We all love to indulge in alcohol every now and then, but a night out with friends brings social pressures in regards to frequent drinking. It can feel impossible to dodge having a drink when you want to be part of the group vibe - and before you know it, you’re waking up with a dry mouth and a nasty hangover again.
Dry July is a great way to reassess your relationship with alcohol consumption and see the health benefits of taking a month off. If you’re signing up to raise money, you’ll also be helping people with cancer.
Here are a few ways the human body can benefit from abstaining from alcohol for a whole month.
#1 Improvements to mental health
Alcohol may seem like a mood elevator when you’re dancing and having a great time with your friends, but it is actually a depressant that can have serious negative effects on your overall mental health. Low moods can be aggravated, and low energy levels make situations feel worse.
Taking some time off alcohol allows your brain to level out and you’ll be able to think with more clarity, dealing with any mental health issues in a much more positive way.
#2 Improved hydration
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes your body dismiss fluids more frequently. An easily identifiable hangover symptom that can come up is dehydration. People can suffer from dry skin which has less vibrancy, and your lips can crack easily. Low hydration levels can also affect your concentration and energy, which can have a substantial impact on how efficient you are at work, during your gym sessions or classes.
When you stop heavy drinking your skin begins to regain its plumpness, fine lines may soften and your face will reclaim its natural glow, plus, you’ll feel much more alert.
#3 Healthier liver
Drinking a beer, wine or liquor is bad for the liver. After all, the human body isn’t built to process alcohol. When someone consumes large amounts of booze, even just a few times, their liver must work extra hard to process it all. Over time, the liver gets exhausted.
Your liver is constantly working to regenerate itself. It produces new cells with the intention of fixing any problems that pop up. It’s one of the human body’s most important organs, after all, so it’s crucial that it stays in good shape.
When you give up alcohol, your liver will start to flush out all of the leftover byproducts that were produced over time and within a few months you will feel the benefits after cutting out alcohol.
#4 Improved weight loss
This is no surprise to anyone I’m sure, but all those extra calories in a delicious red wine with dinner tends to add up. Over time, a couple of wines each night can cause your weight to creep up until you’re suddenly struggling to get those jeans on. This is because most alcohols have more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates; only fat has more calories per gram.
When cutting out alcohol, your overall calorie intake will then decrease (as long as you don’t replace alcohol with another high-calorie substitute.) Once you give up alcohol you will start to see your waistline shrinking and can easily drop a dress size or belt notch by the end of the month.
#5 Bigger bank account
The benefits of alcohol detox aren’t just physical, it can also have a financial benefit as well. As everyone knows when you’re constantly consuming alcohol, the cost of it can add up over time.
When on your own, a few beers or a glass of wine is only a small investment, but, when you drink daily, or even weekly, the cost can add up. When you stop drinking you will have some extra cash in your bank account that could be used for other necessities.
Chloe Mcleod is a professional sports dietitian, nutrition consultant and Dry July ambassador.