The effect less alcohol has on our bodies is, quite honestly, amazing.
All of the time and energy our body spends breaking down and digesting alcohol moves toward increasing the efficiency of other functions, and wildly improves other aspects of our health. This leads to a variety of improvements in your mental and physical well-being. But in what ways does consuming less alcohol help us?
On the mental side, drinking can help individuals feel calmer and relaxed, but the brain quickly adjusts to those positive effects as it tries to maintain balance. Because of this, when the buzz wears off, people can feel more restless and anxious than before they drank.
Physically, continuous alcohol-use is tough on the brain and body, as it works overtime to metabolize the alcohol, adjust to the neurological stimulation caused by it, and simply regulate one’s heartbeat and breathing pattern. Without alcohol, the mind and body are able to function at higher levels, because it is not focused on regulating the body’s response to alcohol, as well as processing it.
Alcohol can release emotions we were holding back or make feelings of anger and frustration feel more intense, which can affect our health, friendships, family and work. Heavy drinking patterns may also change the way we make decisions and react to diverse stimuli and stressors, which can lead to possible disagreements and arguments, as we’re less likely to be diplomatic or refrain ourselves from showing frustrations when we’re intoxicated.
When we are aware of our thoughts and actions, there is a higher chance of feeling our frustration and letting it pass, instead of acting on it in the moment. Because of your ability to better control your behaviour, you may find yourself with more time to be patient, understanding, and to put effort into your relationships with others.
In contrast, if you realize that most arguments sparked with a loved one occur when one or both of you had been drinking, this might be a red flag about the impact of alcohol consumption on your relationship.
Drinking before bed may make us sleepy, but it actually worsens the quality of sleep one gets because it activates a part of the brain that is usually inactive during regular sleep. This activity disable our ability to enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, where we get our deepest sleep.
Alcohol tends to make people look older than they are. It’s a diuretic, which means that it dehydrates the body, and because the skin dries out, it has less elasticity.
It also causes inflammation. This is why we see some people get red cheeks when they drink. The redness usually goes away once they alcohol leaves their system, but over time, constant inflammation does cause skin damage. Reducing alcohol consumption can help rehydrate your skin and improve its elasticity.
Alcohol contains “empty calories”, meaning it doesn’t necessarily keep you full or provide nutritional value. When alcohol is metabolized in the liver, it is converted into a substance that is consumed in priority to usual fuels such as fat and sugar, which may be the reason why workouts and diets may not have the desired effects when drinking heavily, even on an occasional basis.
A common alcohol-related activity is eating out as well, where the chances of getting something both healthy and nutritious are slim compared to a home-cooked meal, making it easier to gain weight. Many of our clients have lost significant weight on their journey to drinking less, including dropping 50 lbs and going down 4 dress sizes because they no longer consume as many empty calories.
Of course, there are other benefits to drinking less that we haven’t mentioned here, such as saving money, improving liver and heart health, and many more.
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