What one month without alcohol can do for your body

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Many of us may have potentially increased our alcohol consumption over the past few months, as we dealt with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and being in social isolation.

And now that things are slow returning to a new form of normality we may be looking at ways to break some of those bad iso-habits - including drinking too much.

With Dry July just around the corner it’s as good a time as any to think about a booze cleanse, and you might be surprised to learn how much just one month of no alcohol can actually do for your mind and body.

Could you give up drinking for a month? Photo: Getty

Here dietitian and Dry July Ambassador Chloe McLeod shares with Yahoo Lifestyle the benefits of taking a break from alcohol for a whole month.  

Improvements to mental health

Alcohol may seem like a mood elevator when you’re enjoying a couple of drinks with your friends, but it is actually a depressant that can have serious negative effects on your overall mental health. It can cause low moods to be aggravated, and low energy levels that make situations feel worse.

Taking some time off alcohol allows your brain to level out and you’ll be able to think with more clarity, dealing with any mental health issues in a much more positive way.

Better sleep

Regular alcohol consumption can impact your sleep quality. As drinking disrupts your sleep cycle and impacts your REM stage of sleep, you may feel tired and run down after a boozy night, regardless of how long you stay in bed.

After one week without alcohol, your sleeping patterns should have improved and you’ll feel more energised.

After one week your sleep should be better. Photo: Getty

Your skin will clear up 

If you’ve ever felt that your skin doesn't look its best after a couple of drinks - you're not alone. Alcohol is a diuretic which means that it forces the water out of our bodies, leaving skin incredibly dehydrated.

When taking a month off alcohol, you’ll notice less puffiness and breakouts, leaving you with a more radiant complexion.   

Weight loss  

Alcohol is higher in calories than most people realise. In fact, it has more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates - only fat has more calories per gram.

Although a glass of wine with dinner might seem harmless, you may find yourself gaining weight.

When you cut out alcohol, your overall calorie intake can decrease and you’ll start to lose weight - as long as you’re not replacing that glass of wine with another high-calorie beverage.

Alcohol is generally high in calories. Photo: Getty

A healthier liver  

Your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol, dispensing nasty toxins from your body. When somebody consumes large amounts of alcohol, the liver works incredibly hard to process it.

Over time, alcohol can cause the liver to become overloaded with toxins and a build-up of fat, leading to steatosis, otherwise known as ‘fatty liver’, which is an early sign of liver disease.

When you stop drinking alcohol, your liver starts to flush out all of the leftover by-products that were produced over time - in the long-term, your liver will thank you.

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