Wine and Staying Healthy in 2013

As I write this post, I have to laugh at myself.  For the last week or so I’ve been basically in bed fighting off a nasty cold and today I’m still not much better.  So I’m definitely feeling a wee bit hypocritical writing this up!  Mainly though I wanted to summarize how to enjoy wine and still reach your health and fitness goals.  For a fun history of wine and health from the days of ancient Greece up to the present day, check out this Wikipedia article.

The good news is that most people who enjoy wine are already generally healthy people.  Studies show that wine drinkers tend to eat fresh fruits & vegetables,tend to consume lean meats, and wine drinkers also tend to incorporate some type of exercise into their lifestyle.  These qualities are important for a healthy body, whether or not you drink wine.

Wine and health is a definite balancing act.  The main benefits of wine are derived when it is consumed in moderation in conjunction with a meal.  Moderation means one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women or up to two glasses for men.  A 5 ounce glass of dry wine will probably run you around 100 calories, so be sure to consider that when you are figuring up how many calories you can consume to meet your goals.  Unfortunately, if you go over the moderation level, the more harmful effects of alcohol overtake the benefits.

A couple years ago when I was trying to lose 30 pounds, I ended up not allowing myself any wine before I ate.  Whenever I have a glass of wine when I’m slightly hungry, I lose my self-discipline to stick to sensible portion sizes of food.  So staying away from that first sip until I was about half-way through my meal really helped me stick to my goals.

Right now, with my cold still in full force, I am avoiding alcohol completely.  Many people have offered up the whiskey and honey home therapy, and much as I might like to imbibe away my sinus troubles, I’m afraid that the dehydrating factor of the alcohol will only hurt my chances of recovery.  Plus, I’m taking asprin, and asprin coupled with alcohol is pretty hard on the stomach.  If you were taking something with acetaminaphen in it (like tylenol), you’ll definitely want to avoid alcohol as that combo can be very hard on your liver.  And you need that liver!  So instead of whiskey or wine,  I’m drinking hot tea with lemon and honey, plain water, or occasionally a ginger ale while I’m dreaming of drinking a nice cold glass of Dry Creek.

Speaking of dreaming….I’m looking forward to getting back to yoga once this head cold disappears.  Yoga is great for gentle stretching, strengthening, and balance when you pratice on a regular basis.  It is also a fantastic way to unwind and relax for a while.  A glass of wine after a yoga session is the perfect way to put me right to sleep!

 I hope today’s post gave you some food for thought as you move forward into 2013.  Do you have any health-related goals this year?  I’d love to hear what you are working towards.  Cheers!