Cutting down alcohol: How you could, and why you should
Nothing gets people giggly more than the mention of alcohol. A cheeky drink, a bevvy, a glass of bubbly. Nowadays, socialising and a couple of drinks seem to go hand-in-hand. Drinking alcohol here and there to loosen up and let your hair down appears like a harmless part of life for most people. However, like everything we put into our bodies, we need our limits. Alcohol can go from fun to frightening very quickly.
Even if alcohol isn’t a health concern for you, it may still be worth cutting back or stopping altogether. There are substantial health benefits to binning the booze. So if you’re considering it, this article may help persuade you to make the decision!
Reasons to stop drinking
The goal of reaching a healthy weight is a great reason to stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol affects your body in many ways, including blood pressure, migraines, and also your metabolism. Your body is unable to quickly burn the amount of fat in your system, meaning more is stored and the more likely you are to gain weight if you drink regularly.
Alcohol is also full of empty calories, meaning it contains barely any nutrition, so there’s no health gain, only weight gain.
You can learn more about reaching a healthy weight by booking a consultation at your pharmacy.
Although you may feel drowsy after a glass of red wine or you have slept for hours after a night out, alcohol actually negatively affects your sleeping pattern. You’re less likely to fall into a deep sleep, meaning your body is unable to mend itself overnight. If you long for a good night’s sleep, that is a perfect reason to stop drinking. Before long, you’ll be drifting off to the land of nod quickly and easily, with the bonus of no hangover in the morning!
Also read: What is Insomnia? Symptoms and Treatments
Improve mental health
One of the major impacts of alcohol is how it affects your mental health. Alcohol itself is a depressant, meaning it reduces the function of the nervous system. Alcohol may give you a confidence boost for a little while, but it may also have the effect of increased anxiety, stress, anger, or depression. If you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, alcohol may be the reason, and that may be one of the reasons to stop drinking.
Reduce health risks
Drinking alcohol every now and then is pretty much harmless. However, if you’re regularly drinking more than 14 units a week, you could be at risk of some major health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Various cancers
- Liver disease
- Brain damage
Related article: Men’s Health Conditions
If you’re worried about the risks alcohol is having on your health, and concerned you’re at risk of one of the above health conditions, it’s a good idea to stop drinking alcohol and work towards a healthier lifestyle.
If you know someone else who is trying to stop drinking, the best thing you can do is join them in their mission and support each other to succeed. Not only will your being there help keep them motivated, but it’s also a very selfless reason to stop drinking that benefits both of you. Teamwork makes the dream work after all!
Alcohol can impact you in more ways than just your health. It can get in the way of relationships, separating families, and breaking friendships. Maybe you’ve been choosing the pub over your family in the evening, or maybe you’re too hungover to go to that thing your friend organised. Now is a perfect time to change that. Cutting out alcohol may mend your relationship with your loved ones – the perfect reason to stop drinking.
What’s the best way to cut down on alcohol?
Find out your catalyst
Is there a certain place where you find there’s always a drink in your hand? Or a person who always buys you a drink before you ask? Maybe it’s become part of your routine to come in from work and grab a can before you’ve even taken your shoes off. Finding what has made alcohol a regular part of your life is important so that you can cut it off at the source.
Let your friends know
If you find that drinking and socialising are linked for you, you may be worried that by cutting down on alcohol, you’ll also be cutting down on your social life. This doesn’t have to be the case. Letting your friends know before you see them that you’re cutting back on alcohol, and the reason behind it means they’ll help support you. They may suggest alternative places to hang out, or simply recommend good alcohol alternatives at the bar.
Speaking of, there are increasingly more and more alcohol alternatives being created, designed to replicate the look and taste of your standard alcoholic beverages. If you feel weird not having a pint when all your friends do, this is the solution.
Non Alcoholic Beer＋
Non-alcoholic beer is made with the same ingredients as regular beer. However, there are different processes it can go through to make it non-alcoholic whilst keeping the taste. This includes heating it up to evaporate the alcohol (vacuum distillation), blending it with non-alcoholic drinks such as flavoured soda, or they are brewed using non-fermenting ingredients.
Non Alcoholic Wine＋
Non-alcoholic wine is similar to beer in that it is made using the same ingredients, and they simply remove the alcohol in the process. The most common process is vacuum distillation. You could also maybe go for something like sparkling grape juice, which isn’t the same as non-alcoholic wine, but is still an option.
Non Alcoholic Gin＋
Non-alcoholic gin is not technically gin. Instead, they are designed to look and taste as close to gin as possible, without the booze. However, some are made in a similar process as other alcohol-free drinks, which includes removing the alcohol in the process. Others are made by soaking the ingredients that create the flavour (botanicals) in a liquid until a gin-like flavour is developed.
It is worth noting that not all alcohol-free drinks are completely alcohol-free, and may contain up to 0.5% ABV. These are not suitable if you are wanting to cut out alcohol completely.
Is it better to stop drinking or cut down?
For people who think they’re drinking too much alcohol and it’s negatively affecting them, it’s better to stop drinking entirely. For those who are simply looking to make healthier lifestyle choices, you may only need to cut down on alcohol to reach your goals. However, in both cases, stopping drinking completely is the healthier and more beneficial option.
Alcohol and gut health
If you’re drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, it’s inevitably going to have an impact on the conditions of where it’s going – your gut. Your gut is made up of all the hollow organs from the mouth to the anus, and as alcohol passes through these organs, it can take its toll. Alcohol can cause inflammation in your gut, delaying your stomach from emptying, causing discomfort, and in severe cases, you’re at risk of mouth cancer.
How long does alcohol poisoning last?
Alcohol poisoning occurs when you consume more alcohol than your body is able to filter out. It’s more common with people who binge drink (drinking large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time). The amount of time alcohol poisoning lasts depends on the person and how much they’ve drunk.
Alcohol is one of those things that will always be in our lives, even if we don’t drink it ourselves. It can create funny, memorable, embarrassing, enjoyable, sad, and scary situations. If you’re concerned about alcohol and need professional support, your local pharmacy is a good place to start, they’ll provide some initial advice and guidance to get you started on your journey to a healthier life.