The average American sees a 100% increase in their alcohol drinking habits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and nearly 69% of people are more likely to socialize and overindulge during this time of year more than any other. Due to heightened stress, there are a number of reasons why we need to be aware of our alcohol consumption this time of the year.
It’s time to reconsider that alcoholic drink at the holiday party this year when you find out exactly what happens to your body when you stop drinking!
Not only does alcohol contain a fair amount of calories, especially if you consume mixed drinks, but it can also stimulate appetite and increase cravings for high carbohydrate foods and this can lead to weight gain. Remove alcohol from your diet and replace it with water and you just might lose that last 10 pounds you have been struggling to shed.
Enjoy the improvement of the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides on your next visit to the doctor. As we know, cholesterol and triglycerides increase risk of heart disease and strokes. Alcohol changes the way we metabolize fats and sugars and this increases our levels of these fats. By stopping alcohol you may be on your way to a healthier heart.
Increase Clarity & Energy
Alcohol can deplete nutrients needed to convert food into energy. With alcohol out of the picture your body can begin to hold nutrients such as the B vitamins Thiamine and Folic acid to return to extracting the maximum amount of energy from the foods you eat.
Improved Sleep Quality
Alcohol prevents deep restorative sleep. Even though alcohol makes you sleepy and you may fall asleep quickly, changes happen in the brain that prevents the deep sleep that helps the body to rejuvenate and restore. Not only will you lose sleep but you are now prone to all the detrimental effects of lack of sleep such as increased inflammation, weight and poor executive decision making.
Alcohol is known is depress the central nervous system or the brain. Alcohol interferes with the function of the feel good chemicals in our brains. While initially you we may feel a sense of calm over time alcohol can decrease the production of the chemicals in our brain that helps us to feel good, be more alert and think more clearly. This can leave us feeling more depressed and sluggish.
Skin Tone & Texture Improve
If you have ever consumed two glasses of alcohol or more you already know that alcohol can act as a diuretic. This can dehydrate skin leaving it looking dull, lifeless and more prone to wrinkles.
Alcohol is also associated with a decreased production of collagen production in the skin. Collagen helps the skin to look more firm and youthful. A decrease in collagen production can make the skin look and act much older than it is.
Reduce Risk of Chronic Illnesses & Even Some Cancers
Telomeres are caps at the end of our DNA that protects them from being damaged. Studies show that the longer telomeres correspond with longevity and decreased risk of chronic illness. Alcohol has been linked to shortening the length of our telomeres and therefore contributing to increased risk of chronic illness and shortened lifespan.
Alcohol has also been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers such as breast and pancreatic cancers. With recent studies suggest that there may not be any safe levels of alcohol consumption when it comes to cancer risk which mean it may be worth pause.
Why not start “Dry January” a little early and get a kick start on your New Year’s goals? Consider the immense health benefits the next time you decide to skip the alcoholic drink and you will soon reap the benefits!
Eudene Harry MD is the Medical Director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Holistic Integrative Medicine with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry is a member of the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine, the Florida Medical Association and The American College of Emergency Physicians.
Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, slowing down the progression of chronic diseases and regaining youthfulness. Dr. Harry has been featured and is a regular contributor to Forbes, Elite Daily, Bustle, Woman’s Day and Thrive Global and continues to be featured on television nationwide on HLN, Fox, ABC, and NBC.