New Year’s Eve is upon us and what’s a countdown without a glass of bubbly? Hell, this whole holiday season is met with a mug of festive mulled wine and spiked apple cider? But in my profession, I see so many adverse effects of drinking. Not only is it inflaming and vasodilating, aggravating rosacea, eczema and acne but it also has an effect on hormones too (even one alcoholic beverage intake steeply spikes our estrogen) leading to hormonal breakouts. And lets not forget its impact on non-beauty related health concerns such as heart disease, obesity and blood sugar control. Is there a way of drinking alcohol healthy? Of course there is! It is all about moderation and in moderation there is research consumption can actually be healthy for you. I will go one further and also say it is the type of alcohol you choose for your constitution. According to Ayurveda, there are better and worse choices based on your physiological tendencies (aka. Dosha!).
Drinking For Inflammation
In Ayurveda, individuals prone to inflammation, high blood pressure and skin redness are said to have high “Pitta”. This is similar to the concept of “yang” energy in Chinese Medicine. These people run hot and are also inclined to be type A personalities who easily get “hangry”. For Pittas, cold beer can actually be balancing. The cooling qualities of hops and beer’s slight bitter taste is the antithesis to this heated, inflamed fire dosha, especially during hot weather. Hello sumer BBQ brews!
Drinking with Dry Skin and Dehydration
Vatas, are those prone to dry skin, dehydration and constipation (due to dehydration). These constitutions are often nervous types with lots of energy but also a pattern towards stress and adrenal fatigue (causing more dehydration). According to Ayurveda, they can indulge in a glass of crisp, dry white wine because it is astringent and circulation stimulating. Drinking this before meals can even help stimulate digestion which is beneficial for this dosha which tends to have digestive irregularity.
Drinking For Water-Retention and Yeast
Yeast, fungus and candida are all signs of “internal dampness” in Asian medicine or Kapha in Ayurveda specifically. Signs of dampness often include an accumulation of mucous, water-retention and weight gain. Bad news Kaphas, you should strictly refrain from alcohol consumption – that is another reason its a no no during a candida cleanse. The fermented element increases dampness and yeast in the body, which is usually an issue for this constitution. However, there are medicated Ayurvedic wines called drakshas which can benefit Kapha in the very small amounts. Drakshas are made to aid a number of health issues from digestion to heal the reproductive problems.
Alcohol is used as a vehicle for medicine for Kapha because it permeates fat well. Here, herbs and medicines have been seared into a wine base and helps penetration of the tincture. This, of course, is up to the discretion of a Ayurvedic Practitioner or Doctor who has seen and diagnosed said Kapha patient – and it is taken in small, therapeutic doses only. But once the dampness is under control, you can again have occasional amounts of alcohol (talk about motivation eh?).
So, as long as we are careful about when, how and in what amounts we drink alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle and even be used to help us maintain balance. I don’t know about you, but I’ll cheers to that!