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Responsible drinking tips for the holiday spirit

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimesha Walters
Red wine
Occupational Health Adviser at Red Stripe, Veronica Benain.

It's the most wonderful time of the year again and the holiday party season is already upon us. Celebratory glasses of bubbly are on hand and delicious cocktails are being served as we spend time with family, friends and colleagues.

But with all the season's merriment, open bars and the growing popularity of cooler fetes and bucket deals, even the most conservative may be tempted to push the limits with alcohol.

Occupational health advisor at Red Stripe Veronica Benain says there is a way to enjoy the season's offerings and strategically manage alcohol consumption at the same time.

"When we talk about responsible drinking, it means different things to different people," explains Benain. "You have to first know your limit, and that limit is based on your gender, weight, health and unique physiology. We do, however, recommend moderation across the board."

In addition to the general principle of moderation, Benain outlines some tips that should prove useful if you plan to imbibe this festive season.


* Alcohol Isn't for Everyone

Benain, who is also a registered nurse by profession, advises that alcohol isn't always safe for everyone. "In addition to pregnant and lactating mothers, persons who should avoid drinking include those who are on medication and those who have medical conditions in which they definitely cannot consume alcohol," she states.

* Eat First - Preferably Carbs and Fats

It's generally advised that one's stomach should have food in it before consuming alcohol. "The food provides a buffer and helps to somewhat slow the absorption of the alcohol. Food also protects the lining of your stomach," explains Benain. Carbohydrates and fats work best.

* Know Your Brands

"Be careful when trying brands of alcohol that you're unfamiliar with since you can't be certain of how any new brand might affect you," cautions Benain. "You can have similar brands, but one may have a higher alcohol content so while you're good with two drinks of your favourite blend, you may need to have just one of another brand, even if it's in the same product category."

* Male vs Female

While she is a proponent of equality in the workplace, Benain says men and women are generally different when it comes to alcohol. "We have different tolerance levels. Men can consume a little bit more because of how they're built, while women tend to feel the effects of alcohol quicker," she points out. She advises that as a rule, women should usually have up to two units in a night while men no more than four units.


See Part 2 in next week's Health Section.