We love our alcohol in any cut or color, from tall, clear gin and tonics to deep, thick oatmeal stouts. In fact, we love it so much that the Internet has become surfeit with reasons alcohol is good for us. It seems that glasses of red wine make our hearts stronger, mugs of beer make our brains sharper, and shots of tequila may even cure our common colds.
Unfortunately, the studies that confirm these outstanding benefits of drinking booze are often dubious at best, explaining that “moderate” alcohol consumption provides the best results. Because researchers have a hard time explaining exactly what moderate consumption is for every individual, drinkers can easily overindulge and negate the good work they want to put in.
It is much easier and more beneficial to reduce alcohol intake and reap the same benefits and more. Here are seven important health benefits gained from cutting back on booze.
1. Healthier Outlook
Alcohol is inherently a depressant, which means every sip of that tasty nectar actually worsens your overall emotional outlook. Even between drinking sessions, drinkers are more likely than non-drinkers to experience depression, with bouts of emotional numbness interspersed with anger, sadness, and regret. Though it might feel as though your daily cocktail hour dissolves your stress and improves your mood, alcohol tends to have a myopic effect on emotions, creating extreme highs and extreme lows that barely dissipate after the booze wears off.
When you drink less — or better, not at all — you will begin to notice a newfound sense of optimism. As your body regains its strength, your mind will feel more capable of tackling life’s obstacles, and you will gain a healthier emotional outlook than when you boozed it up.
2. More Money
If you don’t keep a budget, you will probably be surprised at the significant chunk of change alcohol leeches from your paycheck every week. The average American devotes roughly 1 percent of his or her paycheck to booze, which means every dollar out of $100 you make is going straight into your bartender’s pocket.
Instead, you can cut out alcohol for a while and place the money you would have spent into a special savings account. After a while, you probably won’t miss the overpriced drinks, and you will be swimming in all your extra money. For even more savings, you can drop smoking at the same time and buy reusable White Cloud e-cigs to curb cravings.
3. Easier Weight Management
There is a reason the accumulation of fat around the midsection is called a “beer belly:” Alcohol is heavy on empty calories, and the sugars consumed from drinking are immediately converted to fat. Another of the depressive qualities of booze is its impact on your metabolism, preventing your body from efficiently converting food to usable energy. Then, when you do work out, your muscles have a harder time recovering from the stress. From just abstaining from alcohol, you will have more energy and find it easier to maintain a certain weight.
4. Better Sleep Pattern
When you collapse into bed after a night out, you might think that the booze is helping you achieve a better night’s sleep. Unfortunately, though you may feel more sleepy than usual, the alcohol in your system is preventing you from entering the sleep cycles your body and brain need most. Most sleepers who enjoy one or more nightcaps demonstrate an erratic sleep pattern, during which the body skips through restorative cycles and maintains a light, easily disrupted level of slumber. Simply avoiding drinks for at least three hours before bedtime will allow for more restful nights.
5. More Proactive Libido
Studies show that alcohol can make a drinker’s libido stronger, but simultaneously, the booze lowers that drinker’s ability to seal the deal. Specifically, men lose their abilities to “get it up,” while women lose the sensitivity that makes the act fun. Worse, having sex while intoxicated more than triples your likelihood of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Not only will staying sober increase the quantity of your sexual encounters, but it will increase the quality of them, as well.
6. Brighter Skin
You probably don’t notice it, but the booze in your body is actually wreaking all sorts of havoc on your body’s largest organ. Alcohol depletes the body of essential hydration, leaving the skin dry and swollen. In this condition, your skin is much more likely to wrinkle and spot, making you appear older than you are. Your hair, too, is likely to dry out and crack. Just a few days after your last drink, you should notice your skin and hair start to glow with newfound moisture.