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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Healthy drinking – an oxymoron?

Here’s to unravelling the irony behind it
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - July 30, 2010
By: Wong Wei Chen
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Healthy drinking – an oxymoron?

“Stop drinking!”

“Nope, can’t do that.”

“It’s bad for your health!”

“I don’t care.”

Well, that sounds pretty much like an exchange between a health freak and a diehard drinker. Need alcohol and health be mutually exclusive? Or is there a middle path which may be taken by those who believe in the healthy lifestyle, yet appreciate a shot of liquor or a pint of beer? Let’s explore.

Dosage & gender
Whether alcohol is a tonic or poison very much depends on the amount you consume. Studies have suggested that maximum benefit can be derived from a regular regimen that involves limited amounts of this alcoholic beverages, ranging between one and two standard drinks.

But just how much alcohol a standard drink contains varies. To give you an idea, the alcohol content in one standard drink ranges from 10ml on the low side to around 20ml at the high end. The trick to dealing with such variation is to go for somewhere in between. So if you’re consuming red wine containing 15 per cent alcohol, 100ml of the wine (yielding 15ml of alcohol) ought to suffice.

For women above 40, one standard drink a day is good, while middle-aged men can do with one to two standard drinks per day. We men just got it better where booze is concerned!

Take care of your liver
Milk thistle is widely used as a supplement to improve liver function. Some clinical studies have reported that substances in milk thistle, especially a flavonoid called silymarin, not only protect the liver from toxins, but can actually regenerate liver tissue damaged by disease.

Like some people say, the liver is the body’s garbage processor, and all the toxic substances in your booze will have to go through this organ before they get ejected from your system. So please take care of your liver. If you drink daily, it’s a good idea to take a milk-thistle supplement on a daily basis too.

Exercise
Regular exercise is a good thing regardless of whether you drink. Sweating it out is a fantastic way of detoxifying, as perspiration facilitates the ejection of toxins through the skin. If you’re a regular drinker, exercise takes on greater significance, since you’re regularly consuming stuff that is, to some extent, harmful to and unwanted by your body.

Apart from detoxification, exercise helps in your fight against the bulge. Most alcoholic beverages are high in calories, and if you’re not careful, you could find yourself growing a beer belly. Jog, swim, lift weights or do a combination of these to keep your heart healthy and your body in shape.

Healthy drinking
It is perhaps a tad unrealistic to expect everyone to live a spartan lifestyle. I’d rather someone mercy-kill me than go through life chewing on celery and drinking mineral water.

Most of us need little “vices” to make life interesting, and if boozing is your game, just make sure you do it right. I think striking a neat balance between drinking and health is possible, so cheers to healthy drinking!

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