Giving Up Drinking, Even in Moderation, May Aid Health

We the holidays over, many of us have cut back on our consumption of alcohol. Between New Year’s resolutions and Dry January, many folks have renounced booze completely. Studies come out regularly, touting the health benefits of alcohol — especially wine. The thing most of the studies say is that it’s a little bit of alcohol that may aid health — drinking in excess will never be beneficial.

We believe people should make a personal choice for their health, lifestyle and beliefs. Your health care provider can help you decide the right amount. If you have wanted to quit, but are still thinking of the heart benefits, research might shore up your decision to give up alcohol for good.

One in five Americans takes part in Dry January — a pledge to go booze-free after the excesses of the holidays. For many people, it sparks giving up alcohol. “I noticed I was sleeping better, I had more energy, I felt less anxious. It was easier to stick to my healthy eating goals,” said participant Joy Manning.

Ms. Manning took part in the annual challenge in 2017 and never looked back. It surprised her because, like many of us, she linked booze to celebrations and fun. “On some level, I didn’t believe it was possible to have a fun, normal, full life without alcohol,” she explained. But, upon finding she could enjoy herself at gatherings without drinking, “I felt so free, like I was done.”

Hearing about people making positive choices for themselves gives us a happy, warm feeling. Studies have shown that people who have never been heavy drinkers and people who abstain entirely have pretty much the same health outcomes. Previous studies based on the usefulness of moderate drinking may have been skewed by heavy drinkers. People who drink two drinks a day for forty years are over 50 percent more likely than nondrinkers to develop cancer.

As we age, we become more and more susceptible to dangerous falls, alcohol impacts our balance. Because of this, giving up alcohol can make you safer and less likely to fall. Drinking can age your skin prematurely, it can also dehydrate you, causing falls and cognitive problems. Additionally, as we age, alcohol hits us harder, meaning the amount we drank when we were younger can impair us more. Drinking impacts our sleep and creates more free radicals than our antioxidants can manage.
 
Giving up alcohol can aid weight loss, because of the sugars and calories, take stress off your liver, help your heart and aid cognition and memory. Even people without a drinking problem, who don’t drink in excess may see the benefits. If you try giving up alcohol for a month, you may notice significant differences in how you feel. Speak to your doctor and find out if giving up alcohol might be right for you. Even people without a drinking problem, who don’t drink in excess may see the benefits.
January 27, 2020
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