I live in Ireland where we have a long association with alcohol and high levels of alcohol use is tolerated here daily. Most people drink alcohol and it is rare to find people who choose to abstain, but living a life free of alcohol comes with many benefits. I will describe the main ones below.
From the very first 'sip' alcohol starts to affect our body and mind and it is said that there is no 'safe' amount of alcohol to drink and the risk of damage to your health increases directly with the amount of alcohol consumed.
The WHO states that the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in over 200 diseases and injury conditions. That is a huge number that can be reduced just by eliminating it altogether.
Alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease and certain cancers and many other serious illnesses and mental health conditions. It is seen as a class 1 carcinogen and is a factor in certain cancers, particularly breast cancer, liver, bowel, larynx, mouth and oesophagus.
The risk increases in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.
The consumption of just 1 drink per day can increase the risk of cancer by 9%.
When we drink alcohol we are less likely to make healthy choices which can have a consequence for our health.
We can drink alcohol when we are stressed to help us feel more relaxed but did you know that alcohol actually increases stress levels long term and also makes it more difficult for us to cope with stressful situations.
In relation to mental health, people who drink alcohol heavily are said to have an increased risk of mental health problems and alcohol is a factor in over half of all suicides in Ireland.
Actually dealing with our stress and learning ways to cope in this world is far more effective and doesn't bring any negative health risks.
Like with stress, alcohol is used to help us sleep better but it is actually a sleep disruptor. It makes us woozy in the short term and can put us to sleep but it affects our REM sleep which is the restorative phase of sleep. Having a herbal tea to relax can do far more to an overall good nights sleep than some alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic and therefore can dehydrate the body. This can effect every organ, especially the largest organ, the skin. It is said to age us quicker due to the moisture being sucked from our skin. This lack of moisture can increase wrinkles. So no need to spend your precious money on expensive anti wrinkle creams, just eliminate alcohol from your life and enjoy clear, radiant skin.
Now I rarely hear a female friend say they are happy with their weight but did you know that alcohol is a factor in weight gain. For adults who drink, alcohol accounts for 10% of their total calorie intake. Alcohol is filled with empty calories and decreases fat breakdown in the body. It is also an appetite stimulant leading to an increased intake of calories, usually fatty and salty foods.
There is also evidence that alcohol consumption increases snack intake and we are less likely to exercise after a night of drinking which in turn holds negative implications for our overall weight and health. So stopping drinking can significantly increase your chance of maintaining a healthy weight.
It is said that the average person can spend 2000 dollars on alcohol per year and if they drink non alcohol beverages it is 8 times less overall.
We are also prone to spending more when we drink, from food, to taxis. Just think of what you could spend all that money on!
Alcohol is the biggest productivity detractor and yet nobody ever talks about it. We are less likely to be productive the day after drinking and less likely to rise early from bed. It is also the cause of short term absenteeism in work and effects our concentration, problem solving skills and concentration. Alcohol is a depressant and can zap us of energy making it harder to get cup and have purpose in our day. So for an increased zest for life try eliminating alcohol altogether and you will see the changes before your own two eyes.
These are the main benefits I have found to living alcohol free. You can still have a great life and loads of fun without alcohol and you can save yourself a multitude of problems in the long run.
Thanks for reading
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