If you’re doing Dry January you’ll be in good company – reports suggest one in five alcohol drinkers now take part in it. Just how good for you is cutting alcohol, even for a few weeks? In short: very. According to research, giving up booze for a month can earn you six extra REM cycles of sleep per night, reduce your risk of stroke, improve skin and even reduce liver fat.
If you’re combining your running routine with fat-burning goals this year, a break from alcohol could also help. One study found that alcohol temporarily reduces fat burning by 73%, meaning drinking can stall weight loss. It also increases levels of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to promote weight gain around the abdomen. The good news is there are more alcohol alternatives than ever to choose from, and some contain nutrients that can boost your health and running performance. (The lack of a hangover definitely helps, too!). Here are a few of my tried-and-tested favourite alcohol-free drinks. Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!
Swap gin and tonic for: New London Light
This award-winning bold and refreshing non-alcoholic spirit is carefully distilled with a combination of three botanicals; Macedonian juniper berries, zesty ginger and habanero capsicum. The juniper notes make it one of the most gin-like alternatives out there, and every bottle purchased helps to protect and regenerate one square metre of seagrass.
£27.50 for 70cl, salcombegin.com
Swap beer for: Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild IPA
This alcohol-free brew is great for craft beer fans who love a post-run pint. Made with a blend of five Northwest hops, this slightly bitter, malty brew will hit the spot and also kickstart your post-run rehydration.
£10.99 for 6 x 355ml, uk.athleticbrewing.com
Swap cocktails for: Caleño and mixer
If you want an indulgent post-run pick-me-up, try this tropical infusion of juniper and Inca Berry, citrus and spice botanicals. This slightly sweet, slightly tangy spirit alternative comes in a beautiful bottle and has a distinctly bright vibe about it. Why not team with coconut water for a hydrating electrolyte infusion?
£15 for 500ml, sainsburys.co.uk
Swap cider for: Lo Bros Kombucha
Need a change from mulled cider or the gallons of festive prosecco you’ve consumed? Get your hit of fizzy sweetness in the form of a fermented tea, rich in antioxidants (great for counteracting post-run inflammation) and wonderful served with a slice of green apple.
£2 for 330ml, ocado.com
Swap whisky for: Feragaia
More of a whisky by the fire kind of person? If Scottish spirits are your favourite, Feragaia could be the alcohol-free drink alternative for you. Feragaia is a distilled spirit made from 14 botanicals and blended and bottled in the Scottish Lowlands. A mix between Scotch and Kombucha, enjoy on the rocks or with a bitter grapefruit tonic.
£24.95 for 500ml, feragaia.com
Swap sparkling wine for: REAL
This Kombucha goes especially well with seafood and Japanese dishes. It is fermented as a sparkling wine from quality loose-leaf teas, offering a flavour profile akin to wine, with all the hydration and anti-inflammatory benefits of those healthy herbal teas.
£8 for 750ml, ocado.com
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