Posts Tagged ‘health’

Healthy Alcohol Drinking this Summer

healthier drink this summer

Summer is knocking at the door and what great way to beat the summer heat than to drink champagne and cocktails during the happy hour. Raise your glasses!

But nothing lasts forever, and so does the happy hour. Did you ever stop to think about all the calories you drank then? I bet you didn’t, but you should have!

According to Crystal Bouchard, a dietitian from Bayhealth Medical Center, acetate is the byproduct of alcohol when it is being broken down by our body. It is also seen when our body breaks down fat or carbohydrates. However, only less work is needed when the body breaks down alcohol because it has lesser amounts of fiber and nutrients.

Thus, with only less work and burn, you will gain more weight when you drink alcohol.

“There’s no fiber, there’s nothing really going on there, so essentially when it breaks down it puts any other fat breakdown on hold,” says Bouchard.

If you don’t want to gain those unwanted weight, you should ask for “skinny” options from your bartender. Or, you can eat a filling meal before heading out for a drink. You may order appetizers at happy hour as well.

An important thing to keep in mind is that women shouldn’t drink more than one drink a day; while men should only have 2 drinks, at most. Here are some healthy cocktail tips.

healthier drink this summer

Happy Hour Drinks this Summer.

Drink Only in Moderation

Note that champagne has about 84 calories; therefore, don’t mix it with sweetened juices and aim for a fresh, clean drink.

Lessen your Consumption of Crushes

Summer has always been the time of sipping Orange Crushes, which typically contains orange flavored vodka from Smirnoff, triple sec, and Sierra Mist with a freshly squeezed orange juice.

For a healthier option, you might want to do away with Sierra Mist and mix club soda for some zest, instead; or go with unsweetened spirits. You may opt for unflavored gin, vodka, rum, whisky, brandy, tequila, and cognac as they only contain 65 calories in one serving.

“There’s always a lower calorie alternative with mix-ins,” says Bouchard. “As long as it’s portioned out it’s totally acceptable.”


“I would love to say beer is a healthy beverage, but it really is liquid bread,” the manager of Dogfish Head Brewery’s new Chesapeake and Maine restaurant, Mike Babcock, jokingly said.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, however. Dogfish Head Brewery’s Namaste or Festina Peche beers are among the light varieties of beer without that many calories. Light beer has an average of only 110 calories per serving.

Drink Wine Wisely

Choose wines that are drier and less sweet because they have fewer calories. A glass of wine has about 125 calories.

Choose Tequila

The “Original Agave” has Patron Citronge, El Jimador Tequila, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar. You can do away with nectar to save some calories.

Use Cucumber

You can add flavor to your spirits by infusing cucumber. You might want to try the Salt and Pepper Cup of Chespeake and Maine as it contains cucumber slices that make the drink really refreshing.

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Why our Bodies React Differently to Different Types of Alcohol

Alcohol effects

We all have our downfalls when it comes to alcohol. And because we are all created unique, our “poison” may not be the same; you may easily get drunk with tequila, while your friend would get knocked out by vodka. While others claim that they don’t have alcohol downfalls at all, some swear that different alcohols cause varying effects. But what do scientists think about this? Are some alcohols worse for you than others?

Whatever your alcoholic drink may be, it contains the same ingredient: ethanol. Your liver acts to filter the blood from the digestive tract, this includes processing the alcohol-laden blood after drinking a glass of wine and other liquors. Although it is an efficient and effective organ, your liver can only handle so much at a time. Thus, when it becomes overloaded, the excess goes back to the blood stream and travel to every organ in your body, including your brain; this results in intoxication.

Alcohol concentration is a significant factor when it comes to the physical effects of alcohol. The amount of alcohol you sip will determine how difficult it is for the liver to process and absorb it. Thus, other ingredients may be contributing factors as to the effectiveness of your liver, as well as the sensations that you may feel. Additionally, impurities in poorly produced brands of alcohol may enhance its effects. But the most important of these components are “congeners”.

Alcohol effects

Scientific studies suggest different alcohols do have different effects due to alcohol concentration levels and other ingredients. Gerard Julien, Getty Images

Why we get Hangovers

Congeners are organic molecules produced during the fermentation process and contain small amounts of chemicals, like methanol, as well as other alcohols, esters, tannins, and acetone. Although they are usually found in darker-colored drinks, they influence the taste and aroma of all alcoholic beverages; their levels differ according to the type of alcohol and brand.

Congeners also contribute to the symptoms of hangover: that feeling of grogginess and headache the morning after drinking way too much. Although hangovers can’t kill you, they are a manifestation of poisoning in your blood. As we all know, blood is important in transporting oxygen (not alcohol) to your organs and tissues. Thus, alcoholic beverages that have higher levels of congeners are worse for your hangovers and your health than those with lesser ones.

Different Alcohols, Different Behaviors

A 1997 study shows that “different alcohols affect people differently” in the short term. In the study, psychologists pitted beer against a “blue, peppermint concoction” of exactly equal alcohol concentration. Those who drank the unfamiliar blue mixture performed worse on motor and cognitive tasks and rated themselves as more intoxicated than those who drank beer. According to researchers, the familiar drink arouses familiar cues that we respond to in a conditioned manner.

In conclusion, biology and psychology suggest that different types of alcohols do have some different effects that may be due to the concentration levels of the alcohol, as well as some other ingredients, such as the congeners. Still, the idea of trying the unfamiliar may go to our heads temporarily as much as the alcohol itself.

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Who Says You Can’t Drink Alcohol While Losing Weight?

Losing weight with alcohol

As we all know, alcohol may give us either a beer belly or abs. As a matter of fact, according to a research conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who drink one or two glasses a day are less likely to gain weight than those who take an extra 433 calories on days they consume a couple of drinks.

Although drink-fueled foods may be the culprit for weight gain, 61 percent of the calories come from the alcohol itself. Therefore, if you’ve been trying to lose weight and you want to enjoy drinks on occasion, then you’d better think about the drinks you choose. Here are the best and worst alcohol beverages that you can order.

The Best Alcohol

  • Assuming that you’re drinking from a standard 5-ounce glass, you can expect to take in 100-120 calories per glass of red or white wine. However, you have to consider things when you choose to drink wine. White wine contains fewer carbohydrates, which makes a little difference when you talk about calories. Meanwhile, red wine is richer in antioxidants; the ellargic acid from the red wine helps delay the growth of fat cells, according to the 2014 study in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
  • “Fortified wine with higher alcohol content and infused spices and herbs, vermouth is a calorie saver if you have it by itself – as it’s commonly served in Europe,” said Georgie Fear, R.D., the author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss. It contains 64 calories per 1.5 ounce serving with only 15-18 percent alcohol. It also contains polyphenol compounds that help promote healthy weight loss.
  • Straight Liquor. If you’re worried about the calories, then shots and straight booze on the rocks are the best ways to go. As calories increase with alcohol content, the different isn’t that huge. For example, a shot of 86-proof whiskey has 105 calories, while a shot of 80-proof vodka has 97. Keep in mind, however, that the sweeter the liquor, the more calories it has. Thus, if you want a flavor boost, try low-calorie mixers.
  • Light Beers. With only little carbs and calories, these are the best beers for weight loss. Many of them contain 90 to 100 calories per 12 ounce, while extra-light beers only have 55 to 65 calories. Remember, though, to not use this as an excuse to have more beers than usual or you won’t reap the benefits.
Losing weight with alcohol


The Worst Alcohol

  • Cocktails are sugar-laden drinks, which mean it is packed with calories. For instance, when you drink margarita, your body may be overwhelmed with alcohol that your body won’t properly metabolize the sugar; instead, it will store it as fat.
  • Craft Beers. For the past few years, craft beers have been popular among those who drink. What they don’t realize is that it is packed with more calories than the regular beer. Every gram of this good stuff contains seven calories. For instance, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA with 18 percent alcohol per volume contains about 450 calories per bottle — which is typically a meal in a glass.

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A Shot of Whiskey and Pickle Juice, Anyone?

Pickleback Shot

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox caught the attention of many people as their first basemen, Kevin Millar, revealed to the media that some of the players drank shots of Jack Daniel’s before the 6th game of the American League Championship Series. Some say it might have been their lucky charm for winning the World Series for the first time since 1918.

The Spirit of Mama Juana

“It was one of those group team things, like shaving our heads last year. What we had was one small Gatorade cup, with a little Jack Daniel’s in it. We passed it around and everyone symbolically drank out of the same cup, because we are a team. It wasn’t as if guys were drunk. Can you imagine Trot Nixon or Jason Varitek or Mike Timlin actually sipping alcohol before a game? No way,” says Millar at that time.

Pedro Martinez, on the other hand, claims that the team didn’t drink Whiskey. He said they drank the Dominican spirit Mama Juana — a spirit made from rum, red wine and aged with herbs and tree bark. “We took a shot of Mama Juana every single game, before the game,” says Martinez in 2013.

Pickleback Shot

pickleback shot, Jack Daniel’s, (c) 2014 Graceland Bar-B-Q

Pickle Back Shot

Whether the stories are true or not, I doubt Steph Curry or Lebron James drinks a shot of booze before a big game. But if they do, they’d probably want to give a pickle back shot a try. Why? That’s because aside from a nice shot of booze, you’d probably reap the healthy benefits of pickle juice! Wait, pickle juice is healthy? You bet! Scientifically speaking, pickle juice is proven to help in relieving muscle cramps quickly.

“The 100% natural ingredients function as a neutral inhibitor which addresses the cramp at the source. It replenishes electrolytes in the body and it contains ten times the electrolytes as most sports drinks,” said Filip Keuppens, the director for Sales and Marketing at The Pickle Juice Company.

Pickle juice has high electrolyte content promotes hydration. It also functions as an anti-diuretic which prevents dehydration when drinking alcohol and helps in the recovery of a hangover the next day.

The Pickle Back Shot is similar to a beer and shot combination; but, instead of beer, it has pickle juice and a shot of whiskey. The whiskey is drunk first, followed by the pickle juice. The name itself represents only the pickle portion of the shot; and because it is enjoyed at the end, they added “back” after the pickle. While some people tweaked the drink by drinking whiskey and having a bite of pickle, you wouldn’t get the same health benefits if you do it this way.

According to Keuppens, “As a chaser, the sweet-and-sour nature of the brine is said to neutralize the burn of the alcohol, and the salt acting as a masking ingredient to counteract the harsh taste of the spirit.”

The shot is believed to be introduced by Reggie Cunningham, a bartender at the Bushwick Country Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2006. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t really invent the drink; rather, he learned it from one of his southern customers.

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Cocktails and Healthy Drinking

healthy vodka

If you feel bad because: (1) you didn’t bother with a dry January, (2) you tried them and fell of the wagon, and (3) you are having a wet January and you want to turn a new leaf and become healthy, this might help you…

A bar in London is serving cocktails that are made with matcha green tea, aloe juice, sea weed, and wheat grass to make you feel better about drinking vodka in the middle of the week. Truth is the fact that they are said to contain anti-oxidants is enough to convince most of us to order a glass or two; be honest!

The bar I’m talking about is Shoreditch’s Rivington Grill, which labeled its January cocktail menu the “clean-living” collection. Their drinks were made with D1 potato vodka that is called Greener Colada and Flu-Fighting Mojito. No sane doctor would prescribe vodka cocktails when you’re sick. But when you aren’t, mixing vegetable juice with a little bit (or more) vodka may be better than drinking Red Bull.

“I wanted to create something that provided Londoners with a healthier way to enjoy cocktails this January, feeding obsession around superfoods but retaining the sense of fun and relaxation of alcohol,” said Francesco Lombardi, the bar manager.

healthy vodka

Hard Health Shot (Picture: D1 / Rivington Grill / Carrie Tang /

Greener Colada

The Greener Colada is a “cleaner” version of the traditionally calorie-laden Pina Colada. It has matcha green tea that has antioxidants which boosts our metabolism. What makes this drink great is that it has low GI natural sweetener, agave syrup, and lactose-free coconut milk as replacement to a heavy cream.

Popeye Punch

Obviously, the Popeye Punch is made up of what Popeye eats: spinach. Flu-fighting ingredients, spinach and fresh ginger, has been mixed with an aloe vera base to give out a refreshing, classic and zesty Mojito.

Mary’s Bloody Healthy Remedy

This go-to hangover cure is given an additional boost as it is mixed with 2016’s hottest new super food: mineral-rich seaweed and laden with low-calorie chia seeds for added fiber, magnesium, and protein.

Hard Health Shot

Hard Health Shot is an exciting version of a nutritious wheatgrass shot, which features the vodka on the powerful concentration of the nutrients found in wheatgrass.

While all of these drinks can be ordered at the bar, you can also make them at home and serve them in parties if you want to save money. Their common denominator is the D1 Vodka. Aside from that, you also need to have a cocktail shaker as well as ice cubes.

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Whisky is Good for our Health!

whisky health

Whisky is among the best alcoholic beverage that you can drink. Not only does it have the least chances of giving you a hangover, but it is among the healthiest one around. You’d find that having a few shots of whiskey every week will help you to:

Prevent Weight Gain

Compared to other cocktail drinks, beers and wine, whisky is a low-calorie alcoholic drink that you can find on grocery and liquor stores. You may drink a bottle of whiskey without having to worry about gaining pounds. Thanks to its low sugar content!

Promote a Healthy Heart

Like wine and dark beer, whisky can also make the heart healthier. Not only does it reduce the chances of blood clot formation, it also lowers the risk for stroke and heart attack. The antioxidants found in whisky can prevent cholesterol from clogging up the arteries. It can even help increase good cholesterol levels.

Help Fight Cancer

Whisky is high in antioxidants that are known as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid prevents the body from coming into contact with carcinogens. Aside from that, it helps protect the body from chemotherapy and reduces oxidation in the body.

Enhance Brain Health

According to a study in 2003, drinking whisky helps reduce the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you’re concerned that your brain has slowed down with age, it might be time for you to start drinking whisky to protect the brain from any damages.

Relieves Stress

Stress is one of the main causes of a wide variety of health problems in our body. Fortunately, we have whisky as stress relievers! Whisky helps in reducing stress and anxiety levels as it calms your nerves and helps relax our body. It promotes circulation throughout the body, thereby providing oxygenated blood to the organs.

whisky health

Health Benefits of Whisky. By

Memory Booster

The antioxidants found in whisky also have memory-boosting effects. This same property also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, which helps keep the brain young and active.

Promotes Digestion

People drink whisky after meals to relax the body after eating heavily. It also helps curbing the appetite and prevents overeating. And what’s even better? It aids digestion, thereby reducing your risk of indigestion after a heavy meal.

Great for Diabetics

Because it has a zero-carb content, diabetic people can drink whisky without worrying much about their blood sugar levels. If you are one of them, a shot or two of whisky might just be right for you!

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Whisky Winner Gave a Toast for Inverclyde MSP’s Health

Inverclyde’s MSP

At New Year, Donald Mitchell gave a toast for Inverclyde’s MSP a good start after he made it to the victory in the Tele final festive competition.

Mitchell of Darroch Drive was named winner of the Tele final festive competition which features Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil.

During the awarding at the Tele office, Duncan McNeil MSP had handed Mitchell a bottle of Scottish Parliament whisky to the Whisky winner.

Inverclyde’s MSP

Duncan McNeil MSP, left, hands over the bottle of Scottish Parliament whisky to winner Donald Mitchell at the Tele office. Picture by George Munro.

Donald Mitchell had it all for a decade, and recently he had given away a Scottish Parliament whisky in a Tele festive contest. In May, he would be retiring at the Scottish Parliament elections. This would be his last to make an autographed bottle of the Scottish Parliament Speyside single malt.

Mitchell said that he started in the competition as a bit of festive fun and then become an annual event. He has 6 children and 13 grandchildren. He added that he had tried the whisky contest several times, however this was the first he had made a victory.

Furthermore, he said, that he was taken aback when the Tele office called him and said that he won the bottle. Mitchell said, “I enjoy a wee half, so this is a great prize, especially at this time of year. It will come in handy to greet visitors – and I’ll certainly be toasting Duncan’s health!”

This year, the competition would be this coming May, and that is according to the readers who were asked about when would be the next Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr. McNeil added that he was delighted that many people have joined the competition for over the years.

According to Tele office, the competition had been enjoyed by many and through the years there has been a great and healthy competition.

A toast for everybody!

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Alcohol Poisoning in Russia Left 8 Dead and Many Hospitalized

whisky jack daniels

There have been thirty people from Krasnoyarsk, a city in Siberia, rushed to the hospital and 8 have died from consuming toxic alcohol. According to some reports, the poisonous whisky had about 60% of extremely toxic methyl alcohol that can cause blindness and death when taken by humans.

“It can accumulate in the nervous system causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms — uncontrollable tremors, rigidity and paucity of movement. Part of your brain ceases to respond as it should,” says Dr. Sarah Jarvis.

Hospitals have long been admitting poisoning victims since November 21 and they fear there will still be more of them. According to hospital doctors, many of these victims belong in the middle class rather than the homeless or marginalized, who are usually the victims of extreme alcohol poisoning.

The Krasnoyarsk police said that the toxic bottles were purchased online for a very low price (250-300 roubles per bottle or $3.75 to $4.50), which makes it attractive to most consumers. They were packaged with “realistic labels” that can easily fool ordinary consumers.

Two Russian men, 25 and 29 years old, have been detained by the police and are under interrogation in order to find out who manufactured the poisonous alcohol and, whether or not, it had been shipped to other cities in Russia.

whisky jack daniels

How to verify the authenticity of the alcohol. By

“We are co-operating with the Russian authorities as they investigate the incident. The best way for consumers to protect themselves from such counterfeit product is to buy from reputable retail stores,” says Phil Lynch, the director of corporate communications of Jack Daniel’s, to the Daily Star Online.

According to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, this incident suggest that there are criminal groups operating in Russia that are the cause of these deaths and are perfectly aware of the consequences. They also won’t rule out the possibility that the alcohol was smuggled from abroad.

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What You Should Know About Whiskeys

bourbon whiskey

A freshly distilled Glenlivet in 1964 would have been clear and have tasted cereal-rich, slightly smoky, brightly fruity, and a bit solvent-like. However, it needed time to mellow down in a barrel.

More than 50 years later, the liquor is now deep amber in color without the hint of its smoky aroma. The fruity notes have become richer; there are caramel, chocolate, honey, and toffee characteristics; and there’s a hint of tannic dryness. Most of the initial alcohol has evaporated in the barrel, which left only 100 bottles available in the market.

How Whisky is made

Like any other spirit, whisky is influenced by its environment — the type of barrel, the charring in the interior, as well as the place where the barrel is stored. Over the course of time, these factors make a huge impact on the color, feel, and flavor of the whisky. And although we don’t have an idea about the magic of aging a barrel, we do know that it is extremely significant.

By law, bourbon must be aged in an unused, charred wood barrel; meanwhile, Scotch whisky is aged in barrels that have been previously used for bourbon or sherry. While bourbon is being aged in American oak barrels; Scotch whisky is often aged in European oak.

Barrels are usually toasted in Europe and charred in the US before it is used to age whiskies. The charring will serve as filters of the spirit as it partially removes flavors that are undesirable to the taste — it works just like water filters work at home.

bourbon whiskey

Whiskey is a fantastic beverage to sip, shoot, or enjoy with coke, but do you really know everything about your favorite adult beverage?. Image from

How Barrels affect the Flavor

The wood used in the Barrel adds flavor to the whisky: lignin adds vanilla and marzipan-like flavors; while lactone gives butter coconut flavor. Lignin and lactones constitute the major part of what is called the “wood flavor”.

The wood spice, on the other hand, is composed of another set of compounds. The tannins give an astringent flavor — they can also be found in teas and walnuts, giving a similarly dry mouth feel. Tannins extract the sweet butterscotch taste of whiskeys over time, making it taste more like an old wet log.

Finally, the smoke flavors of whisky are measured by the amount of phenols. Despite being associated with campfire smoke, phenols that are aged in a whisky barrel don’t blow away during windy days; but, rather transform there.

Bryan Davis of Lost Distillery said, “The longer you age, the more the phenols bond with other things in the solution to form new compounds like phenylated carboxylic esters, which tend to taste like honey. In a way, you trade smoke for honey.”

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There are Health Benefits of Drinking Whiskey? Count me in

Health Benefits of Whiskey

When many people think about drinking alcohol, any type of alcohol, the first thing that comes to mind is their health. They wonder if they are doing something that is going to harm their body in the long run.

While too much alcohol of any kind can be a bad thing, it is important to remember this: there can be benefits to your health as well. Does it get any better than that?

Believe it or not, there are health benefits associated with drinking whiskey. This doesn’t mean you should drink a bottle every night before going to bed. What it does mean is that whiskey is not as bad for your body as many people believe – and that is most definitely a good thing.

Here are several health benefits of drinking whiskey:

  1. No fat. More people than ever before are worried about how much fat is in their diet. When you drink whiskey, you don’t have to concern yourself with this. Believe it or not, a 1.5 oz shot does not contain any fat.
  2. Fights against the risk of cancer. Many people are unaware of the fact that alcohol contains what is known as ellagic accident. This is an antioxidant that is known to destroy cancer cells. Why is this important, you may ask? Well, whiskey is full of ellagic acid. In fact, it contains more than any other type of alcoholic beverage.
  3. Low carb alcohol. Along with fat, you need to think about how many carbohydrates you are pumping into your body on a daily basis. This is particularly true if you are hoping to lose weight.
    A 1.5 oz shot of whiskey only has approximately .04 grams of carbohydrates. This is much lower than many other types of alcohol.
  4. Helps you avoid many common medical concerns. It may be hard to get others to believe you, but past studies have shown that people who consume one or two alcoholic beverages per day, including whiskey, have a lower chance of dementia or having a stroke. This can also fight against your chance of developing diabetes down the line.
Health Benefits of Whiskey

Health Benefits of Whiskey
Image © Gresei –

Now that you are aware of the many health benefits associated with drinking whiskey, there is a good chance you will want to work this into your routine more often. It is possible to go overboard, so stay within your limits if you want to achieve the most benefits.

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