Going Dry for July
The Surprising Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking
I’m so proud to be a Dry July ambassador this year! Going alcohol free for one month can do our health so much good! See when we have been drinking alcohol consistently for many years we can start to suffer from some health complications. These health complications can seem to ‘come out of the blue’ but really they are just the final manifestation of cumulative damage to our body and in particular, to our liver.
The good news is, though, that when you stop drinking your body has the chance to heal itself. The really good news is that this process is not as drawn out or delayed as you might think but significant improvements in our health can occur relatively quickly.
Below is a list of the likely improvements when you give up alcohol for just one month.
- Liver fat decreases by around 15-20%. Accumulation of fat in the liver is known as fatty liver disease and leads to liver damage. If the damage is severe then cirrhosis of the liver results, which is irreversible. A reduction in liver fat means that an almost immediate benefit of quitting drinking can help your liver slim down, dramatically reducing your chances of developing cirrhosis.
- Blood glucose levels drop by an average of 16%. This means that the chances of you developing type 2 diabetes greatly reduces since reducing blood sugar levels helps to reduce the load on the pancreas, a body organ that regulates blood sugar and essentially can burnout from years of overload, leading to diabetes.
- Total blood cholesterol decreases by nearly 5%. Heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in Australian and other parts of the world, can be predicted in part by examining patients’ cholesterol levels. While an average decrease of 5% in blood cholesterol might not seem like much, it’s quite significant when achieved as a result of cutting out alcohol.
- Weight loss. Those who cut out alcohol can expect to loose on average 2-4kg over the course of one month without making any other changes. This is a significant amount and can lead to improved self-esteem, improved energy levels, and reduce chronic disease risk factors such as high blood pressure.
Not only is our body healthier when we cut out alcohol, but our mind also reaps benefits, such as:
- Improved sleep quality by about 10%. This may not mean much but over the course of a month an improvement of sleep quality means that you can expect to wake feeling more refreshed and tend to wake less in the middle of the night.
- Reduced anxiety levels. Alcohol can lead to or worsen pre-existing anxiety levels. Cutting out alcohol can greatly improve anxiety symptoms.
- Improved concentration by around 18%. Studies have indicated that cutting out alcohol can improve psychological performance and, in particular, the ability to concentration for prolonged periods of time.
The above list of improvements to our health from having just a month off alcohol are definitely an encouragement that doing Dry for July is definitely worth a try.