Did you know that some drinks make Alcohol Flush Reaction, also known as, Asian Glow, symptoms worse? This is something that I have found through trial and error over the years, but in case you haven’t, I’ll spare you the pain!
First, the worst:
1) Dark liquors (rum, scotch, whiskey, brandy, cognac, etc.)
2) Any sugary mixed drinks
3) Wine (especially red)
5) Hard cider
6) Beer (especially IPAs and malt liquor)
All of these alcohols have a high amount of histamine and/or sugar, which tend to make Alcohol Flush Reaction symptoms much worse. Let me explain. First, since alcohol already causes dehydration in the body, you’re essentially doubling that by adding sugar, which also causes dehydration. They are also both processed through the liver, and if you have an alcohol intolerance, this will make your symptoms even worse. Second, histamine is a chemical that the body makes when it responds to allergies, so if you are sensitive to histamine already and you are adding more histamine from the alcohol you consume, you will feel the effects of Alcohol Flush Reaction much more severely.
Fortunately, there are three types of alcohol with low histamine that are likely to minimize symptoms. Please note that all of these should be unflavored, since flavored = added sugar:
Best alcohol for Asian flush / glow:
Even though these three liquors are a better option because they are significantly lower in histamine and sugar, you will still experience some Alcohol Flush Reaction symptoms. However, your symptoms will be way less severe than if you were to drink, for example, red wine.
Remember to avoid consuming any sugary mixers/chasers such as tonic, soda pop, all fruit juices (cranberry, grapefruit, etc.), pre-made mixers like margarita mix, etc., with these alcohols. The best drink to pair with these three liquors is soda water and a lemon or lime! Also check out this post for some other tips and tricks for how to minimize your symptoms.