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Three Key Health Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
Quitting alcohol can seem like a scary proposition at first. For many problem drinkers, alcohol is their go-to crutch to handle stressful situations in daily life. In fact, drinking can form a large part of some people’s identity. They might abuse alcohol in order to become more confident in social settings, to cope with stress, or battle depression. It is hard to imagine life without alcohol.
Maybe it was on the advice of your physician. Or maybe it was a loved one that told you. You might have even woken up to the fact yourself. You now realize it’s time to seriously consider quitting alcohol to get your life and your health back on track.
While learning to live life sober is challenging, especially at first, the many health benefits to quitting alcohol are overwhelming. Be it to your brain, your organs, or even your overall level of fitness, as you’ll see in this article, quitting alcohol dramatically improves your health as well as your mood.
Let’s take a look at 3 key health benefits of quitting alcohol.
1. Quitting alcohol is good for your brain
Slurring your speech, memory loss, a lack of co-ordination. What do all these signs of being drunk have in common? They show the damaging impact alcohol has on the brain. Indeed, scientific research shows that long-term heavy drinking can shrink the brain’s frontal lobes and lead to impaired critical thinking skills. Not only that, excessive alcohol consumption over an extended time period can also lead to dementia. The good news is that quitting alcohol almost immediately begins the brain’s healing process.
When you make the decision to live your life without alcohol, you allow your mind to work in a normal, healthy way. In fact, a German study shows that when an individual decides to quit alcohol the brain has a remarkable ability to heal itself from the damage caused by alcohol addiction. Quitting alcohol is a big life change and one that requires you learning new coping skills. However, your brain will thank you for it.
2. Not drinking can shrink your waistline
Drinking a lot of alcohol delivers a double whammy to your physique. Not only is it full of calories, it also works as a metabolism inhibitor. That’s why it’s nigh impossible to lose weight whilst drinking alcohol. Did you know that at 7 calories per gram, alcohol carries almost double the amount of calories of carbohydrates? This is not great news for those who want to get into peak physical shape. In fact, a sure sign of a long-term drinking habit is a very unattractive beer belly. This phenomenon is caused by alcohol’s high caloric, low nutritional value. Because the human body always burns off empty calories first, this means excess fat stores have nowhere else to accumulate but your midsection. That’s why quitting alcohol can help you to lose stubborn belly fat. What’s more, it can also help you avoid eating to excess to satisfy the munchies after another late night drinking binge. Plus, you will sleep better, feel more rested and wake up in the morning without a hangover. Meaning you’re more likely to feel like exercising in this state rather than if you spent last night hitting the bottle.
3. Quitting alcohol helps restore normal liver function
It was the ancient Greek physicians that identified the liver as one of the most important organs in the body, alongside the heart and brain. Indeed, we know today that the liver performs countless important functions, including: removing toxins from our blood, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and breaking down and creating nutrients our health depends upon. When you’re a heavy drinker, your liver struggles to break down all the alcohol entering your bloodstream. An overworked liver will start to become damaged at the cellular level. A damaged liver is what is known as fibrosis (liver scarring) and cirrhosis (liver damage). However, the first stage of liver disease is often referred to as fatty liver. This is the result of fat build-up from the breaking down of alcohol. However, quitting alcohol has been shown to reverse liver damage. In as little as two weeks the liver has time to recover, and becomes less inflamed as the fatty deposits are reduced. As can be seen, a healthy, working liver is another major health benefit of quitting alcohol.
Saying goodbye to alcohol for good can be hard. However, it simply means saying hello to better health overall. When you make the decision to quit alcohol and live life sober you are giving your body and brain a chance to recover and repair. Indeed, you will find your body’s natural serotonin levels (which helps regulate mood and feelings of wellbeing) return to normal. And as your health begins to rejuvenate, you will feel more motivation to pursue healthier habits. Soon, you will be ready to take up new activities that boost your overall mood and health, such as exercising. The first few days after quitting alcohol are challenging. What you need to remember is that a healthy body and brain will return, and so will your increased motivation towards pursuing positive life goals.