“…Everything in moderation, including moderation…”
— Oscar Wilde
You might ask yourself, what is this guy talking about? Healthy? Alcohol? Together in the same sentence? Well, yes, and no. In moderation, studies support the protective benefits of alcohol.
I’m not the morality nor the health police. It’s not my job or anyone else’s telling people how to live their lives. Some people drink alcohol, and if one does so, the usual advisory is drinking in moderation. As a health optimizer, my question is always, IF someone is going to do something, how can we “optimize better?”
So, from this perspective, is there a safer, smarter, better way to drink alcohol in 2020? Maybe there is? We have a popular amino acid supplement, along with two “healthy” alcohol choices. Perhaps there is something to this?
And if we are being honest, during these coronavirus COVID-19 times, many are drinking alcohol. As a recent review claims no amount of alcohol is healthy, please do not receive this article as a green light to start drinking for “health” benefits, which is not the intention here.
Step 1: Drink in Moderation
Studies support moderate alcohol consumption, (1 drink for women and 2 for men), may bring some meaningful health benefits, including a lower risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and premature death. While the benefit is small, and not as widely studied as a healthy diet, this is still worth mentioning. Invariably, drinking in excess clearly has the opposite negative effects on human health.
Step 2: NAC-IT-UP!
N-acetyl-cysteine, (NAC), is an amino acid, listed as an essential medicine in hospitals worldwide. Because of liver-protective effects, we see studies showing NAC as protective against the toxic effects of alcohol. One growing biohacking strategy is the use of 500 mg of NAC, 30 minutes prior to drinking.
When taken prior to drinking, this can maintain a protective effect on the liver, in a way “blocking” the toxic effects of alcohol consumption. To be clear, evidence shows taking NAC with or during alcohol consumption might have the opposite effect, so NAC users make a point to take it prior to drinking.
Step 3: “Healthy” Alcohol Choice #1 Red Wine
Red wine has 125 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates. Resveratrol, a polyphenol, an antioxidant continues to associating itself to a range of health benefits. While a serving of red wine has only 1/100th or 1 mg of a 100 mg resveratrol supplement capsule, it’s still worth consideration, along with its other antioxidants.
Some studies show wine polyphenols can be effective in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies show red wine linked to slight decreases in blood sugar. And finally, other studies are investigating the role of other anti-cancer red wine polyphenols, such as myricetin.
Step 3: “Healthy” Alcohol Choice #2 Gin
With 0 carbohydrates and 73 calories per serving, gin is an alcoholic drink distilled from juniper berries. The juniper berry gives gin one of the widest array of spirits, in a variety of flavors, origins, and styles. Possessing potent anti-inflammatory compounds through juniper berries, many who drink gin, report the taste growing on them.
One study reports an array of juniper berry benefits ranging from its anti-pathogenic actions to its protection of all 5 major body organs along with the anti-metabolic disease benefits. Other studies compare the antioxidant effects of gin to red wine s favorable, again when consumed in moderation. Another analysis finds solid evidence for juniper berries protecting against genetic damage along with meaningful antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Gin and Matcha: My Preferred “Healthy” Cocktail
I don’t always drink, but when I do, I prefer gin and matcha tea. As an enthusiastic daily iced matcha tea drinker, having a gin and iced matcha tea with stevia just makes sense to me. Containing L-theanine, EGCG, and PQQ, the health-promoting benefits of matcha tea are well documented.
This is the matcha tea, stevia, and NAC I use daily and as well for my gin and matcha tea when I do drink. Japanese matcha tea is the highest quality with the highest purity standards for heavy metal and bacterial contamination.
My Iced Gin and Matcha Recipe
- 1.5 cups cold water
- 1 cup ice
- 1 teaspoon matcha powdered tea (I only use Japanese matcha)
- 1 shot of gin (I prefer Hendricks or Tanqueray)
- Stevia to taste
Add 1 cup of cold water to a glass with ice.
Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup water, matcha, and shot of gin into a cocktail shaker. Close the lid and shake aggressively for 10–20 seconds.
Pour the matcha mixture into the glass and stir well prior to drinking.
Please remember to drink responsibly and in moderation, and please do not use this biohack to rationalize drinking in excess.
Your Friend in Prosperity,
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