Summer's healthiest tipples uncovered
When the sun's shining and your friends are all headed to your local's beer garden for a few tipples, it can be hard to resist. Drinking doesn't have to be bad news for your health - a little of what you fancy is fine, so as long as you remember to drink in moderation, it's fine. Make sure you have something to eat either before you head out or whilst you're there, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and you can minimise the effects alcohol has on your system.
There are definitely some tipples that are a healthier choice than others, so we've drawn up a short list of the healthiest drinks to enjoy this summer - although there's no reason you can't enjoy them year round!
Light not dark
Lighter alcohol is generally healthier as it's lower in calories, so light coloured spirits like vodka and gin are healthier alternatives to dark rum or beer.
Gin seem to be having a bit of a moment right now, with gin bars popping up across the UK in major cities. Good thing too, as gin actually has a number of health benefits.Not only is it the lowest in calories of any spirit, it's also packed with botanical ingredients such as coriander and lemongrass. It contains digestive enzymes which can help to prevent bloating, and it's made from juniper berries, a rich source of antioxidants. Gin is also a diuretic which means it flushes out your kidneys - just make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and avoid sugary mixers which can add hidden calories.
Whether you prefer white or red, the average small glass of wine contains around 100 calories - so a couple of glasses every now and then is fine. Wine contains antioxidants which can help to keep your heart healthy and it can also increase the good cholesterol (HDL) in your body, offering protection against heart disease. Red wine contains Resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, which can decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Choose red over white and you'll also have fresh breath as it contains flavan-3-ols which can help to reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth!
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila....We don't recommend overdoing it on the tequila front, but a couple of glasses of tequila mixed with soda water and lime is actually a pretty healthy choice. Tequila is made from Agavin, a naturally occurring sweetener, and some studies have shown that it can lower blood sugar levels. Because tequila is naturally sweet, drinking it with soda water and lime is really delicious, and it contains less calories than a margarita. Tequila is also gluten-free!
Some cocktails, such as margaritas, can be loaded with sugar and calories. Look out for additions such as flavoured syrups, that can add calories to even the simplest gin cocktails. Sometimes the simple drinks are the best, as you know exactly how many calories you're consuming. Opt for gin or tequila based cocktails with soda water - a mojito is also a fairly healthy option, but you might want to stick to just one or two as they do contain quite a bit of sugar.
Drinks to avoid
You might want to steer clear of beer when the sun starts shining this summer. A bottle of beer generally contains up to 15g of carbs, that's the same amount as one slice of bread! Most of us will be drinking at least a few beers at once, so you could be unknowingly consuming empty calories and carbs. Stick to spirits instead - vodka, whisky and scotch neat or on the rocks are lighter, healthier options as long as you stay away from sugary, carbonated mixers.
Most alcopops contain loads of sugar that's bad news for your teeth and your energy levels! Fruit-flavoured alcopops are often sickly sweet, and it's this sweetness that makes them so easy to drink, so you could end up drinking more than you intended too. if you want something fruity, a cocktail or even sangria (made with red wine) are healthier choices.
Don't overdo it
Drinking sensibly is even more important during the summer months - it's hotter, so our bodies sweat more and it is easy to become dehydrated. Make sure you're consuming plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks and try to avoid drinking too much when you're in direct sunlight - cocktails on the beach are a great idea, but you could find even one drink goes to your head more than usual! Follow our tips and have a happier, healthier summer!