The advantages of not drinking alcohol are numerous; abstaining from alcohol will significantly improve your mind, mood, and overall health.
For some, the decision to stop drinking alcohol may appear to be a major life adjustment. However, with so many benefits to your health – whether it’s to your brain, organs, or simply saying goodbye to googling how to avoid a hangover and the harmful affects of alcohol on skin – it’s safe to say that it’s one that very few people return to.
“A healthy lifestyle combined with quitting or cutting back on drinking will greatly minimize your risk of acquiring a major disease,” advises GP Dr Hemal Shah. “Drinking more than 14 glasses per week for 10-20 years raises the chance of major illnesses like cancer, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, and brain damage,” says the study.
Benefits of abstaining from consuming alcohol
It is best for our brains to avoid alcohol.
It should come as no surprise that the classic indicators of intoxication, such as slurred speech, poor memory, and slowed reflexes, are all the result of alcohol’s mental effect
Alcohol disrupts chemical signals (neurons) between brain cells, according to research from the University of Boston. As a result, several typical side effects are triggered.
Long-term heavy drinking, according to a University of Tasmania study, can decrease the frontal lobes of our brain and impair our thinking abilities.
“Alcohol can impair our brain’s capacity to work properly, impairing motor functions, memory, and speech,” says Dr. Dan Bunstone, a GP and Chief Medical Officer at Push Doctor. “Cutting down on your consumption will improve your ability to make sensible decisions and allow your brain to function normally and healthily.”
Indeed, research has shown that when people quit drinking cold turkey, their brains may totally mend the harm caused by alcohol.
After two weeks of abstinence, alcoholics’ lost gray matter (which is responsible for processing information in the brain) began to regenerate, according to a German study. In a 2011 study, brain tissue increased when patients abstained from alcohol for three months.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages has been connected to the development of dementia.
Dr. Shah, the main GP of Livi, a digital health provider, says that abstaining from alcohol is a no-brainer(!). Especially when it’s connected to an increased risk of acquiring dementia and other brain illnesses.
“Excessive alcohol drinking over a long period of time can cause brain damage and may raise your risk of dementia,” he warns.
And he is correct, with one five-year research revealing some alarming figures. Between 2008 and 2013, researchers looked at hospital admissions in France. And they discovered that drinking and alcohol usage were linked to 38.9% of those diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
In a 2012 University of Montreal study, researchers discovered that alcohol was responsible for around 29 percent of all dementia cases.
Refraining from consuming alcoholic beverages can assist you in losing weight.
Alcohol is bad for our waistlines since it is both high in calories and slows down our metabolism. Many diets that work quickly to help people lose weight include completely avoiding alcohol.
Alcohol has approximately twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates, with 7 calories per gram on average. Unless you choose low-calorie alternatives like low-calorie wine or low-calorie beer.
The science underlying the ‘beer belly,’ as explained by Dr. Dan: “Alcohol has a lot of calories that have no nutritional benefit,” he explains. “Your body will always put empty calories first when it comes to getting rid of them. This means that many other critical activities, such as fat burning, will have to wait.
“So any excess fat has nowhere to go but your waistline while your body is busy getting rid of the calories from all the alcohol you’ve consumed.”
Heavy alcohol use was found to be a major factor to abdominal obesity in one study. So giving up the drink may help you shed abdominal fat and weight in general. Another excellent reason to abstain from using alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol inhibits our bodies’ ability to absorb additional vitamins and minerals.
We can all make an effort to have a nutritious breakfast and an occasional salad. But did you know that a couple too many drinks a day can have an impact on the nutrients you get from your food?
Chronic drinkers had “signs of malnutrition” and bodies low in “amino acids, proteins, and some vitamins,” according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Alcohol’s acidity is terrible for gut health because it kills cells in our stomach lining and intestines that help the body absorb nutrients. It can also make it difficult for nutrients to enter our bloodstream.
Dr Dan continues, “Excessive alcohol drinking can lead to loss of vital vitamins and minerals that our bodies require to function properly.” “Vitamin C, calcium, zinc, and iron are among the vitamins that are frequently depleted as a result of heavy alcohol intake. With the decline, a number of concerns such as bone weakening, chronic fatigue, anemia, dehydration, and mental health issues arise.”
So don’t fool yourself into thinking that a kale salad for dinner would make up for a bottle of sparkling wine.
Avoiding alcohol increases the quality of your sleep.
This one can be a bit perplexing. After all, after a night out, most of us treat ourselves to a long lie-in. However, as Dr. Dan explains, when it comes to sleep, quality trumps quantity. And drinking degrades the quality of our sleep.
“Alcohol interrupts your natural sleep pattern, causing you to spend less time in the ‘deep sleep’ period, during which your body performs most of its rejuvenating and recharging. Instead, you’ll spend more time in the ‘REM sleep’ stage, during which you’ll have vivid dreams and your brain will be quite active.”
Alcohol leads to sleep deprivation and aids weariness the day following a night on the drink, according to an American study. As a result, the tiredness that usually comes with a significant hangover is explained.
You will be more hydrated.
Have you ever wondered why a boozy night out with friends always includes multiple trips to the ladies room?
Alcohol is a diuretic, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiology. And what this means is that it affects the kidneys and causes you to urinate far more than you eat.
According to Dr. Dan, alcohol affects the kidneys’ synthesis of the hormone vasopressin, which tells them to re-absorb water instead of flushing it out through the bladder.
“It demonstrates why drinking water in the evening is a good idea,” he adds. “It may seem counterproductive if you’re already frequenting the restroom, but it will undoubtedly aid in the fight against dehydration.”
The physical repercussions of dehydration include headaches and a “dry as a desert” mouth the next day. However, alcohol causes our skin to look dull and lifeless the next day, as well as dark bags under our eyes.
Avoiding alcohol consumption will help you lose weight and reduce the amount of fat in your liver.
When it comes to breaking down alcohol, our liver does the bulk of the work. As a result, it’s no surprise that binge drinking can lead to liver problems.
Dr. Dan warns about cirrhosis, a severe form of liver damage that results in scar tissue that hinders the organ from functioning normally. Symptoms include weariness, nausea, yellow skin, and, in severe cases, blood in the cough.
However, this is frequently the result of long-term liver damage, with a buildup of fat from the breakdown of alcohol constituting the initial stage of liver disease.
Dr. Shah notes, “A healthy liver should include a tiny bit of fat.” “Alcohol-related fatty liver disease is typically reversible and improves as a result of excessive alcohol use. Stopping drinking for two weeks allows the liver to heal, eliminate fatty deposits, and cease the inflammation.”
According to one UK study, a one-month liver cleansing can result in a 15% reduction in the amount of fat in your liver. Another of the several health advantages of abstaining from alcohol consumption.
Your skin will appear brighter and clearer.
After a few too many glasses of wine, you fall asleep with your makeup on. The next day, I had a dreary, grey complexion. Even the best-kept skincare routine is known to be ruined by alcohol.
“If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to get dry skin, which can sometimes lead to more serious skin issues,” explains Dr Dan. “If you fall asleep before removing your makeup on a regular basis, this might clog your pores and lead to acne.”
Alcohol also causes your blood vessels to widen and boosts your blood flow. And the increased blood flow to the surface of the skin can leave you looking red and blotchy for days.
Heavy alcohol consumption was linked to “upper facial wrinkles, under-eye puffiness, and midface volume loss,” according to one study. Yikes.
Drinking accelerates the indications of aging, which is more negative news for the skin. The collagen in our skin, which maintains it firm and structured, is broken down by alcohol. While a lack of vitamins hinders cell renewal, resulting in a grey appearance to our skin.
Fewer wrinkles, tighter skin, and a better complexion are just a few of the advantages of abstaining from alcohol consumption.
It dramatically reduces your sugar consumption.
We spent a whopping seven and a half teaspoons on a vodka and cranberry cocktail. A rum and coke, on the other hand, has seven teaspoons. Even a slim G&T has a lot of sugar in it, with 4 teaspoons (or 36% of your daily intake) in a single drink. With a pint of the stuff containing five teaspoons, the saying “cider makes you wider” is true to its word.
To summarize, alcohol is notorious for containing excessive amounts of sugar, therefore abstaining from alcohol can help you avoid energy dips, decayed teeth, and weight gain. Plus, according to one study, it dramatically reduces your chances of acquiring alcohol-related diabetes.
Giving up alcohol can help you have a better sexual life.
According to research, drinking can be a double-edged sword in the bedroom… On the one hand, it might increase our desire, but it also lowers our performance ability.
Parts of our central nervous system are inhibited by alcohol (CNS). So, while a glass or two may improve our confidence, it also dulls the sensitivity of our nerve endings, which are vital for sexual desire and orgasm in both sexes.
“Excessive drinking can have a negative impact on both males and females’ sex lives,” Dr Dan explains. “If you’re a man who drinks a lot of alcohol on a daily basis, it can make it difficult to keep an erection, and females may have less lubrication in their sexual experiences.”
The advantages of not drinking alcohol might thus increase both bedroom activity and your relationship — a win-win situation all around.
Eliminating alcohol from your diet lowers blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart disease.
The secret to a healthy heart is to avoid drinking alcohol. Especially when you consider the slew of heart-related issues that long-term drinking can bring.
Both momentarily and permanently, alcohol boosts our blood pressure. And, over time, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease.
Drinking raises angiotensin II levels in the blood and arteries, according to one study. This causes the blood artery to constrict, reducing blood flow and raising blood pressure.
“This can damage your arteries and put more strain on your heart, increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease,” Dr Dan explains. According to another study, binge drinkers are more likely to have a stroke than individuals who drink moderately or not at all.
Then there’s the high calorie content of alcohol, which can raise cholesterol levels in our arteries, increasing the chance of a heart attack due to a blockage.
The good news is that one study discovered that hypertension (high blood pressure) was “rapidly reversible in the majority of heavy drinkers after alcohol abstinence.” A comparable study published in the Lancet found that after a person successfully stops drinking, their blood pressure should return to normal.
It’ll make your stomach happy.
After a skinful of booze, most alcoholics have gastroenteritis. And, as Dr Dan says, this is frequently why individuals feel bloated, gassy, or have stomach pain and diarrhea.
“When you drink alcohol, the lining of your stomach becomes irritated.” Forcing your stomach to deal with a significant amount in a short period of time can cause acid reflux or even make you throw up.”
Indeed, drinking alcohol has been linked to Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, according to a 2009 study. And this illness is caused by a type of bacterium that is known to cause gastritis and associated adverse effects.
“Alcohol also makes your gut work faster than normal,” Dan adds, especially if you didn’t eat before starting to drink. “Normally, as waste goes through your gut, it absorbs water into your body. There’s no time for that when booze is involved. The outcome is a brief spell of diarrhoea.”
Those with IBS may benefit the most from abstaining from alcohol. According to a University of Washington study, those who binge drink often report exacerbated symptoms the next day.
It will help to strengthen your immune system.
Most of us are aware that a strong immune system is essential for fighting illness. In addition, when drank in high quantities, alcohol has been shown to weaken our bodies’ natural defenses.
According to a 2015 study, binge drinking reduces infection-fighting white blood cells (monocytes) in the hours following consumption, essentially lowering your immune system.
Dr. Dan agrees that heavy drinkers risk their immune systems deteriorating over time, which “may lead to their getting unwell more frequently due to disease.”
With this in mind, abstaining from alcohol for a month or more can ensure that our immune systems are in tip-top shape.
It can lower your breast cancer risk.
Alcohol is responsible for roughly 4,400 breast cancer cases in the UK each year, according to Cancer Research UK.
It’s one of seven malignancies connected to alcohol, which includes bowel cancer, liver cancer, mouth cancer, and three types of throat cancer. Dr. Dan also warns that consuming more than 14 units of alcohol per week increases our risk.
This is due to the fact that alcohol can break down into acetaldehyde, which triggers mutations in our cells that can lead to malignant tumors. In the case of breast cancer, it is thought that alcohol stimulates estrogen production in women, causing malignant cells to multiply more quickly.
Dr. Dan further points out that when drinking is “mixed with other variables, such as smoking, a bad diet, or a family history of cancer,” the risk is inevitably higher.
Your mood will improve with time.
After a few too many, you get that melancholy, fatigued, and excessively emotional feeling. Alcohol use has a considerable impact on our mental health, so that feeling isn’t unusual. It’s also not a good one.
“While alcohol may temporarily improve your mood, it is ultimately a depressant that, over time, might leave you more sensitive to sadness and anxiety,” says Dr. Shah.
“Alcohol use is related with serious depression,” researchers concluded in a 2012 study. They discovered that 63.8 percent of the alcohol-dependent people they tested were very depressed. A 2005 study indicated that frequent drinking can reduce the effectiveness of depression treatment.
In the end, drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters that control our mental wellness. It has also been discovered that it reduces the levels of serotonin in our brain, which helps to regulate our mood.
“Stopping drinking can help stabilize your mood,” says Dr. Shah, “though it may take a few months to get the full impact.”
It will help you remember things better.
The memory benefits of not consuming alcohol go far beyond having no remembrance of the previous night.
Alcohol has been shown to impair the functioning of the hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage.
Even if you haven’t tasted the drink, remembering mundane details like what you had for supper the night before can be tough.
“Alcohol impairs brain function and makes it difficult to remember things,” explains Dr. Dan. “As a result, cutting back on your consumption will have a favorable impact on your brain health.”