Celebrate with a Colorful, Healthy Toast to the New Year

How are you ringing in the New Year – with a few friends at home or out on Times Square? Whatever your plan, you want to celebrate and maybe drink a toast to the New Year. But maybe after weeks of holiday festivities, you’re not feeling like overdoing on food and drink. bigstock-Drinks-with-splashing-citrus-f-28116119

If you want to indulge in one glass of Champagne, that one midnight bubbly won’t break your calorie bank or exceed the healthy limit for alcohol. But if you party for several hours, those pre-midnight beverages can add up. With a little planning though,  you can still stick with AICR’s recommendation to lower your cancer risk: limit your alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink per day for women, two for men.

Going Out Plan:

Look for the low or non-calorie drinks – grab choices like sparkling waters, sugar-free sodas and tea. Or put a splash of wine or juice into a glass of sparkling or soda water for a light spritzer. And focus on dancing – you can stay active and not need to have a drink in your hand all night.

Hosting Plan:

Get creative and become a mixologist or let your guests try their hand at mixology. Offer a “Create Your Own Beverage Bar” starting with a variety of pretty glasses and stemware along with these colorful and tasty ingredients:

Beverage Base (plain or flavored; sugar-free)

  • Club soda or seltzer water
  • Sparkling and mineral waters
  • Tonic water

Flavors

  • Fruit juices and nectars – pomegranate, citrus, apricot
  • Coconut water
  • Teas (black, green, white, chai)
  • Wine
  • Liquors

Healthy Enhancers

  • Herbs – mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • Fresh or frozen fruits, whole or sliced; berries, melon, pomegranate seeds, kiwi
  • Citrus peels and slices of lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange
  • Chopped fruit: apples, mangoes, papaya, pineapple
  • Flavored ice cubes: green tea, 100% fruit juice, chopped fruit

You and your guests can have fun creating new combos and maybe hit on some ideas that will help you work toward a healthier weight for lower cancer risk and better overall health or just add color and flavor to your drinks.

Please share your healthy creations with us and have a happy healthy New Year!

See AICR’s Test Kitchen beverages section and a Sonja’s blog on infused waters for more healthy beverage ideas.


Study: Daily Alcohol Drink Shortens Life and Ups Cancer Death Risk

sangriaDrinking a couple glasses of wine or any alcohol beverage every day may increase the risk of dying from cancer and shorten your life by almost two decades, suggests a new study.

The study was published yesterday in the online issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

For the study, researchers looked at recent U.S. data on cancer mortality and two large surveys on alcohol consumption. They used analysis of the literature linking alcohol consumption to cancer risk to determine risk of mortality. The scientists calculated the average number of standard alcoholic drinks (14 grams of alcohol) consumed per day.

The investigators focused their analysis on the seven cancers linked to alcohol consumption: oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum, and female breast cancer.

Using two different methods, they estimated that alcohol caused on average 19,500 cancer deaths each year, which accounts for approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, and esophagus were the most common forms of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths for men, accounting for approximately 4,000-8,400 cancer deaths annually. Continue reading


Alcohol Ups Colorectal Cancer Risk: Family Matters

The research showing that alcohol increases the risk of colorectal cancer is clear. But now a large new study suggests that people who have a family history of colorectal cancer may be especially susceptible to the effects of alcohol increasing their risk of the cancer.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and you can read the abstract here. (One of the authors, Harvard University researcher Edward Giovannucci, spoke at last year’s AICR Research Conference.)

In the study, researchers looked at alcohol consumption patterns among approximately 135,000 men and women, starting in 1980 (for the women) and 1986 (for the men). Every few years the participants answered questionnaires about how much alcohol they drank and reported whether they had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

After following the participants through 2006, the study first looked at the whole population. It found that those who drank the most alcohol — over 30 grams of alcohol per day on average, which is about 2 drinks – had an increased risk of colon cancer when compared to those who didn’t drink any alcohol. Continue reading