It's no secret that alcohol consumption isn't necessarily the healthiest pastime. But many people, myself included, really need a glass or two of wine at the end of a long week. Most responsible adults can drink in moderation without drastic negative affects on their body. If you are a heavy drinker, however, your risk of health problems can skyrocket. You may consider drinking less, especially since there are many physical and mental benefits of cutting back on alcohol.
First, you have to define moderate and heavy drinking. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. This is a per day estimate, and shouldn't be used as an average (for example drinking seven drinks in one night, once per week, is not the same as drinking one drink per day, for seven days.) If you go over one drink per day, you could fall into the "heavy drinker" category, which for women, is defined as consuming eight drinks or more per week, and 15 or more drinks per week for men.
If you are considering cutting back on your alcohol consumption, here are some benefits you may not have expected.
1. You Lose Weight
According to Prevention, women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol consume an additional 300 calories on days when they drink (which, depending on the drink, can be as little as one alcoholic beverage.) If you don't replace those calories in other ways, you may notice some weight loss just by giving up the cocktails. A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition also found that moderate drinkers had poorer diets on drinking days.
2. You Get A Deeper Sleep
According to Drinkaware, a UK-based alcohol education foundation, alcohol affects the quality of your sleep. When you drink too much, you spend less of the night in REM sleep, the deep restorative sleep needed by your body, and are more likely to wake early and not be able to fall back to sleep.
3. Your Skin Clears Up
Alcohol is a diuretic, according to Prevention. This means that your body and your skin become dehydrated when you drink too much. Giving up alcohol can rehydrate your skin making it look healthier, and can also help in clearing up dandruff, eczema, and rosacea.
4. You'll Be In A Better Mood
Have you noticed that you feel down in the dumps the day after drinking too much? This is because alcohol can interfere with the neurotransmitters in our brains, warns Drinkaware. When you drink, you more susceptible to anxiety and sadness while you're drinking, and again once you sober up.
5. Your Sex Life Inproves
According to WebMD occasional excessive alcohol consumption can increase your desire, but may impede your sexual performance. In fact, Everyday Health warned that regularly drinking means that toxins from the alcohol can build up in your body and affect all of your organs, including those you use for sex.
6. You Have A Healthier G.I. System
Have you ever woken up with a stomachache after a night of drinking? A study in the journal Alcohol Health and Research World found that alcohol consumption interferes with the function of all parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Diarrhea and gastritis are common complaints after drinking, and can get worse the more often you drink. Giving up alcohol can help your gut get back to health.
7. You Lower Your Risk Of Cancer
The National Cancer Institute, alcohol consumption is linked to cancers of the head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast, colon and rectum. The more you drink, the greater the risk of developing one of these types of cancers.
8. Your Dental Health Improves
According to Healthline, heavy drinkers are at greater risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores. The site warned that alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer. Drinking too much can also lead to increased plaque on your teeth and risk of permanent tooth loss.
9. You Save More Money
Anyone who's ever ordered a cocktail or glass of wine with dinner knows that drinks account for a big percentage of your dinner bill. Giving up alcohol can greatly lower your entertainment expenses, and give you some extra disposable income in hand. Even better? Put your beer money in the bank and save it for a splurge.