"What about alcohol?"
This is a question I'm often asked when advising a client to start a new nutrition approach. Sure, there are many instances in which alcohol should be altogether avoided. Those working on a major weight loss goal, a predisposition toward alcoholism, or a sugar addiction have to be particularly careful. But there are also many instances in which alcohol might be perfectly fine to consume in moderation. In fact, some of my favorite libations come with real health benefits! To name a few...
Whiskey is my friend when fighting a sore throat. The high alcohol content provides instant relief for a number of head cold symptoms. It could even be beneficial to the immune system long term! Researchers say that ellagic acid, the antioxidant found in whiskey is cancer-fighting. If reaching for this choice, watch your portion and choose organic if it's a corn-based whiskey.
Red wine has been known to help with cholesterol and heart health. Why is that? Well, certain red wine grapes can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and polyphenols, the antioxidants found in red wide, guard against blood clotting.
Hard cider carries with it an instinctual "safe" factor...brought to our country by the pilgrims who found it safer to drink that contaminated water, it's still enjoyed by Americans today. Cider naturally has a lower alcohol content, so drinking a pint won't be a real threat to your system (if you're otherwise healthy and tolerant of alcohol). And while many alcohols are naturally gluten free, it's difficult to be sure with hard liquors that are made with a variety of grains. Not so with cider; it's just fermented apple juice, so the gluten sensitive are safe.
It has to be said that alcohol is a substance like caffeine or sugar...too much of a good thing can be taxing to the system. My recommendation is limiting your alcohol consumption to one drink, once or twice a week, depending on your body size. Your waist line and your liver will thank you!