Try sexy summer mocktails for health

Middle-aged Hispanic woman pouring cocktails

Image: Blend Images /

The festive season seems to give license to indulge in alcoholic beverages. A cool refreshing beer here, a delicious cocktail there—yet many proven health risks far outweigh any suggested benefits for heart health.

Alcohol consumption is now a proven cause of cancer, and the belief that it protects against heart disease is misguided, according to a position statement by Cancer Council Australia. While it has been known for more than 20 years that regular consumption of alcohol can lead to cancer, we now have specific evidence that it causes cancer of the pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel in men and breast in women.

And your level of risk goes up in line with your level of intake.

The previously reported role of alcohol in reducing the risk for light-to-moderate drinkers has been overestimated. While some promote a glass of red wine as good for your heart, the Heart Foundation advises against the consumption of it or other types of alcoholic drinks for the prevention or treatment of heart disease.

The impact of alcohol on your weight

Did you know that alcohol contains a similar amount of energy (kilojoules or calories) per gram as fat? If you’re watching your weight this summer, look no further than the glass under your nose.

Alcohol seems to go under the radar, possibly because it’s liquid, which is more difficult to imagine turning into body fat. To compare the figures, one gram of fat provides you with 37 kilojoules and one gram of alcohol delivers 29 kilojoules. What does this mean? Whether you sip on a glass of wine or guzzle a schooner of beer; picture drinking liquid oil!

If you’re trying to reach or maintain a healthy shape, alcohol is not your friend!

Switch to a sexy summer mocktail

Abstaining from alcohol is the most effective way to manage your weight and reduce your risk of heart and liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke and several cancers. Here are a few delicious mocktail ideas to help you give up the booze these summer holidays:

• Party Peach Mocktail: crushed ice, peach nectar and soda water
• Ginger Beer Mojito: mint, lime, ginger beer and ice
• Non-alcoholic Sangria: grape juice, orange juice, lime, blueberries, orange, banana and peaches
• Pina Colada: coconut milk (try Vitasoy), pineapple and ice
• Waterslide: watermelon, lime, mint and ice
• Cucumber Fennel Cooler: puree cucumber juice, soda water, fennel seeds, lemon rind and a touch of honey
• Festive Fruit Punch: cranberry juice, lime, orange, pineapple, starfruit, ice and tonic water

If you choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly

The National Health and Medical Research Council has set the following guidelines for safe alcohol consumption: ‘For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.’

Sue Radd is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and one of Australia’s leading nutritionists and health communicators. Her most recent book Food as Medicine: Eating for Your Best Health received the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Health and Nutrition Book in the world for 2016.

Category: Physical Health
Tags: christmas

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