How do I cut back on booze

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I’m try­ing to cut down on al­co­hol but find it creep­ing back into my life par­tic­u­larly on the week­ends. How­much is too much and what is a good re­place­ment? Thanks, Kerry

Hi Kerry. Most peo­ple are aware that al­co­hol can im­pact health in a detri­men­tal way when reg­u­larly over-con­sumed. How­ever many are naive to the ex­tent at which this can oc­cur.

Re­duc­ing your con­sump­tion of al­co­hol is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of re­duc­ing your risk of many dis­eases in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous can­cers. While there is ev­i­dence to sug­gest that red wine may be ben­e­fi­cial for heart health, par­tic­u­larly small amounts, the ev­i­dence link­ing al­co­hol con­sump­tion to an in­creased risk of can­cer is sig­nif­i­cant.

One of the key points to con­sider is how much you’re ac­tu­ally drink­ing. Many peo­ple pour them­selves wine in bucket- sized glasses and end up con­sum­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more than a ‘‘stan­dard drink’’.

One stan­dard drink con­tains 10 grams of al­co­hol. A stan­dard drink is as small as a 330ml can of 4 per cent beer, 100ml of wine, or a 30ml nip of spir­its. Cur­rent guide­lines from a va­ri­ety of re­search-based health au­thor­i­ties sug­gest that peo­ple con­sume no more than two stan­dard drinks a day and no more than 10 stan­dard drinks a week.

We drink for wide and var­ied rea­sons. For some, it is the way they so­cialise, or the way they wind down from the day. Some use al­co­hol to dis­tract them­selves from thoughts and feel­ings they’d rather avoid. It can be a way that peo­ple cope.

Re­gard­less of the rea­son, many of us drink too much with­out even re­al­is­ing it. Util­is­ing strate­gies that don’t in­volve al­co­hol to help you mit­i­gate stress in your life such as med­i­ta­tion, reg­u­lar move­ment, talk­ing about your prob­lems with a friend are all sus­tain­able changes. How­ever, some­times peo­ple drink lit­er­ally be­cause they are thirsty and sparkling wa­ter with fresh lemon and mint or kom­bucha can re­ally hit the spot in­stead.

I travel a lot for work and of­ten ar­rive over­seas feel­ing half alive, what are your top health tips for tran­si­tion­ing into a new time zone? Thank you – Doug

Hi Doug. Eat lightly, stay hy­drated and avoid cof­fee or al­co­hol if you’re on long-haul flights – as th­ese will only de­hy­drate you fur­ther. I have found that many flight at­ten­dants are more than happy to bring hot wa­ter so that you can brew your own teas, this is an­other great way to stay hy­drated.

It’s par­tic­u­larly easy to fall into a mind­less eat­ing trap on plane, as food can be­come an oc­cu­pier/ an ac­tiv­ity. As many of us have been raised to ‘‘eat what we’re given’’ it can be chal­leng­ing for peo­ple to turn down meals. I can­not en­cour­age you enough to sim­ply eat when you are hun­gry and turn down any other meals you are of­fered. More of­ten than not you will be of­fered far more Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. food than is needed.

As soon as you land in your new des­ti­na­tion, look for a nour­ish­ing veg­etable juice to start fill­ing your body up with the nutri­tion it needs. If you can’t find a veg­etable juice look for one with fruits that are high in vi­ta­min C, cit­rus is a great op­tion.

It’s un­likely that you’ve had many ‘‘fresh’’ foods over the last few days of your travel so they’re a great re­viver. It can also be a good idea to travel with a vi­ta­min C sup­ple­ment to fur­ther sup­port the im­mune re­sponse after be­ing in the re­cy­cled air on the plane. When you get to your des­ti­na­tion, de­spite how tired you may feel, stay awake un­til the lo­cal night­time so you can get onto the lo­cal time zone.

Dr Libby is speak­ing across the coun­try dur­ing Oc­to­ber with her From Sur­viv­ing to Thriv­ing tour. More in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets avail­able from www.dr­libby.com

Many peo­ple pour them­selves wine in buck­et­sized glasses and end up con­sum­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more than a stan­dard drink.

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