All people like to have a drink or maybe two from time to time, but there are also individuals who take it to a whole new level. If you have engaged in heavy or consistent drinking for a longer period, you should be aware that excessive alcohol consumption puts you at a greater risk of various diseases; cardiovascular diseases, anemia, cancer, cirrhosis, depression, gout, just to name a few. Awareness of dangers that come with constant alcohol intake is usually indicated by “dry months” e.g. Dry January. But you don’t have to wait for January to stop drinking for a month, it can be any other time of the year. In fact, just 30 alcohol-free days can make a significant change in your body. These effects are discussed below.
1. Liver fat decreases
Fatty liver disease, accumulation of fat in the liver, can cause significant damage to this organ. In some cases, it can lead to an irreversible condition – cirrhosis. Alcohol poses as the most common cause of various diseases that can put your life at risk, but the good thing is, 30 days without alcohol can help your liver recover. Daily Mail reported the study which showed that four alcohol-free weeks are associated with 40% liver fat reduction. The researchers also discovered that liver stiffness (an indication of disease), decreased by 12.5%.
What does this mean? It implies that ditching alcohol for at least one month can help the liver slim down and decrease your risk of developing cirrhosis.
2. Blood glucose levels decline
Blood glucose levels can drop by 16% if you stop drinking for a month. Even the study mentioned above proved that abstention from alcohol could reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the insulin resistance had come down by 28%. Declining blood sugar levels decrease the load on your pancreas, the organ responsible for regulation of blood sugar.
3. Stronger immunity
According to a study published in the journal Alcohol, your immune system weakens within 20 minutes of ingesting alcohol. It comes as no surprise while people who drink constantly are more prone to various diseases, viruses, and infections. Abstaining from alcohol will help your immune system recover and prepare your body to fend off multiple threats lurking around.
4. Total blood cholesterol decreases
Heart disease poses as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and it’s widely governed by cholesterol levels. For example, higher levels of LDL or bad cholesterol put you at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol has a tremendous potential to increase LDL cholesterol levels as well as total blood cholesterol. When you don’t drink for a month, levels of total cholesterol will drop by 5%; it might not seem a lot to you, but it can save your life.
5. You lose weight
The Current Obesity Reports published a review of studies confirming that alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for overweight and obesity. Here’s yet another benefit of abstaining from alcohol; people who ditch alcohol at least for 30 days can expect to lose between 2kg and 4kg. The study discussed earlier found that participants followed during Dry January lost 3kg. Weight loss can only boost your confidence and inspire you to limit your alcohol consumption even when the dry month is over.
6. Increased fertility
Alcohol and Alcoholism featured a research which confirmed that excessive alcohol consumption is strongly associated with male infertility, while the BMJ published a study that showed how alcohol has an adverse impact on female fertility.
Besides fertility issues, both men and women experience problems with sexual performance due to alcohol intake. You’ll be happy to know that going “dry” for a month improves your fertility and poses as a useful way of combating various sex-health problems.
7. You sleep better
Sleep is crucial for your functioning; it makes you energized and productive. Alcohol has a potential to disrupt your sleep and affect your circadian rhythm i.e. your sleep-wake cycle. The study presented in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research showed that drinking alcohol, particularly before bed, enhances alpha wave patterns in the brain. This cerebral activity occurs when you’re wide awake, but resting. The result of this activity is disrupted sleep. Spending 30 days alcohol-free will help you improve sleep quality by 10%, establish a healthy sleep pattern that will enable you to accomplish more during the day.
8. Your cognitive function will improve
Heavy and constant alcohol consumption disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters, thus causing memory, learning, concentration, and other problems. On the other hand, staying away from alcohol boosts your concentration by 10%, and it allows the structural brain damage to start partially repairing itself and help reverse the negative effects of alcohol. You can expect your memory to improve, as well as attention and problem-solving skills.
9. Stress and anxiety reduce
Alcohol can aggravate stress as well as to worsen or create anxiety issues. This can happen due to various reasons. For example, you don’t get much sleep and cortisol levels rise, thus making you more stressed out. When you’re stressed, you are annoyed by pretty much anything around you, and unresolved stress turns into something more. It’s needless to mention that problems associated with excessive alcohol intake such as lack of productivity, shame, financial issues, problems with family can all create anxiety. Cutting alcohol helps you manage these problems, feel more calm and serene.
10. You’ll have soft and clear skin
Alcohol is bad news for your skin. When you drink regularly, your skin becomes dehydrated and blood vessels constricted. That way, your skin doesn’t get much-needed nutrients to stay healthy, soft, and youthful. Plus, alcohol also contributes to premature aging and makes your skin look lifeless and dull. On the other hand, staying away from alcohol at least for 30 days will help your skin stay hydrated, soft, and nourished. Extra benefit: your complexion will be clear and bright.
Excessive alcohol intake can put your entire health into jeopardy. People are usually “seduced” by one drink hoping to stop right there, but it only leads to second, third, fourth one and so on. Abstaining from drinking one month can do wonders for your appearance, health, and overall quality of life. Try it! You’ll be amazed!