The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes endless amounts of food and alcohol. (And often a few extra pounds because of them.) We might not be able to control the calories in your grandma’s pumpkin pie, but we can at least offer up some cocktails to help you imbibe with a little less guilt.
Eggnog and stuffing certainly aren’t on the list of superfoods every doctor recommends, but each of these five cocktails boasts an ingredient (or two or three!) that’s proven to be hugely beneficial to your health.
Drink: Hot Toddy
Recipe: Whiskey, Honey, Lemon, Hot Water
Star Ingredient: Lemon
Why It’s Good For You: Lemon (especially when combined with honey) is a proven sore throat soother, but it has a host of other benefits, as well. Just one of the fruit has more than 100% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C, which can increase good cholesterol and strengthen your bones. The citrus flavonoids in lemons are also anti-inflammatory and can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Drink: Swedish Mule
Recipe: Potato Vodka, Ginger Beer, Lime, Simple Syrup
Star Ingredient: Ginger Beer
Why It’s Good For You: The key ingredient in ginger beer — ginger, obviously — contains active compounds that can relieve pain and nausea, and (like lemons) prevent inflammation and cancer growth. Look for brands that list the actual amount of real ginger in each serving, or make your own ginger beer at home.
Drink: Blueberry Smash
Recipe: Vodka, St. Germain, Blueberries, Lemon, Lime, Mint
Star Ingredient: Blueberries
Why It’s Good For You: Blueberries are more or less the MVP of the anti-aging world. They’re packed with antioxidants that improve brain function, memory, and motor coordination — the loss of which are commonly seen in the aging process. Not only that, but the antioxidants have more cancer-fighting power than pretty much any other fruit around.
Drink: Pomegranate Bourbon Cocktail
Recipe: Bourbon, Pomegranate Juice, Pomegranate Molasses, Orange Juice, Bitters
Star Ingredient: Pomegranate Juice
Why It’s Good For You: We’ve all heard about the amazing antioxidants found in red wine and green tea. Well, guess what? Pomegranates have up to three times that amount. The juice reduces plaque in the arteries, which can help prevent stroke and heart disease.
Drink: Avocado Daiquiri
Health-Boosting Ingredient: Avocado
Why It’s Good For You: Forget those 700 calorie, sugar-laden margaritas. The avocado in this recipe brings a savoriness to the drink, while also delivering monounsaturated fats that reduce your risk for all kinds of cancers. Avocados help the blood and tissue regenerate, which is especially beneficial for the heart. They’re also a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that supports skin health. (That’s right. You heard it hear it here first: Drinking margaritas can make you more beautiful.)
Ask most health and fitness experts, and they’re likely to tell you that alcohol and diets don’t mix. Well, not according to Lüc Carl. After years of late-night food binges and excessive drinking, the drummer and bar manager set out to lose weight without giving up the booze. His memoir, The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds… Wasted, is a must-read for anyone looking to get healthy and drink beer at the same time.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Serious Eats