Do you find it difficult to say no to a drink while you’re out, or resist a glass of wine with your girlfriends or partner at dinner? Taking time off the drink has more benefits than you might initially think. On top of being an incredible money saving tool, imagine the hangover free Sundays, more productivity, increased fitness ability, weight loss and an overall health reboot. Nutritionist and Ambassador for Ocsober, Steph Lowe shares the main reasons why your body will love time away from alcohol.
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1. Helps improve your gut health
Alcohol makes you more susceptible to getting sick, by damaging your immune system. Taking a break from alcohol will help bring your immune system back to normal and help prevent illness. Cutting out alcohol in your diet is also a great natural gut strategy, allowing the good bacteria to thrive within the body.
2. Improves your Metabolism
With the combination of a healthy diet and managing your carbohydrate intake, your body can burn fat for fuel in the absence of alcohol calories, that are far more likely to be stored in the body rather than burnt when consuming alcohol. Say goodbye to late night snacking as alcohol lowers your will power, therefore improving and speeding up your metabolism.
3. Catch better Z’s
Even though alcohol can act as a sedative, consuming too much alcohol can supress the restorative sleep phase (REM), so the quality of your sleep is often reduced. Alcohol is also a diuretic, which is why after a few drinks, you often wake up throughout the night needing to go to the toilet. By eliminating alcohol from your diet for even just a few weeks, you will see a great improvement in your overall sleep quality.
4. Detox your liver
Taking a break from alcohol allows your liver to detox and thrive as it is no longer having to process the alcohol and clear the associated metabolic by-products. Supporting your liver has direct benefits to your overall toxin elimination, gut health and hormonal balance.
5. Longer term health benefits
Research shows that with the long term intake of alcohol, that consuming more than two standard drinks per day will increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, liver damage, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Try these simple alcohol swaps:
Tequila – swap for soda water & lime
Save: 100 calories and yourself from a headache the next day. Tequila is particularly high in congeners, the toxic chemicals that significantly increase your hangover!
Beer – swap for a glass of kombucha
Save: 106 calories, 6 grams of carbs and your waist line! The term “beer belly” exists for a reason.
Red wine – swap for a sugar free mocktail
Save: while this swap may not necessarily save you calories, it will look after your long term health. Recent research shows that any proposed benefit of drinking red wine for heart health are less than previously shown and are significantly outweighed by the increased cancer risk associated with long-term increased alcohol consumption.