Going sober – the health benefits of giving up alcohol

Giving up booze – even temporarily – can help boost your overall health and wellbeing. Here are four ways giving up alcohol can make you healthier.

From our high rates of alcohol consumption to an accent that is supposedly a by-product of drunken, slurring early settlers, Australia’s relationship with booze is entrenched in our way of life.

But with repeated warnings about the dangers of excessive alcohol use, events like Febfast, Dry July and Ocsober are a good excuse for thousands of people to try going dry.

And the good news is that as well as testing your self-control, giving up booze – even temporarily – can help improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Here are four ways giving up alcohol can make you healthier.

Restart your engine

According to febfast, taking a break from alcohol gives your body a much-needed reboot. Overindulging in beer, wine or liquors can cause toxins to build up, affecting your essential organs and tissues.

Detoxing can raise energy levels and reduce risk of longer-term illnesses such as heart disease.

Weight loss

Alcohol is typically high in calories so if you eliminate it from your diet, weight loss can follow, according to Livestrong. To see the full benefits, avoid replacing alcohol with sugary soft drinks.

Alcohol is also a driver of excess food intake – but giving up might make you think twice about that late-night greasy feed. A whopping 62 per cent of past febfasters reported losing weight.

Last year’s participant survey found 62 per cent of those involved in febfast lost weight, 81 per cent saved money, 86 per cent became more conscious of their health practices while 44 per cent slept better.

Liver detox

DrinkWise warns that drinking heavily puts your liver under immense strain and at increased risk of developing cirrhosis – a permanent condition. Damage to the liver generally takes four to six weeks to recover, so even a month off will give it a well-deserved break.

A healthy liver is associated with clear, bright skin – so you’ll get the added benefit of looking good from the inside out.

Deep sleep

febfast says 44 per cent of previous participants reported sleeping better with a month off grog. That’s because while you might hit the sack as soon as you get home from a boozy night out, you’re not actually getting quality sleep.

DrinkWise Australia says alcohol disrupts the most restorative deep, or rapid-eye-movement (REM), stage of sleep. So even if you get eight hours of shut-eye, it’s not a solid night’s sleep.

Find out more about febfast and Australian safe drinking guidelines.

Watch our panel of experts discuss the issue of alcohol use in Australia on House of Wellness TV:

Written by Charlotte Brundrett