People are more and more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise. People are starting to eat healthier, are exercising more and the percentage of smokers is at an all time low. However, drinking wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages is more popular than ever. Quite strange, because cutting down on alcohol has the biggest positive influence on your health next to quitting smoking. Yet the earliest changes in awareness can be seen. Dry January, no alcohol for a month after the holidays, is increasing in popularity. We will tell you about the health benefits of giving up or reducing alcohol intake.
You lose weight: People are aware of the calories they take in with sweets and snacks. However, not many people take into account the amount of calories that alcoholic beverages contain. You can calculate the amount of calories you take in with alcoholic drinks through this link.
Less sickness: Alcohol is linked to a number of health problems like heart and vascular disease, cancer, diabetes and pancreas diseases. However, alcohol may do the most damage to the liver because this organ breaks down the alcohol. Luckily the liver is a tough organ that recovers when you stop drinking alcohol. If the liver does not have to filter alcohol it focusses on filtering other toxins, contributing to your health.
You sleep better: People fall asleep easier when they have a drink before bedtime. Many people swear to their nightcap. That is because alcohol is a depressant. Put in a easy way, a depressant inhibits brain signals in certain brain parts. This causes a numbing effect, making it easier to fall asleep. Sounds good you would say, but this is not the case. That is because alcohol disturbs your REM-sleep which is an important phase in your natural sleep cycle.
You have more energy: First, because you sleep better now that the sleepcycles are in natural order and your REM-sleep is not disturbed anymore. Secondly, because alcohol influences the hormonal system. Because alcohol is a toxin it destroys cells in the body. This causes the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) which in turn, causes the suppression of testosterone. A healthy testosterone hormone basis is important for your energy levels, the muscles and your libido.
You look better: Next to the perks of losing weight and healthier muscle growth, is cutting down on alcohol also beneficial for your skin. Alcohol causes your body and your skin to dehydrate. It also narrows the blood vessels. You can see this by the red cheeks some people get when they drink. Cutting down alcohol takes away these issues, making your skin look healthier.
Stopping with alcohol may not be for everyone. However, being more aware of your alcohol use
and its effects is not something to shy away from. Also because alcohol is so socially embedded, making it harder to stop or cut down on drinking.