People going alcohol-free during January will likely feel healthier and happier, according to charity Alcohol Concern.
While the Dry January campaign isn’t a ‘magic bullet’ – it won’t magically fix everything in your body if you’re drinking too much for the remaining 11 months – it could boost your overall health, the charity said.
People have reported losing weight, and feeling better about life after the end of the month.
It could also save people money, as the average person in the UK spends about £50,000 on booze in their lifetime, said Alcohol Concern.
These are the top five benefits of taking part in Dry January:
Your liver will thank you
Cutting out alcohol for an entire month means the liver becomes less fatty and functions better, according to Quest Nutra Pharma nutritionist, Alix Woods.
“Having ‘time-off’ from alcohol, which in reality is an anti-nutrient, reduces the chances of inflammation and ultimately long-term liver damage. Glucose levels are also reduced and blood glucose balance is better.
“By having a balance in blood sugar, the chances of developing type 2 diabetes is less likely. Insulin, the regulatory fat hormone, responds better and weight and cholesterol levels should improve.”
Lose festive weight
Alcohol stops the body from digesting fats properly, so excessive amounts of fat start to build up in the liver.
Nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville said: “In addition, alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver and can cause hypoglycaemia [low blood sugar levels].
“This drop in blood sugar often produces a craving for foods, such as more alcohol or sugary foods, which will then raise blood sugar – not good for anyone, especially those concerned about weight gain.”
Have a better night’s sleep
Drinking alcohol can have a major impact on your sleeping habits. Drinking before sleep may help you to fall asleep, but as the night goes on, you spend less time in deep sleep, and more time in less restful stage of sleep, according to charity Drinkaware.
Boosting your magnesium intake could help you to develop a better sleep schedule, said Burns.
Improve your state of mind
Long-term alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing, Glenville said.
“Those consuming excessive alcohol may have lower levels of tryptophan [the amino acid that is converted to serotonin – ‘happy hormone’].
“Low serotonin, selenium and vitamin B levels are a major feature of depression, mood swings, anxiety and irritation.”
Freshen up your skin
Keeping hydrated is crucial to maintaining healthy skin, according to nutritionist Cassandra Burns.
“Alcohol is a key culprit in leading to your skin feeling de-hydrated and dry,” she said.
“Remember to drink 1.5 to two litres of water a day to ensure skin remains hydrated.
“If you do crack under the pressure and fancy an alcoholic beverage, make sure you increase your water intake to help counteract the negative impact that the alcohol can have on your skin.”