What are the health reasons for drinking less alcohol?
Whether you want to improve your sleep, clear your head, manage weight, or even reduce your risk of life-threatening illness, limiting your alcohol intake can help you reach many different goals. Below are 7 of the ways that drinking less alcohol can benefit your wellness.
Please note: I am a health enthusiast and am excited to share the changes I’ve made to lose 60+ pounds and live a healthier lifestyle with my family. However, I am not a doctor. Please view my disclaimer here.
7 reasons to drink less alcohol
- Better long-term health. Cutting back on alcohol reduces your risk of some potentially serious health risks over time. For example, it lowers your risk of developing cancer, liver disease, and heart disease, as well as reducing your risk of having a stroke. Minimizing alcohol intake can also decrease your blood pressure and strengthen your immune system.
- Better sleep cycles. It’s possible that a night cap may help you doze off faster. However, once you’re asleep, alcohol negatively impacts your sleep cycles, sleep quality, and dream states. Studies show that cutting back on booze can dramatically improve your overall sleep.
- Healthy weight management. Alcohol slows your metabolism to a snail’s pace! Also, when you drink it, you are ingesting “empty” calories, meaning there is no nutritional benefit to these calories. Your body needs fuel from nutrients provided by calories in healthful food instead.
- Improved mood. Alcohol is a depressant, and heavier drinking sessions interfere with normal brain functions. Drinking contributes to feelings of sadness, both during and after imbibing. Over time, regular alcohol use can cause chronic depression and anxiety.
- Better skin. Because drinking is dehydrating, it contributes to dry skin and the appearance of wrinkles. Dehydration also makes your eyes puffy, and a lack of proper rest can give you dark circles under your eyes.
- Cost savings. As far your budget goes, drinks fall into the “want” category, not the “need” category. If you’re looking for a way to trim costs in your budget, a quick way to do so is to cut out drinking. Just think of the savings if you remove beer, wine, and spirits from your grocery, restaurant, and entertainment bills.
- Clear-headed mornings – and days. By foregoing evening drinks, you’ll avoid next-day grogginess or headaches. Even if you don’t drink to the point of getting hangovers, drinking regularly still reduces the ability to concentrate. It can contribute to memory problems and even dementia. Try cutting back, and you may find that you feel more clear-headed throughout the day, and over the years to come.
What can you drink instead of alcohol?
If these reasons for drinking less alcohol have inspired you to make a change, you may be wondering what practical steps you can take to start a new routine for yourself.
One great way to break a habit – like drinking a nightly glass of wine – is to replace it with a new, better habit – like drinking hydrating mocktails instead. On evenings when you want to treat yourself, try experimenting with other beverages that you enjoy as a healthier ritual.
Simple, easy mocktail recipes
If you prefer drinks that are quick and simple to prepare, here are a few ideas:
- Drink sparkling water with natural flavoring, or use regular sparkling water and add your own flavoring. Try options like lemon juice, lime juice, berries, sliced cucumber, 1-2 drops of pure essential oil, or fresh herbs.
- Mix ginger ale with pineapple and/or orange juice.
- Combine kombucha with unsweetened cranberry juice.
- Sparkling cider makes a festive swap for champagne for celebrations.
Special occasion mocktail recipes
Particularly for parties and holidays, you may be interested in more complex mocktail recipes that closely mimic the real thing. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, here is GF Veg’s curated collection of mocktail recipes on Pinterest. These recipes range widely from holiday drinks to party punches, and from frozen blended drinks to hot toddies. You’re bound to find something that fits your occasion!
Pro Tip: If you’re working on health goals, keep an eye on the sugar and calorie content of mocktail recipes. These drinks can rank high in sugar and calories, for example if they contain juice, syrup, or other sweeteners.
Are you ready for a gentle detox?
After reading some of the health reasons to drink less alcohol, do you feel ready for a reset? If you have a glass of wine almost every evening, you feel like you “need” a dessert after each meal, or your body craves bread at every dinner, then you might benefit from a period of gentle nutritional detox.
GF Veg has two completely free programs: a 5-Day Detox Meal Plan, and a 14-Day Mind, Body, and Home Detox Challenge.
The 5-Day Detox Meal Plan is designed to help rid your body of cravings for unhealthy foods and get you back on track with craving what you truly need – plenty of water, whole foods, and real nourishment.
You’ll receive a meal plan and grocery list that’s customizable for your own needs and preferences.
The 14-Day Mind, Body, and Home Detox Challenge includes the 5-Day Meal plan described above, plus more. You’ll receive daily emails packed with ideas, inspiration, and guidance. Choose any two-week period that works for you.
- Day 1: prep day!
- Days 2 – 4: a mind detox to reflect on self-care practices, improve your self-talk, and remove mental stressors in your life.
- Days 5 – 9: the 5-day gentle body detox to nourish yourself with whole foods and reduce cravings for sugar and processed foods.
- Days 10 – 13: a 4-day home detox to take practical steps toward reducing chemicals and toxins in your household.
- Day 14: a closing day of reflection and goal setting.
Get started below!