In light of Macmillan’s Sober for October campaign, nutritionist and Nosh Detox founder, Geeta Sidhu-Robb shares the benefits of giving up alcohol this month
By Geeta Sidhu-Robb
With October now in touching distance, along comes Sober for October, a Macmillan led campaign which sees people go without alcohol for the entire 31-day duration of the month. ‘Soberheroes’ can raise money for people living with cancer by signing up to the challenge, with all proceeds going towards the fight against cancer. As well as contributing towards a fantastic cause, there are also a number of health and lifestyle benefits attributed to ditching the booze for a month.
Alcohol contains no health benefits at all – so giving it up in any capacity will see your skin, immune system, weight, mental health and general well being improve. But for some, October provides the perfect time to give it a break should you not be able to ditch it all together. Below I list the top benefits attributed to taking part in this year’s campaign. You never know – the way it makes you feel might make you think twice about every picking up a bottle again.
Benefits of giving up alcohol
Studies have shown that alcohol impacts your sleep and that drinking before bed increases your alpha wave patterns making you get less shut-eye and therefore, meaning you will start your day on the back foot. Not drinking alcohol will give your body that time to rest up and will leave you feeling more refreshed. Sipping on a few beers or glasses of wine might make you feel like you’re ready for bed, but the reality is – we sleep far worse having consumed alcohol. As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up after just a few hours’ sleep when you’ve been drinking.
Better sleep means better productivity. A night of alcohol will not only affect your night’s sleep, but it will also impact on the entire next day – especially at the weekends – where we would prefer to lay on the sofa in a vegetated state. Without the booze, your body is given more energy as you feel fresher. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get tasks done that often linger over you. You will then be able to relax and feel more satisfied with the work you have completed
Work will benefit
Giving up alcohol for October should also benefit your job performance. Alcohol affects your concentration and focus, which will never be a positive thing when it comes to your work. Alcohol leaves you with a clearer, purer mind – ready to attack the day.
Alcohol dehydrates the skin and lowers your body’s antioxidant defences – leaving it far more prone to spots. Over the long term, this will cause consistent inflammation, redness and broken capillaries which can leave you feeling down and lacking confidence with red wine often the biggest culprit. Ditching the drink will give your skin plenty of time to replenish and hydrate itself to give you that glowing feeling. This is often one of the biggest benefits that arise having given up alcohol – and people love the results!
It comes as no surprise to learn that ditching alcohol will give your wallet some reprise. How many times do you wake up after a night out and check your bank account with dread and regret? The feeling of an alcohol-free night will not only leave you feeling fresh and regret free, but it will also see you spend less on average.
Alcohol is absolutely riddled with calories. It really is. It’s not just your wallet that suffers – but also your waistline. The average Long Island iced tea can pack up to 800 calories per drink and will be harmful to you in your weight loss goals. Studies have shown that you can lose a pound a week by giving up the booze. You will also see improvements to your blood pressure and heart health.
Boosts your Libido
Alcohol acts as a depressant meaning that when it comes to the bedroom, instead of thinking it will improve your performance it is likely to hinder it. It can not only affect a woman’s libido but it can also cause erectile dysfunction as alcohol hinders the body’s opportunity to metabolise hormones resulting in a poor sex drive.
Reduce your risk of a stroke
Alcohol raises your blood pressure and can cause irregular heartbeats as well as nerve damage. By removing alcohol you will find that your body will be getting some much-needed respite and recovery reducing the risk of a stroke.
You will eat less
One of the reasons many of us eat after drinking is because alcohol makes us more sensitive to food aromas, hence why junk food becomes more appealing and we eat much more. Therefore, we are less likely to overindulge on food and will help towards our bank account and final weight loss – just in time for Christmas.
A healthy heart
Your heart is the reason you are alive. It is often neglected by us and drinking alcohol is a clear example of just some of the strain it can go through. You will be putting more harmful fats and chemicals into your system which can begin to block arteries and lead to heart disease and other heart-related issues along the way. So, before you go to consume that extra pint or glass of whiskey, consider how much you have already had and what your heart has just gone through. Trust me, it will thank you later!
About Geeta Sidhu-Robb
Geeta founded her company Nosh Detox a decade ago in 2008 having quit her job as a corporate lawyer to retrain as a nutritionist and raw chef in a bid to lawyer in a bid to nurse her critically ill son suffering from severe food allergies, eczema, asthma and anaphylaxis as a child. In the face of adversity, Geeta overcame the odds to set up the UK’s first home detox delivery service in Nosh Detox and independently find a cure for her son, at a time when no medic was able to help, whilst also going through a divorce. From that moment, she fast learnt how to provide a nutritious, balanced and safe diet for her son and in turn, the whole country.