6 health benefits If your going sober this October
1. Weight loss
If you’re substituting your bevvy with family-sized bags of M&Ms, you can’t expect to suddenly loose weight, but if you’re eating like usual and dropping drink from your diet, you might find the those extra pounds are still there. This isn’t just because alcohol is calorific, it also increases your appetite – in fact, research has shown that people who have just two drinks consume 30% more food than someone sober.
2. Improved insides
Right, let’s get the obvious out of the way – we all know liquor is bad for livers. However, what you may not realise is just how quickly it starts to recover when you stop drinking. Scientists at University College London found that people who gave up the sauce for just five weeks had an average reduction of 15% in fat around the liver – one of the most common precursors to liver damage. And that wasn’t the only benefit: ‘Stopping drinking for a month alters liver fat, cholesterol and blood sugar, and helps them lose weight,’ consultant Kevin Moore told New Scientist.
3. Reduced risk
Lessening your alcohol amounts also gets you a reduced risk of lots of nasty diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, pancreatis and cancer. Of course, your likelihood of developing these conditions in the first place is significantly higher if you’re a very heavy drinker, but another benefit of reducing your alcohol intake is realising just how much you were drinking in the first place. Awareness is the first step to taking control, so even if you do incorporate alcohol back into your life, you might find yourself less likely to binge.
4. Better sleep
Studies have shown that drinking before bed messes with a certain kind of alpha wave in your brain, increasing its frequency and disrupting your much-needed shut-eye. Even when you do manage to get to sleep after a heavy night, the quality is much worse – giving it up means you can expect to get a much better night’s rest, leading to benefits like better concentration and improved memory. In the aforementioned UCL project, ratings of sleep quality rose after just a couple of weeks, leaving participants feeling brighter and more productive. If you’re eyeing a promotion, you might be wise to lay off the rose for a while…
5. Glowing skin
Sticking to soft drinks not only hydrates your skin far better, alleviating dryness and often calming symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, it reduces the redness and irritation that alcohol can introduce, and eases puffiness, leaving you looking healthy.
6. Positive. Mental. Attitude
A pause from drinking can make you feel refreshed, and better mentally as well as physically. Alcohol as a substance is a depressant, so it’s unsurprising that one study of female heavy drinkers showed that they were more likely to feel depressed than their light-drinking counterparts, and a reliance on booze can make you more prone to stress, and worse and managing it too.