From time to time I suggest to clients that they give up alcohol to improve their health – a suggestion that is rarely well received!

The expressions of shock and horror I get from people are incredible!

“But how will I sleep at night without having a drink?”

“I need wine at the end of my day, I deserve it!”

Many of these clients are unknowingly addicted to alcohol, and it has become a crutch for them to lean on in their lives. Unfortunately, the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh any short-term pleasures, and their regular drinking is often holding back their health.

The effects of alcohol

As a pro-inflammatory toxin, alcohol affects every part of your body. You may be experiencing arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, or endometriosis: whatever the inflammatory condition is, alcohol will be making it worse.

As if fuelling inflammation wasn’t enough, alcohol also affects;

Digestion

Alcohol relaxes the ring of muscle at the top of your stomach (the lower oesophageal sphincter) allowing stomach acid and food to reflux up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. It also increases the permeability of gut wall, contributing to ‘Leaky Gut’ symptoms and increasing the risk of developing food sensitivities.

Sleep

You may initially feel sleepy after a few drinks, but alcohol disrupts the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, making you more wakeful in the early hours and much more tired the next day.

Fertility

Drinking affects egg and sperm quality, and makes sperm swim slower, reducing the chances of successful fertilisation.

Immunity

Do you frequently pick up infections? Cut out the booze! Alcohol impairs immune function, making it harder to fight off infections.

Weight balance

As well as all the empty calories look at how alcohol affects your behaviour and food choices. Is that glass of wine accompanied by a bag of peanuts? Half a bar of chocolate? Cutting out alcohol is an essential part of any weight balance plan.

Energy levels

Alcohol is detoxified in the liver via a process that uses up lots of B-vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium. These nutrients are also needed for energy production. The more alcohol you drink, the fewer nutrients there are available for making energy!

Heart health

while some studies suggest there may be a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems for some people with moderate alcohol intake, the results cannot be applied to everyone. The benefits stem from the antioxidants in red grapes and there are plenty of other ways to increase your antioxidant levels without drinking wine!

How to reduce your alcohol intake

Going ‘cold turkey’ can be difficult if you’re used to drinking regularly. Try these small steps to gradually reduce alcohol intake instead, and keep note of how much better you feel:

  • Start by including at least 3 alcohol free days each week
  • After a month, increase this to four
  • Limit the amount you drink on these days to a maximum of 2 glasses of wine OR 2 single spirit measures OR 1 pint of beer
  • Experiment with mocktails
  • Try alcohol-free beer
  • Create your own sparkling water blend by adding different types of fresh fruit and herbs: sliced cucumber, mint leaves and orange slices are a delicious and refreshing combination.
  • Continue to gradually reduce alcohol until you’ve stopped completely.

Are you struggling to cut down on alcohol?

Need help and support with managing cravings?

Get in touch TODAY on 07788 633292 or email info@yorktraditionalacupuncture.co.uk to start your journey