Well Being

A Few Ideas To Help You Drink Responsibly

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I'd hate to ruin anyone's happy hour plans this evening, but before you hit that $4 chardonnay too hard, might we offer a few ideas to help you drink more responsibly?

Because although few people realize it, alcohol can drive up risk for all sorts of cancers — especially breast cancer. And even moderate alcohol consumption — in the 1.5 drinks per day range — is a significant risk factor. [More on that here.]

One and a half drinks per day, though, is still 10 and a half drinks per week. Even a glass of wine each night or a couple beers a couple times a week would put you under that threshold. Among other perfectly good reasons for drinking (it's enjoyable! it's delicious!), moderate alcohol consumption — especially of red wine — is tied to several health benefits, including decreased breast cancer risk.

If you have trouble minimizing your alcohol consumption in social settings, here are a few (traditional and not-so-traditional) suggestions for cutting back:

• Meet friends for drinks at a cafe or combo bar/coffee shop instead of a traditional bar. The atmosphere is more conducive to talking and slow drinking and you can alternate alcoholic drinks with tea.

• Speaking of tea … Kombucha: Bring a bottle along to parties. The carbonation and mild alcohol content make it a more palatable between-beer beverage than tap water.

• Along the kombucha fake-out lines: If you're going to a BYOB party, bring yourself a few non-alcoholic beers, too. My dad used to do this when we went to the beach or all-day pool parties at his friend's house; his cooler would be equal parts Killian's and O'Doul's. It may sounds silly, but if you're the sort that finds it hard to be without a drink in hand at parties and genuinely like the taste of beer (or have the kind of friends who talk you into drinking games), it works.

•Smoke more weed.

Mix your liquor with diet soda.

I'm (mostly) kidding about those last two …

cancer risks