Alcohol is pretty much synonymous with parties, even at work events. The normalization of drinking in American culture has many consequences, but drinking in excess works against leading a healthy lifestyle. Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of about 95,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, for example, and an average of 29 people die per day in the U.S. from auto crashes involving a drunk driver.
Many people use alcohol as a coping tool to loosen up at parties, but doing so is a costly way of coping that can negatively impact your health and do far more harm than good. You can still sip refreshing and delectable drinks without having to imbibe if you’re interested in a more healthy lifestyle.
This guide will tell you more about alternatives to alcoholic beverages, and why you should consider making the switch to nonalcoholic drinks.
Benefits of Eliminating Alcohol
Alcohol can have devastating effects on your health, both mental and physical. Drinking it can cause dehydration, liver damage, mental health issues, and hangovers that include nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Alcohol consumption is also associated with increased cancer risk. Cutting it out or reducing consumption can have myriad health benefits, including:
Alcohol contributes to health issues such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Those who stop consuming it see positive changes in a matter of weeks. They can reverse damage from alcohol-induced fatty liver disease after just two weeks without drinking, for example
Most alcoholic drinks are high in calories and sugars, especially mixed drinks. Sugary drinks account for almost half of sugar consumption. Cutting out sugary and high-calorie beverages can have positive implications for weight loss.
Decreased Risk of Cancer
Alcohol is a known human carcinogen. Consumption has been implicated in esophageal, head and neck, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. The longer and the more you drink, the higher the likelihood of developing alcohol-associated cancer. Approximately 3.5% of deaths due to cancer in the U.S. were shown to be alcohol-related.
Decreased Risk of Accidents
Alcohol has been implicated in half of serious trauma injuries and deaths due to drowning, homicides, and burns. Four out of 10 fatal falls and traffic accidents are also related. Reducing consumption – or eliminating it – cuts back on your likelihood of injury (and hangovers!).
Lowered Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
It’s commonly believed that a glass of red wine per day can improve heart health, but alcohol guidelines are just a starting point. Red wine may only have heart health benefits in those who drink less than a single drink per day. Reducing your alcohol intake – or quitting altogether – can lower your blood pressure and triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart failure. Not drinking is always a much healthier choice for your heart than drinking.
Now that you know some of the benefits of reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, you’re probably wondering what you can sip on instead. Keep reading to learn about five tasty (and healthy) alternatives to drinking alcoholic beverages. These are also perfect for your next summer shindig.
5 Healthy Nonalcoholic Beverages to Try
Just because you skip the alcohol doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun at parties – or the flavor. Here are five healthy alternatives so you can sip in style, no matter the occasion.
1. The Hey Bey Bey for Sweet and Sour Fans
This mocktail by bartender Fanny Chu of the Donna Brooklyn Cocktail Bar is called Hey Bey Bey, and it’s the perfect mix of sweet and sour. Combine two ounces of watermelon juice, ¾ of an ounce of bread and butter pickle brine, and half an ounce of lime juice in an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a glass of your choice over ice. Top with tonic water, stir well and garnish with lime or cucumber.
2. Sparkling Waters Infused With Fruit
Flavored sparkling waters are quick and easy, and you can jazz them up for a mocktail feel. Simply crack open a cold one and pour it on the rocks, adding in fresh fruit like berries, cucumber, and limes, along with fresh herbs like mint or basil. Pop in a straw and sip away.
Faloodeh is a Persian drink concocted with apple, rose water, cinnamon, ice, and light sugar. The sweet taste will likely remind you of fruity cocktails. You can either buy rose water or boil rose or hibiscus petals in water to make your own. Blend the rose or hibiscus water in a blender with hibiscus and crushed ice, which will make it frothy, like a daiquiri. You can skip the sugar – the rosewater, apple, and cinnamon will provide natural sugars.
5. Cucumber, Mint, and Jalapeño Mocktail
Taco Tuesday just got an upgrade. Think of this mocktail as a replacement for a spicy margarita. Combine cucumbers, mint, and some chopped-up jalapeño and add to carbonated seltzer or club soda. Add a little bit of sugar and lemon juice if you want to add some sweetness. This mocktail can also be adapted for people who don’t like spicy things – simply leave out the jalapeños and make it a cucumber and mint mocktail.
There are many alternatives to drinking alcohol. You can get creative and craft all kinds of healthy and flavorful nonalcoholic drinks – the sky is truly the limit. The best part is that you don’t have to wait for a party to indulge in one of these delicious drinks.
Get Your Health Questions Answered by a Professional
Cutting out alcohol may seem challenging, but your body will thank you for it. Dr. Karen Threlkel is a naturopathic doctor in the Greater Washington, D.C., area, and she has answers to your questions about cutting out alcohol or living a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Threlkel also provides natural remedies and treatments for various health issues.
Schedule a consultation today to see how a holistic approach to medical care can benefit you.