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What Is Dry January And How Can It Help Improve Your Health?

What Is Dry January And How Can It Help Improve Your Health?

Dry January is a campaign that encourages people to go alcohol-free for the month of January. It promotes a healthier lifestyle and aims to help people to reflect on their alcohol consumption. Alcohol is linked to numerous health risks, and abstaining from alcohol, even just short term, can be beneficial for health. If you're considering going alcohol-free, continue reading to learn more!

Pros And Cons Of Alcohol

Some alcoholic drinks, red wine for instance, contains antioxidants and polyphenols that can offer health protective effects. Alcohol consumption may also be beneficial for mental health, as individuals who regularly engage in casual drinking are found to be more socially engaged than individuals who don’t. There is also evidence that moderate alcohol consumption can enhance cognitive function, for instance memory.

There are also risks to alcohol consumption however - high intakes of alcohol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and obesity, as well as foetal alcohol syndrome if consumed throughout pregnancy. Not to mention high doses of alcohol can impair our judgements and lead to behavioural changes, and excessive intakes of alcohol can lead to death.

Benefits Of Dry January

Research shows that short-term abstinence from alcohol can be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk and improving liver function, and improvements were found in insulin resistance, blood pressure, and body weight after a month of alcohol abstinence. Another study found that individuals who participate in Dry January report health benefits such as weight loss and sleep improvements. Successful participants are also more likely to make permanent changes to their drinking habits. In addition to all these benefits, abstaining from alcohol also means no more waking up to hangovers!

Non-Alcoholic Drink Alternatives

Just because you’re taking a break from alcohol does not mean you need to miss out on social events during January - or any other month of the year! Bars generally have non-alcoholic drink options and mocktails on their menus to cater for those who are alcohol free (and designated drivers of course!) As a nutritionist, my personal favourite non-alcoholic drink on a night out is a cold kombucha - kombucha is fermented and is similar to a soft drink, but it contains probiotics that are gut friendly and can help aid digestion!

Additionally, there are many activities that can be done without the presence of alcohol. Whether you are going out with friends, family, or on a date, suggest an activity that can be enjoyed without a drink in hand - such as mini golf, or a cooking class!

Are you participating in Dry January? Let us know in the comments below!
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