8 Ways an Alcohol Free January will improve your health

If you’ve been drinking heavily for years then you may be wondering if taking a month off alcohol is even worth it — will it make any difference?

Well, the answer is a big fat yes!

The human body is amazing and your health will improve as a result of ditching the drink — even for just a month. Better hydration and improved sleep will increase your productivity and daily wellbeing. Your liver, stomach, and skin will also benefit from not having to deal with the daily onslaught of ethanol.

So sign up for our January Challenge and give your body and mind a well deserved holiday.

Let’s break those health benefits down:-

1. SLEEP: Sleep is the foundation of good health. Although we may feel that alcohol helps us to fall asleep in fact it is preventing us from getting the deep restorative sleep that we need. As the alcohol leaves our body (usually about 2–3 am) we will wake up, often feeling anxious and dehydrated. An alcohol-free month will give our bodies a chance to get some proper rest.

2. LIVER: The liver is an amazing organ and does in fact recover very quickly. Staff at the British magazine New Scientist had medical tests before and after Dry January and found that liver fat had dropped between 15–20%. Liver fat is a precursor to liver damage. Tests on liver stiffness also yielded similar results.

3. CANCER: Alcohol is now linked to 7 different types of cancer — the risk increases the more you drink. Just 3 drinks a week raises your breast cancer risk by 15%. Drinking more than one and a half bottles of wine a week puts your health at risk so use this alcohol-free month to “reset” before drinking again within “safe” guidelines.

4. BLOOD PRESSURE: Drinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise over time. After 3–4 weeks of not drinking, your blood pressure will start to reduce. Reducing your blood pressure can be crucial as it can help to lessen the risk of health problems such as stroke and heart disease.

5. GUT HEALTH: Alcohol can lead to a leaky gut, and can interfere with how the immune system functions, leading to increased inflammation within the gut and elsewhere in the body. When we consume alcohol our immune system will fight it, as it would fight a disease.

6. HYDRATION: When you drink alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as you actually drank. Therefore, giving up alcohol can help you keep well hydrated, which is in turn beneficial for your brain. Your mood and concentration will be more stable, you will have more energy and motivation — what’s not to like!

7. WEIGHT: Quite apart from the calories in each drink, alcohol is a major driver of overeating. We all know how alcohol weakens our healthy eating resolutions — suddenly those nibbles at a cocktail party look irresistible. In a recent study people having two alcoholic drinks with food consumed 30% more food than those drinking water.

8. MENTAL HEALTH: Alcohol is a depressant and although it will give you a brief chemical high it will leave you feeling down the next day. We often drink alcohol to alleviate anxiety and depression but in fact, it will have the opposite effect.

A month off alcohol will give you a taste of the benefits of quitting alcohol forever. It will kickstart your health, freshen up your looks, and give you a new sense of energy and purpose. Most importantly you will have tested your dependency on alcohol — if it was a breeze to get through a Dry January then well done! If not then you need to consider your relationship with alcohol and make some changes.

If you’d like a little help to get through your alcohol-free month then just sign up to our January Challenge and we will guide you all the way!

Janet

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I am a Brit living in South Africa. Finally managed to quit drinking in 2015 - I set up Tribe Sober to help others do the same. Podcast & tribesober.com

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Janet Gourand

Janet Gourand

I am a Brit living in South Africa. Finally managed to quit drinking in 2015 - I set up Tribe Sober to help others do the same. Podcast & tribesober.com

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