Something that is so dope about you, our readers, is that you're all so different. So many different perspectives, insights and opinions regularly hop onto our platform to help spice things up. We dig that. We really do. We also like the moments when everyone is on the same page; like when it comes to red wine. Chile, if there's one thing that at least 95.6 percent of you seem to have in your possession, it's a bottle of that.
As I was thinking about how I could finesse that reality into a "drink and be merry" piece for the holiday season, I happened upon a few articles that discussed the benefits of consuming alcoholic drinks that are gluten-free. Gluten-free alcohol? I never really thought about that before. And of course, being the inquisitive researcher that I am, the notion sent me down the rabbit hole of looking for other health benefits that come from having a drink or two—or few.
If stopping by your local liquor store is most definitely on your to-do list during the last leg of the holiday season, here are some of the alcoholic drinks that will do more than keep you toasty and get you tipsy. These picks are actually pretty damn good for you, too. But first, let's address a few health-related questions you might have had about alcohol but never got around to getting answers to.
What Kind of Alcohol Is Gluten-Free?
Let's start with this: "Gluten-free" is a popular term in the health-food community. If you've ever wondered exactly what gluten is, it's basically the two proteins—prolamins and glutelins—that give cereal grains (especially wheat) its elastic texture. Consuming it is definitely a no-no for people who have celiac disease, however, if you've been eating things such as cereal grains, soy sauce, chicken broth, condiments, or those veggie burgers that everyone's been raving about, and you immediately feel icky afterwards, you should probably take an allergy test. You may be allergic to gluten.
And what about liquors that contain gluten? Beer is a big one, however, if you decide to look for the kind of alcoholic drinks that are made from pure distilled liquor, you should be all good. (Yes, even when it comes to beer.) Alcoholic drinks that are gluten-free after distillation include whiskey, tequila, bourbon, gin, vodka, scotch, and brandy.
What Are the Health “Pros” of Consuming Alcohol?
When it comes to consuming alcohol, I'm pretty sure you already know that moderation is key. If you're careful about how much you toss back, having a drink can actually prove to be pretty beneficial on the health tip. Beer is rich in B vitamins, and both beer and wine can lower your risk of getting kidney stones. Hard apple cider is packed with antioxidants. Moderate consumption of alcohol overall can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, even diabetes.
The key is to have no more than a couple of glasses of your favorite drink a week (unless it's red wine; you can have a glass of that daily) and to try and drink the higher quality stuff as often as possible. If you stick to those two rules (and don't drive right after consuming alcohol, of course), you should be able to enjoy your favorite liquor without any worry or guilt.
What Are the Health “Cons” of Consuming Alcohol?
Almost anything in life that has its pros also has its cons. As far as the downside of alcohol goes, a read that you might want to check out is "Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Drink Alcohol". It mentions effects from a spike in dopamine levels and potential memory loss to insomnia and brain-cell deterioration. As for us women, we've got to be even more cautious because our bodies do not naturally produce what is known as the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme, an enzyme that helps to break down alcohol when it hits our stomach and liver.
Knowing all of this won't stop me from consuming alcohol from time to time. What it will do is prevent a sista from becoming a lush. Again, alcohol isn't the devil by any stretch, but it can become your worst enemy if you're not responsible with your drinking.
So, Just What Are the Healthiest Alcoholic Drinks?
Red wine is good for you on so many different levels. It's got a ton of antioxidants to keep your immune system in good condition, silicon to help increase bone density, and properties to keep cancer cells at bay. The resveratrol that's in red wine also triggers an anti-aging protein in your system that can help to keep you looking younger for longer while also increasing your longevity in the process. Some other wonderful benefits when it comes to red wine consumption is it reduces stress, helps ward off depression, and can remove bacteria-causing tooth decay. It's also been shown to be a libido booster in women, which is always a big benefit.
The fermented grains in vodka actually make it a disinfectant and antitoxin drink that is as great on your body as it is inside of it. For example, if you dab a cotton ball into vodka and put it on your pimples, it can kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation. If you use it as a hair rinse on your shampoo days, it can fight the bacteria that causes dandruff and even promote hair growth. You can also rub a little vodka on your chest to reduce a fever fairly quickly. Internally, vodka contains no sugar and can contribute to lowering cholesterol levels too.
A Bloody Mary is most definitely an acquired taste. I mean, just think about what's in it—tomato juice, tabasco sauce, pepper, vodka, salt, and lemon juice. Still, if a crunk V-8 is your thing, the antioxidants in tomato juice (as well as the lemon juice that's in a Bloody Mary) can fight off free radicals, the fiber can keep you regular, and the vitamins C and E, lycopene and beta-carotene can keep your heart healthy. For detoxification of your system, it has chlorine and sulfur and the Vitamin K that's in it can keep your bones nice and strong.
Rum is what's left after distilled sugarcane molasses or juice ferments. The liquid ages in oak barrels and there you have it—rum! As far as health benefits, if you consume around 1 ½ oz, rum can help reduce anxiety, relieve muscle aches and pain, boost your immune system, make arthritis less uncomfortable and, some studies even say, can reduce your chances of having a heart attack (due to it being a blood thinner) or being diagnosed with dementia.
If your grandma is constantly trying to get you to drink a hot toddy when you're sick, it's not an old wives' tale. The reason why it's so effective is, in part, due to the whiskey that's in it. Whiskey serves as a decongestant because alcohol is able to dilate your blood vessels so that your mucus membranes can help to heal your infection. That's not all that whiskey is able to do. It's the kind of drink that can help to regulate your blood sugar levels, reduce stress and, because it's a low-calorie drink, a moderate amount of whiskey consumption won't cause you to pack on the pounds either.
If you're gonna do a few tequila (which is made from blue agave) shots, it's best to stick to no more than 1-2 shots at a time. If you do, it can increase your metabolism and even help you to get a sounder night's sleep. Two other awesome benefits of tequila are it's a prebiotic (which means that it supports healthy gut bacteria) and, if you drink the high-end kind, it's highly unlikely that you'll wake up with a hangover. Pretty cool, huh?
If you're looking for an alcoholic drink that is proven to be a real libido booster, a tall glass of champagne is exactly what you're looking for. A real plus that comes with champagne is it can increase blood circulation to your nether regions without zapping your energy levels in the process.
Some other good things about champagne is, like red wine, it's got antioxidants in it that are good for your heart; it contains proteins that can help to keep your short-term memory sharp and, the magnesium, potassium and zinc that it contains can keep you feeling really happy and upbeat.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a bottle on your way home; it should make for a really good time (especially if you're not alone) over the holiday season. #drinkup
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- Alcohol to Drink on a Gluten-Free Diet ›
- 10 Myths And Facts About Celiac Disease - Food Republic ›
- Gluten Free Alcohol Guide - Glutagen ›
- Gluten-Free Alcohol – Gluten-Free Survival Guide ›
- The Best Gluten-Free Liquor and Alcohol Brands | Tequila, Bourbon ... ›
- All The Alcohol You Can Drink On A Gluten-Free Diet - Gluten-Free ... ›
- Is alcohol gluten-free? - UChicago Medicine ›
- Gluten Free Beer, Alcohol and Wine - Gluten free recipes - gfJules ... ›
- Gluten Free Alcohol List - Ultimate Guide to Liquor, Beer, and Cider ... ›
- Is Liquor Gluten-Free? | BeyondCeliac.org ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports