Most of us have been led to believe that having one or two glasses of wine each night doesn’t lead to any negative side effects, however a recent study takes issue with that. The study claims that approximately 5% of cancers can be directly linked to alcohol use. While this is a relatively low percentage, it’s still significant and avoiding alcohol altogether would completely eliminate these alcohol related risks of cancer.
Drinking on a regular basis can lead to other serious health problems as well, including diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and more. Social drinking has traditionally been viewed as acceptable, for example, toasting the bride and groom with a glass of champagne at weddings and when coworkers often go out for a drink after work to “unwind.” Because drinking is commonplace at most social gatherings, many of us are not sure how to avoid it, and are also unaware at how much we could benefit if we did.
Below, science explains the numerous healthy changes experienced in the body when making the decision to stop drinking alcohol.
The body undergoes these changes when going 1 to 4 weeks without a drink:
- The first week without drinking may be the most difficult. You may have more of an appetite because the body will be craving the additional calories it used to get from alcohol. Hungering for those calories, eating more may result.
- You may also feel a little more depressed and anxious than usual. Drinking often numbs or makes us unaware of unpleasant feelings temporarily. Without alcohol to numb those feelings, we may become more sensitive and emotional.
- Trouble sleeping may occur during the first week. In the long run however, sleep quality improves if you’re not drinking. But, in the immediate aftermath of giving up alcohol you it may be more difficult to nod off.
- Headaches can occur in the first week of no alcohol use because of the changes in blood pressure and blood sugar. Staying hydrated and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help keep you headache-free.
- The cells in the liver begin repairing themselves. Alcohol consumption makes it difficult for the liver to perform its function of filtering out toxins. In the second week of not drinking, the liver can start the recovery process and begin to more efficiently do its job.
- You will notice that your skin looks and feels healthier. Alcohol pulls the moisture from the body, drying skin so that it looks gaunt, pale and a little lifeless. Drinking also leads to problems with blood circulation, so when abstaining from alcohol you’ll notice the color returning to your face.
- By now your body will have improved its levels of hydration and achieved a healthier blood sugar balance, which means any swelling will have subsided and you’ll feel substantially more energy.
- You will be sleeping far more soundly. Alcohol in the system causes an increase in insulin levels during the night, which leads to restlessness and waking up. Once you stop drinking, it’s easier to fall asleep and remain sleeping throughout the night.
- According to studies, heavy drinking leads to impaired taste buds. Once you’ve given up alcohol, you will notice that food tastes a whole lot better. Your taste receptors are now better able to send signals about how food tastes to your brain.
- There’s a good chance that by now you’ve lost some weight. Now that you’re not drinking you’re consuming fewer calories and you’re no longer retaining water, so you’re less bloated than before.
- You will be thinking a lot more clearly. Drinking clouds the mind, causing cognitive dysfunction, which affects the ability to focus and concentrate. Without alcohol in the system, you will have improved cognitive ability and a longer attention span.
Research conducted by Dr. Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex found that participants who went 4 weeks without alcohol reported higher energy levels and healthier body weight. They also felt less cravings to drink alcohol afterwards.
“The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term; people are reporting one extra dry day per week,” explains Dr. de Visser.
“There are also considerable immediate benefits: 9 in 10 people save money, 7 in 10 sleep better, and 3 in 5 lose weight,” he added.
Have you noticed any health benefits from giving up alcohol for 4 weeks?
Let us know in the comments.
Stay healthy. You are Loved.