We all know it’s a good idea to cut back on drinking, but did you know that even a temporary break from alcohol can significantly improve your brain function, clear up your skin and reduce your risk of multiple forms of cancer? We dive into the health benefits of a no-alcohol diet.
If campaigns like Dry January, Sober October and Dry Feb (a fund drive created by the Canadian Cancer Society) are any indication, it seems that increasing amounts of people are choosing to take regular, month-long breaks from drinking – and with good reason. From decreasing your risk for cancer and heart disease, to improving your brain function and giving your complexion a healthy glow, detoxing from alcohol even just for a period of time can drastically improve your life – and the results are instantaneous.
In many cultures, regular drinking is commonplace and, for the most part, socially acceptable. Unfortunately, this normalises a practice that poses some pretty serious risks to your health and safety. In order to stay under the limit for lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related diseases, women should consume no more than one drink per day and men no more than two. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a standard alcoholic drink is defined as containing 14g of alcohol – a limit easily surpassed by many regular drinkers.
The good news is that taking some time off from drinking has a multitude of pronounced, noticeable, immediate health benefits. Let’s take a look at what those are.
1. Live a Longer, Healthier Life
We’ve all heard that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart – an adage that’s surely been used to justify indulging on one too many a weeknight. As it turns out, the health benefits of alcohol have likely been largely overestimated, and there’s little evidence to back it up. While it may be appealing to think that the glass of wine you’re having with dinner is good for your health, there’s no significant proof that it’s any better or worse for you than a tequila shot at the bar.
According to Dr Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “In many cases, it’s difficult to tease out the effect of drinking patterns from specific types of alcoholic beverages.” In other words, booze is booze – any difference in its effects likely comes from the drinking habits associated with certain types of beverages, not the beverages themselves.
Conversely, quitting alcohol can dramatically reduce inflammation and lower your risk for a plethora of health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Intestinal issues
- Mouth, throat, liver, colon, breast and stomach cancers
In order to get the purported health benefits of red wine, you’d need to stay under half of a standard drink per day – an amount that’s not likely to have any intoxicating effects. If you’re looking to reap some serious health benefits, cutting out alcohol is one of the most powerful things you can do.
2. Think More Clearly
It’s no surprise that alcohol kills brain cells – that impairment is partially responsible for its inebriating properties. But what may surprise you is how severe that brain damage can be. In fact, “Heavy drinking may have extensive and far-reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple ‘slips’ in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care,” according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol also slows down your brain’s production of new cells.
The great news is that, by abstaining from alcohol, your brain can begin to grow new cells and recover some or all of its previous functionality. You’ll also be far less prone to dementia, mood swings, depression and anxiety, meaning you’ll have a clearer mind and more even-keeled temperament at all times. All of this bodes well for your energy levels and productivity, which have far-reaching effects on your relationships, professional life and overall mental health.
3. Turn Heads with Your Glowing Skin
If you’ve ever had a hangover, you’re well aware of how dehydrating alcohol can be. Alcohol parches all of your organs, including your skin. That depletion of your skin’s moisture can cause puffiness, uneven skin tone, blotchiness or redness around the centre of your face, and trigger or worsen pre-existing skin problems like eczema. Over time, it can lead to premature aging. As stated by the dermatologist Dr Joel Schlessinger, “Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also contributes to premature signs of aging. Fine lines and wrinkles easily form on dry, dehydrated skin and the complexion often becomes pale, dull or grey, adding years to your appearance.” Not pretty.
When you stop drinking, you’ll immediately see a difference in your complexion, which will be clearer, more even-toned and noticeably more radiant. You’ll have the wherewithal to take better care of your skin when you’re not going to bed with makeup on, skipping your skincare routine or regularly waking up hungover. And with your enhanced mood and decreased anxiety, your complexion will enjoy the benefits of being stress-free, too.
Kick Off Your Break from Drinking with an Alcohol Detox in Paradise
The health benefits of taking some time off of drinking are undeniable. But if you’ve been drinking regularly and heavily, quitting can be more complicated than just putting down the bottle (or glass). A sudden stop sends your body into shock. Withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, depressions, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and increased heart rate can range from uncomfortable at best to fatal at worst. Severe withdrawal symptoms included hallucinations, seizures and delirium tremens (DTs), a syndrome that includes vivid hallucinations, delusions, mental confusion, profuse sweating, increased blood pressure and fever. Medical supervision is recommended in order to detox from alcohol safely and effectively.
The Cabin Chiang Mai offers a seven-day alcohol detox programme designed to help you do just that. You’ll be in good hands with our expert medical team, and you’ll be as comfortable as possible at our luxury facility. Our peaceful and naturally-beautiful location provides the welcome retreat you need from your usual daily environment. If you’re ready to put the brakes on drinking and take advantage of all the amazing health benefits that being alcohol-free has to offer, contact us today to learn more about our seven-day, medically supervised, alcohol detox programme.