We all know that heavy drinking is bad for our health and have heard that light drinking may have health benefits. With the holidays over, you may feel as though you indulged a bit too much and need a reset.
In the United Kingdom, advocacy groups host events like Dry January and Sober October that ask people give up alcohol for a month and raise money for charity. But does quitting alcohol for a month benefit your health?
The short answer is yes, you’ll likely see benefits. How much is dependent upon how much you currently drink and your personal health and genetic factors.
Never Miss a Beat!
Subscribe to Our HealthBeat Newsletter!
Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!
Benefits of Avoiding Alcohol
Whether you’re a moderate or heavy drinker, some benefits apply to everyone who goes booze-free for a time.
Manage your weight
Maybe you’ve got a New Year’s Resolution to lose pounds, or you just want to shed the couple you gained over the holidays. Skipping the booze gives you more chance to do that.
Alcoholic beverages are nothing but empty calories. Add in soda, juice, or sugary mixes, and you’ve got even more useless calories. It’s also possible that you indulge more when you eat while drinking.
Add a glow to your skin
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes you to pee more than you normally would. This depletes water from your body. Replacing alcoholic drinks with water can hydrate your body and help you get back glowing skin.
Save some cash
Whether you buy a six-pack (or a few) a week or buy drinks out, you can pocket at least a little extra cash during a dry month.
Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to reach those deeper levels of sleep. Although you fall asleep quickly, you may wake up in the morning feeling groggy.
A month without drinking can help you re-establish a good sleep cycle.
Give your liver a break
Alcohol makes your liver work harder as it tries to clear the drink from your system. Over time, drinking causes scarring of the liver, which leads to cirrhosis. Abstaining for a month, gives your liver a much-needed break and may possibly allow it to repair some of the damage.
Create new healthy habits
Kicking the booze for a month can have greater benefits for heavy drinkers, giving you a chance to reset. Take the month to add in a new exercise, try new healthy foods, increase your water intake, and find alternative beverages. Then, when you do return to drinking, you may find that you imbibe a little less than before.
Depending on your health, you may see even more benefits of having a dry month.
You might also like…
Based in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and more than 700 doctor’s offices and outpatient centers. Our expert physicians are among the leaders in their fields, and we are leaders in groundbreaking research and treatment breakthroughs. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside ranks as “One of America’s Best Hospitals” and No. 1 in Pennsylvania in U.S. News & World Report’s listings.