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6 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Less Alcohol (And How To Quit)

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Among the many perks that adulthood brings along is the ability to enjoy a wide range of refreshing beverages including alcohol.

An adult beverage is all you need to enjoy the party, have fun meetings with your coworkers, and enjoy your favorite Mediterranean meal. The idea is to have a little more fun with an adult beverage or cocktail in your hand.

However, excessively drinking alcohol is bad. It affects our health negatively. You may want to convince yourself that you’re drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, but it’s only natural to overdo it unknowingly.

But, as they say, anything is possible if you want to make it happen, same is the case with alcohol drinking. If you’re going to control your alcohol intake, you can very well do it.

Apart from getting rid of those awful hangovers, here’re six health benefits that might compel you to control alcohol consumption.

1. You Can Lose Weight

lose weight

Unarguably the best reason to drink less alcohol is that it leads to weight loss.

Wondering why it happens?

These explanations will help you learn how drinking less leads to weight loss.

Alcohol mainly comprises of empty calories, which aren’t nutrient dense as most foods are. Ever thought about the number of liquid calories that your body receives with alcohol?

Have a look at these numbers:

  • Martini- 295 calories
  • Standard Beer Can- 154 calories
  • Jack and Coke- 308 calories
  • Standard Glass of White Wine- 128 calories

Can you see how many calories these different varieties of alcohol add to your body?

Now let’s discuss what’ll happen when you drink less.

Not drinking martini during happy hour with your colleagues helps you save 300 calories on a daily basis. That’s nearly 1,500 calories in a week. Whoa!

And, that’s the number of calories you avoid with just one drink.

Now, let’s come to the sad part.

Consuming alcohol has its consequences on all the functions of our body. Such as, our body digests it before the food you’re eating with the drink.

So, if you have fast food with alcohol, the drink will digest first, and your body will store those proteins, fats, and carbs as fat until it processes alcohol.

And let’s not forget that the fast food you’ve consumed isn’t a low-calorie diet by any means.

All the fat is stored in your belly and love handles.

2. You Will Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease

heart health

Although cholesterol isn’t present in alcohol, it can increase your cholesterol levels substantially, resulting in weight gain.

In a study, one group of mice received the equivalent of two drinks daily, and the other group received the equivalent of a weekend binge session, which means seven drinks twice a week.

The findings reveal that the LDL or bad cholesterol levels dropped 40% in the moderately drinking group and increased 20% in the weekend-binge group. The rise is alarming, but, there’s more bad news.

Apart from the harmful rise, the weekend-binge drinking group gained three times more weight than the moderate drinkers. That’s worrying!

Although studies show that drinking alcohol raises the HDL or good cholesterol levels, drinking more can do the exact opposite.

According to experts, binge drinkers are at the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Since obesity is among the risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, binge drinking can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health.

Cutting down on your drinking routine and following a heart-healthy meal plan helps to keep cholesterol levels down. And, the good news is that it reduces the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

You’ll also be able to control blood sugar levels, which can keep diabetes away.

3. You’ll Have A Better Sleep Cycle

sleep better

People believe that alcohol can make you fall asleep quickly because of the drowsiness that it causes.

But, that’s not how you sleep; it’s called passing out after a lengthy drinking session at the party.

In a study, participants drank a cocktail of vodka and orange juice before bed. Their sleep pattern was different than normal. They experienced more delta activity and slow wave sleep patterns. Delta activity is a kind of deep restorative sleep that helps the brain get refreshed, clean the waste, recharge neurons, and firm up memories.

You must be feeling that it’s all good…right?

No need to get so excited!

The participants showed higher patterns of alpha wave. That’s not good and not part of healthy sleep.

Alpha activity occurs when the brain is quietly resting, that is, it awake and in a metabolic break mode.

Delta and alpha waves, when combined, cause sleep disruption and ruin the restoration plans that our brain aims to achieve. 

Moreover, since alcohol is diuretic, it increases your trips to the bathroom and you wake up several times while sleeping.

Research also shows that alcohol can decrease your melatonin levels, which is particularly evident in people having a history of alcohol abuse.

Melatonin is the sleep-promoting hormone; it is responsible for regulating our body’s internal clock. A decrease in melatonin levels naturally affects the restful rhythm of our body.

By drinking regularly, you can further mess up this process, and this leads to the onset of chronic insomnia. Hence, you’ll find it difficult to falling or staying asleep.

Do you think you’re suffering from terrible hangovers?

It’s probably because you are exhausted and excessively sleep deprived.

Just one night of insomnia will make you feel like:

  • Highly fatigued in the morning and throughout the day
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Tension headaches
  • Even more sleep deprived

4. It’ll Boost Your Intelligence

memory

The fight between alpha and delta waves in the brain is the primary cause of restless sleep. It makes you feel drowsy, tired and unfocused the next day.

You may not be able to concentrate at work and blame it to the simple hangover, but the situation is far worse than what you think.

Alcohol damages your brain more viciously than that.

Research suggests that alcohol abuse, even if it’s just one time, can affect the fragile balance of our brain’s neurotransmitters. Impact on neurotransmitters’ balance causes delay and disruption in the way they function. That’s why we feel so tired, forgetful, and agitated.

Long-term alcohol abuse leads to many more adverse neurological effects.

However, most significantly it affects the frontal and temporal lobes. These areas are directly linked to impulse control, learning, and other complex human behaviors.

Latest research reveals that people who regularly indulge in heavy drinking sessions can undergo subtle brain changes. These changes make it difficult for them to learn from mistakes. They also cannot identify new ways of dealing with problems since their brain function is slightly impaired.

However, if you choose to avoid drinking alcohol for several months or up to one year, the brain will reverse the structural damage it underwent. It’ll also help alter the adverse effects of alcohol on thinking skills including attention, memory, and problem-solving.

So, stop drinking if you want to feel alert and clearheaded.

5. You’ll Be Able To Build Muscle

when you stop alcohol you can build muscle

A majority of people believe that they need a drink to unwind after a hard day at work. It’ll help them feel energized again.

Think about the gym session you put in earlier that morning and all those strenuous reps that tortured you throughout the day. By drinking alcohol, all your efforts in the gym will end in vain.

Check this out- A study on rats reveals that alcohol impairs the protein synthesis and disrupts new muscle growth. When rates were fed alcohol, there was an abrupt reduction in their muscle weight and lean body mass.

In another study, scientists discovered that alcohol could negatively affect the production of human growth hormone by up to 70%. This hormone is crucial for efficient muscle growth. If affected, even the highest quality whey protein shakes can’t undo the damage.

So, it’s about time you stop drinking beyond moderate levels if you’re interested in building muscle. Your muscles will be so thankful to you and you’ll start feeling healthier again.

6. Improved Immunity

when you stop alcohol you improve your immunity

Research reveals that binge drinking weakens your immune system, and the impact starts within 20 minutes of alcohol ingestion. Perhaps, you should now think twice before heading to the dive bar now.

It’s difficult to resist drinking spiced eggnog and hot toddies during the holiday season, but that’s also the peak time of cold and flu.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to tell you that you aren’t allowed to drink alcohol and have fun from now on. But, how can you overlook so many health benefits that you can enjoy by merely drinking within reasonable levels?

The health benefits are so diverse; you can lose weight, build muscle, improve sleep cycle, and brain functioning. Even the premium variety of wine can’t be a good substitute for these benefits.

If you’re part of a crowd that eagerly pops bottles without any good reason, share this article to help them reconsider their priorities.

You all can make a pact to not binge drink together. You’ll become one sexy, healthy group!

Thinking about ways to drink less?

Don’t worry! I’ve got some amazing tips for you.

5  Tips to Help you Drink Less

1. Never Rely Only on Willpower

motivation

John C. Norcross, PH.D., studies the ways New Year’s resolutions motivate people to change their lives. According to Norcross, people often forget that the environment can modify behavior. Having the will to exercise is one thing, modifying the environment is another, and we need to combine both to reach out goals.

Hence, if you’re trying to drink less, apart from aiming to do so, you must avoid situations that force you to drink. It could be a party or a night out with friends and you might want to binge drink on such occasions.

A better idea is to invite friends over for dinner as you can control the number of alcohol servings.

2. Imagine Your Desired Behavior

focus

Let’s assume you go to a party, how’re you going to restrain yourself from overindulging?

John McGrail, Ph.D., has a great idea for you.

McGrail says that before the party begins visualize yourself behaving the way you’d prefer to act. Imagine that you don’t go beyond the limits of drinking that you intend to and leave the event with a big smile on your face. When you imagine your desired behavior, your brain transforms it into a reality and will make it easier for you to either not drink or drink less.

3. Replace the Unwanted Behavior

replace the unwanted behavior

When you enjoy something you do, your focus on the action increases. Such as, if you enjoy playing tennis, you’ll stay focused. It’ll also prevent you from indulging into inaction.

Art Markman, a Ph.D., willpower and motivation expert, and cognitive scientist at the University of Texas says that the main problem people face with resolutions is of having negative resolutions.

Figure out the exciting things you can do today that will divert your mind from drinking alcohol.

4. Boost Your Memory

boost your memory

You must give your brain some exercise. Impulsive people have impaired working memory, reveals M.D., and CEO of Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, California, David Sack.

Diminished memory, therefore, diminishes willpower too. So, you’ll find it difficult to plan out the steps you need to take to resist drinking temptation.

Memory exercises can help you out by boosting your brain and increasing self-control and planning proficiency. Eventually, you learn to say no to that second drink.

5. Forget “All or Nothing” Philosophy

progress

Remember that you’re developing an entirely new pattern of behavior and you can’t ace it immediately.

The research division director at alcohol and drug problems resolving organization Behavior Therapy Associates, LLC, and founder of Moderation.org, Reid K. Hester says that slipups are natural. To deal with slipups, you need to prevent yourself from indulging in the same behavior. Take slipups as a lesson and use it to understand what you should do the next time.

What’s your experience with alcohol? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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