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Go Ahead, Have a Drink!

Go Ahead, Have a Drink!

There are a number of reasons to watch alcohol consumption when ringing in the New Year. Not only can excess alcohol wreak havoc on your health, but it is also the number one cause behind an increase in car accidents during the holiday. So use caution when partying like it's 1999…er…2009.

There are still several ways to enjoy a New Year's libation and keep things under control. As a matter of fact, I am even convinced there's a way to have a drink or two and maintain a healthy way of living.

Here are a few ways to make a glass of wine or mixed drink a healthy choice:

* Try a ginger infused liquor drink. A bit of Bacardi Peach or Peach Schnapps mixed with ginger is not only a toasty drink, but the spicy additive will also help fight the common cold.

* A glass of red wine. Take a few sips of merlot or cabernet, and you will get a healthy dose of antioxidants. That's because red wines are packed with disease-fighting polyphenols, resveratrol and flavanoids. That deep purple color is known to fight heart disease, certain types of cancer and slow the progression of certain neurological disorders, like Parkinson's disease.

* Sip on beer. Even your favorite brew can keep you healthy. Just like its wine brother, a hoppy India Pale Ale, like North Coast Brewing Red Seal Ale or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, boasts polyphenols, fighting off viruses and high cholesterol.

Let's not forget, however, that a drink is only as healthy as its drinker. Keep things under control—and healthy—by sipping slowly and skipping the drinking games. Men should keep their alcohol limit to no more than two drinks and women should drink no more than one. A single drink constitutes 5 ounces of wine, 12 oz. of beer and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

My number one reason for moderating things this New Year's Eve? That nasty hangover that follows the next morning. Something about being sick to my stomach and dealing with a 24-hour migraine just is not the least bit appealing to me. That's why I pace myself and follow up a drink with a big glass of water—I've learned my lessons. For those of you who haven't learned your lessons, check out our tips for getting over hangovers.

—Caroline Shannon

Posted: 12/31/08

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I sometimes forget, living in New York, that people elsewhere have to arrange for designated drivers and really monitor alcohol levels for driving reasons. I wonder if New Yorkers drink more excessively on holidays like New Year's because the only thing they have to worry about is getting sick/having to go to the bathroom on the subway.