Category Archives: Health

What Causes A Hangover?

Photo Credit: Anton Danilov

Photo Credit: Anton Danilov

Hangovers are often seen as a natural consequence of drinking too much. But did you know that as many as 30% of people are naturally resistant to hangovers? And for others, even a single drink can cause a hangover. This disparity in hangover occurrence may confuse you until you understand the anatomy of a hangover.

What Is a Hangover?

A hangover is the experience of adverse physical conditions after consuming alcohol. For some people, as long as they drink in moderation, there will be no hangover. Others might have a hangover after one drink if they are sensitive to impurities.

Hangover Symptoms

The symptoms of a hangover and the severity of symptoms may vary depending on an individual’s tolerance for alcohol and the amount of alcohol consumed. Generally, people with a hangover will experience any one or several of the following:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • light sensitivity
  • dehydration
  • fever
  • aversion to the smell or taste of alcohol

What Causes a Hangover?

There are two possible reasons that a drinker may experience a hangover. First is the dehydration due to increased urine production. Drinking a lot of water during or after your alcohol consumption can help to reduce the likelihood that you’ll have a hangover.

However, water won’t help if the hangover is caused by certain preservatives and impurities that are present in your drink. These chemicals may be present due to the fermentation process or as a method of enhancing the flavor of the drink you choose. If the toxins are causing your hangover then exercising can increase the rate at which your body detoxes.

Hangovers are no fun, but if you know how to prevent them or reduce their duration, they can become nothing more than a simple annoyance after a night out.

Whiskey for Sore Throat – Bourbon Cough Syrup Recipe

Cough Cough
Yes, the old timers, in days gone by, used to use Whiskey for treatment of a sore throat. The Bourbon Cough Syrup Recipe, as it was sometimes called, was a sure-fire way to combat a cold, sore throat, coughing, and so forth. Wait until you hear how easy it is to make: all you need is honey, lemon, water and some Bourbon. That’s all! It’s not rocket science, nor does it require an education from medical school, or a even a high level of expertise.

Homemade Cough Syrup

Photo Credit: Sally Crossthwaite

You would, of course, use your own ratios of each ingredient to your own preference, but a general base recipe to work off of looks something like this:

  • one ounce or one shot of Bourbon
  • maybe an ounce or two of water
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • one to two tablespoons of honey.

The honey is good for coating your sore throat and makes it easier to tolerate the Bourbon, for those who do not usually drink. The Bourbon might also help you sleep, and alcohol has often been a common ingredient in many cough and flu medicines over the years.

The water is optional, and you can heat the mixture on the stove in a small saucepan, while stirring it and being careful not to make it too hot. Some folks might opt for warming it up in the microwave. The drink should not be swallowed quickly, but rather sipped slowly and given a chance to soothe your sore throat.

Some people have been known to make the mixture only very slightly warm, and then actually gargle with it, before swallowing, which gives the liquid a chance to clear up any of the phlegm that might be in your throat.

Another alternative, would be to make some hot tea, and then add lots of lemon and honey, and a shot or two of the Bourbon. Then there is the traditional drink called a Hot Toddy, which consists of Whiskey, Brandy, or Rum, mixed with hot water or tea, along with lemon juice and honey according to your taste.

However you choose to care for your sore throat, we hope you feel better soon! Don’t forget to get some good rest too!

The video below attests to the use of this remedy, however, it also points out that medical care should not be ignored in the event that the illness worsens.

Stay tuned to the Flasks.com! Next week is Brandy week! Oh the joys of Brandy!

How Does a Blood Alcohol Calculator Work?

blood-alcohol-calculator

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

A Blood Alcohol Calculator is a chart that can help you determine whether or not you are taking a chance, after having some drinks, and you decide you want to drive home, or drive period. But why is it that Jim can have one whole drink and be able to drive while Johnny can only have half a drink? It all has to do with body mass. Let’s explain a little more.

The definition of blood alcohol content is the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream, expressed as a percentage. Blood alcohol content, or BAC, is used to determine whether a person is legally drunk, and is generally used to enforce the driving while intoxicated law. This law was put in place to protect people from driving under the influence of alcohol, which can endanger their lives and those of others on the roads and sidewalks. People should never drink and drive, but they sometimes do, and a Blood Alcohol Calculator might help them determine if they are under the legal limits.

The majority of motorists are not equipped with a Breathalyzer Digital Alcohol Detector like police officers carry, because they cost hundreds of dollars, and the pocket or keychain sized breathalyzer that are sold fairly cheaply, are grossly inaccurate, so… the blood alcohol calculator, while not state-of-the-art, can truly save lives.

drink-and-drive-cartoon

Photo Credit: Czarina Alegre

The BAC is measured as mass per volume measured by dividing grams of alcohol in an individual’s system by 100 milliliters of blood. This is then turned into a percentage. For example, in California as well as many other states, the highest legal BAC level a motor vehicle operator can have is .08%. This would mean that for every 100 ml of blood in that individuals body, there are 8 grams of alcohol in the blood stream.

So, a BAC chart will enable you to “estimate” based on your weight, and how many drinks you have had, and during what time frame, whether or not you should stay where you are, take a taxi, or let someone else drive.

When in doubt, don’t do it! Don’t drive, don’t jump off the third floor balcony into the swimming pool, and don’t attempt anything that can put you in the emergency room.

Beer Before Liquor? Liquor Before Beer? What’s the Deal??

People often ask the question, “Why Drink Beer Before Liquor?” or perhaps “Why Not Drink Beer Before Liquor?” There is an old saying, “Beer before whiskey, always risky. Whiskey before beer, never fear.” Then there is the, “Don’t mix the grape and the grain.” There is also, “Beer before liquor, never sicker; liquor before beer, never fear.”

According to Dr. Keri Peterson, who appeared on the TODAY show in December of 2010, to talk about this very subject, “It isn’t which order you consume your drinks in that matters, it’s the total amount of alcohol that you consume.” (see the video below)

When drinking any type of alcoholic beverage, your inhibition decreases, which often leads to drinking more, so consequently, if you start with a beverage that has a higher alcohol content, your inhibition goes down more quickly and you may tend to drink even more. Some people, such as college students, may enjoy beer more, than the taste of something like whiskey, so drinking a few beers, may help them “relax,” and then they can better handle the taste of the whiskey… either way, if they overindulge, they may get drunk, they may get sick, and they will probably have a nasty hangover.

Beer Cans

Photo Credit: Michelle Tribe

You cannot put beer in a flask, so maybe it is better to put one kind of alcohol, which you can mix with something like Coca-cola, wherever you are going, into your flask, and then you can stick to one type of beverage, and possibly reduce the risk of “mixing” various concoctions together.

It is also a myth when people say, “Eating before bed will absorb the alcohol in your stomach and ease a hangover.” Actually, you need to eat the food before the drinking begins, so that the alcohol will absorb more slowly into your bloodstream. Before bed, it would be better to drink a large glass of water.

Many people have a glass of wine to help them sleep, but actually alcohol disrupts sleep, so this too, is a myth. While enjoying a so-called “nightcap” may help you fall asleep more quickly, it actually interferes with the quality of the sleep that you get. You won’t spend enough time in the deepest cycle of sleep, called the REM cycle, and since you sleep much more lightly, you will probably wake up earlier, and not quite as rested.

What Are the Health Benefits of Beer? Antioxidant, Anti-Aging Drink

Good news everyone! Aside from being good for your psyche, they say that beer has quite a few health benefits, whomever “they” may be! Let’s take a closer look to see what this is all about.

Beer in Glasses

Photo Credit: Adam Fagen

Beer is known to contain anticancer properties, be good for your bones [density],  help reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, give a nice boost to our digestive systems, make us stay younger longer (anti-aging properties), and help us maintain our sanity by preventing dementia and coronary disease! Beer is also known to help counter effects of diabetes, gallstones, kidney stones and osteoporosis, and hypertension. So what’s with all the kale and organic pine nuts, huh?! We should all just down some brewskies and call it a day! These health benefits come, of course, with the understanding that the quantity we are consuming is moderate. Too much of anything is not good for you… even kale.

So, let’s look at a few of these health benefits more closely. Then YOU can defend your beer drinking habits, by reciting some of these health benefits of beer.

Beer Glass - Jeramey Jannene

Photo Credit: Jeramey Jannene

Nutritionally speaking, Beer, which is generally perferred in North America and Europe, has greater protein and vitamin B content than wine, while the antioxidant content is equivalent. Hops, a central component in beer brewing, is a rich source of flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. Beer constitutes a reliable source of some minerals which play important roles in some metabolic processes.

Drinking beer in moderation has been shown to strengthen bones (by increasing bone density), which helps prevent the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Beer is also a good source of vitamin B12 and folic acid. A deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid can lead to anaemia, which is something most people do NOT want (so go grab a brew!). Vitamin B12 is also known to be essential for maintaining normal growth, good memory and concentration. Vitamin B6, also knwon to be found in beer, protects against heart disease by preventing the build-up of homocysteine compounds. Beer has a thinning effect on blood and prevents the formation of unhealthy blood clots, which can dangerously block vital coronary arteries.

Xanthohumol, A flavonoid compound found in hops, is known to contain chemopreventive properties which help take cancer head on! Additionally, beer drinking increases the potency of vitamin E in our bodies. Vitamin E is a major antioxidant and, apart from being vital in maintenance of healthy skin, it slows down the aging process! Some studies even linked moderate beer consumption to lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Beer also acts as a diuretic, promoting increased urination and facilitating removal of toxic and other waste materials out of the body at a higher rate. It’s like beer is the long-awaited fountain of youth! Are you drinking yet?

So, there you go! Go have a toast to a long life in good health, and have a beer!

Alcohol and Pregnancy: Is it Okay to Drink While Pregnant?

Don't Drink While Pregnant Sign

Photo Credit: Jen Crothers

Drinking while pregnant has been a controversial issue as far back as we can remember. While many health experts say that a pregnant or nursing mothers should abstain from alcohol and drugs, there are various beliefs. Some say that drinking a daily glass of red wine during pregnancy is fine while other say no to even the tiniest drop. We’ll try and shed some light on the basic data available and help everyone come to their own conclusions as to what is right and wrong regarding alcohol and pregnancy.

To gain better insight, a group of Danish researchers examined more than 1,600 Danish women and their children. They compared children born to nondrinkers to those whose mothers could be categorized as light drinkers (1-4 drinks a week), moderate drinkers (5-8 drinks a week), or heavy drinkers (9 or more drinks per week). It’s important to note, however, that an alcoholic drink in Denmark is defined as 0.4 ounces of pure alcohol compared to 0.6 in the U.S.A.

These scientists controlled for outside factors, such as smoking and the mother’s intelligence, and found that light or moderate drinking while pregnant did not have any noticeable impact on their offspring’s overall IQ, attention span, or self-control. However, the children of heavy drinkers did have considerably shorter attention spans compared to their peers.

Dr. Jacquelyn Betrand, representative for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and co-author of three studies, is quoted as saying: “This study doesn’t change our recommendation. We have a long history that alcohol causes birth defects. Drinking during pregnancy is just not worth the risk.”

There are many pregnant women who will not take any kind of medication while pregnant, and there are those who will not even drink caffeine, or sugary drinks, while they’re expecting. It is better to be safe, than sorry, is the old adage, and it seems to apply to this situation.

Pregnant Woman Illustration Silhouette

Photo Credit: Jerome Ware

Most people would probably agree that drinking a bottle of vodka a day during pregnancy is a huge no-no. What about one glass of wine with dinner? Most women, whether they have been pregnant or not, feel very strongly one way or the other, on this topic: Is it Okay to Drink While Pregnant?

Some experts say that there is no amount of alcohol that is guaranteed safe during a pregnancy. Every pregnancy and every baby is different. It is possible that even minute, trace amounts of alcohol in the mother’s bloodstream can affect the fetus, leading to fetal alcohol effects such as mental retardation and physical disabilities. Since these side-effects can occur as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy, these experts advise that women who are trying to conceive cut alcohol out of their diets completely.

Each person has to use their own judgement, and decide what is best for them, but drinking during pregnancy seems to be too risky.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think about alcohol during pregnancy!