When you decide to kick the drinking habit, it's like hitting the start button on an amazing transformation journey for your mind and body. We're talking about alcohol's impact on your neurotransmitters, liver, brain cells, and your overall well-being, and trust us, it's pretty profound. In this blog post, we're going to dive into the nitty-gritty of what goes down when you say no to the booze and uncover all the awesome perks it can bring to both your physical and mental health…
A Healthier You: Taking a break from alcohol can work wonders for your organs. According to research just four weeks without a drink can substantially reduce liver disease. Overtime by cutting out alcohol, you're giving your liver a chance to recover, and you're helping your body stay better hydrated because alcohol won't interfere with the process that keeps your body's water levels in check. This is good for your overall health and means you may experience increased energy levels, reduced dark circles under your eyes, and fewer headaches.
Mind Matters: Although it's not true that alcohol directly kills brain cells, drinking too much over time can still harm your brain in different ways. One significant way is by getting in the way of your brain's ability to make new brain cells, a process called "neurogenesis." This interference can lead to the shrinking of a part of your brain called the hippocampus, which has a big role in memory and thinking. Think of it like this: Imagine your brain is a garden, and brain cells are like the plants. Alcohol doesn't necessarily kill the existing plants (brain cells), but it can make it difficult for new ones to grow. If your garden doesn't have new plants growing, it might start to look smaller and less vibrant over time. Similarly, your brain's hippocampus can shrink, affecting your memory and reasoning abilities when alcohol interferes with the creation of new brain cells. Fortunately, taking a break from alcohol for just a few weeks can reverse this and bring positive changes to your brain. The brain's ability to adapt helps it repair and improve neural pathways, leading to better memory and decision-making. Quitting alcohol also helps restore the balance of brain chemicals, making you feel emotionally better.
Rebalancing Your Brain and Body: Alcohol's impact on your neurotransmitters, particularly GABA, is what leads to the notorious "morning-after fear." GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a natural chemical found in your brain that plays a crucial role in regulating your nervous system. It's like a calming messenger that helps reduce the activity of nerve cells in your brain. Think of it as a "brake" that helps slow down or calm the brain's activity when things get too hectic. This can help you feel relaxed, reduce anxiety, and promote better sleep. When you’ve drunk too much alcohol from the night before this creates a rebound effect on your brain and can lead to increased anxiety and restlessness, which can contribute to the feeling of fear or unease associated with a hangover. It can take up to 72 hours before your brain and body return to their normal state after drinking. Cutting back on alcohol helps restore the balance in your mental health, and you'll notice improvements in your sleep patterns, allowing for clearer thinking and a more composed mindset.
Gut conscious: Regular alcohol consumption increases the hormone ghrelin, making you feel hungrier and more likely to indulge in sweets and chocolate. Cutting back on alcohol can lead to a healthier gut and reduced bloating. Not drinking alcohol can contribute to a healthier gut and digestion for several reasons. Consuming alcohol can greatly impact the beneficial bacteria in our colon, known as the gut microbiome. With over 50 trillion bacteria comprising this complex system, chronic alcohol consumption diminishes both the diversity and quantity of distinct bacterial species in our gut. Abstaining from alcohol allows the gut microbiome to stabilise, promoting better digestion. Additionally, alcohol can cause acid reflux and gastritis. By avoiding alcohol, these irritations can subside, leading to improved gut health and digestion. Giving these organs a break by not drinking allows them to function more effectively, supporting overall digestive wellness.
Boosting Performance: Staying hydrated is crucial for a successful workout, as it ensures proper blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. However, alcohol dehydrates the body and taxes the liver, making it less efficient at eliminating toxins. By eliminating alcohol from your routine, you can stay better hydrated, get more restful sleep, absorb nutrients efficiently, reduce inflammation, make better exercise decisions, think more clearly, and maintain a consistent workout routine all resulting in better strength and endurance during your workouts, allowing you to get more out of your exercise regimen. Let’s not forget that excessive drinking can lead to poor nutritional choices, as it often goes hand-in-hand with unhealthy eating habits. Overall, alcohol's negative impact on physical and mental abilities, combined with its potential to hinder recovery time, makes it detrimental to exercise and fitness efforts.
Here's the deal: alcohol's impact doesn't stop at the dreaded hangover; it goes way beyond that and messes with both your body and your mind. But, don’t panic. Opting to cut down on your drinks or even giving up alcohol altogether can bring a whole bunch of perks your way. When you realise just how long-lasting alcohol's effects can be and actively work on dialling it back, you're basically giving yourself the keys to a healthier and happier life. It's like taking a giant leap toward becoming a better, brighter version of you! #Drinktoremember