously ingested the night/day before.
As your body rids itself of the toxins, you’ll feel much better than if you would have continued to eat and put stress on the digestive system. Think of this step as a mini “reset” for your body.
Step 3: Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated may seem simple, but it shouldn’t be overlooked in importance when recovering from your night out.
Even if alcohol isn’t consumed in large quantities, water is usually ignored leaving the body dehydrated.
Water carries nutrients to our cells, aids digestion by forming stomach secretions, flushes our bodies of waste, and keeps our kidneys healthy.
It keeps our moisture-rich organs (our skin, eyes, mouth and nose) functioning well, it lubricates and cushions our joints, and it regulates our body temperature and our metabolism.
Hydrating with mineral water after a night of drinking is crucial to all these bodily functions, and it will have you feeling significantly better.