Should you carry on with Dry January? What are the benefits of less or no alcohol to your health?
Dry January is almost over and according to Alcohol Change.org, almost nine million of us in the UK were planning on taking a month off drinking alcohol.
So, the question is…are you planning on continuing into February - or perhaps even the rest of 2023 and beyond?
Have you felt significant benefits to giving up alcohol these last few weeks, and can’t face going back to how you felt?
According to Alcohol Change and our own experience as Health Coaches, benefits to partaking in Dry January include;
Lowering your risk of certain cancers
Reducing your risk of strokes and heart disease
Improved skin tone and texture
Reduction in facial redness and pores
Reduction in blood pressure if you have high blood pressure normally
Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
Reduction is gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, wind or diarrhoea/constipation.
Better immune system - less chance of catching any winter viruses
If you are peri-menopausal or menopausal you may also benefit from reduced or no hot flushes.
If you drink alcohol, current NHS guidelines are to drink no more than 14 units per week. However it’s important to understand that this is a lower risk limit rather than a safe amount to consume.
Research shows that there is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol that can be consumed and it depends on age, sex, geographical region and how much is consumed in one sitting. Higher levels of alcohol consumption are linked to certain types of cancer - including cancers of the throat, mouth and breast, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.
Conversely, there is also some evidence to suggest that people over 40, without underlying health issues, consuming small amounts of alcohol, can be beneficial for cardiovascular health (The lancet, 2022).
Alcohol is a personal choice and one which each individual should make an informed decision about. As Health Coaches, we are often asked to help people reduce their consumption or even stop completely, as they feel it is impacting their health negatively.
Also, women who are peri-menopausal or menopausal can be more adversely affected by alcohol consumption due to exacerbating symptoms. One study has shown that drinking small amounts of alcohol can be associated with improved wellbeing through menopause (Alati et al. 2007).
If you want to reduce or stop your alcohol consumption, you may find enlisting the help of a Health Coach will help you create new habits which support this decision.
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