In February I invited Rose White of Live a Well Life into Sobersistas Sacred Circle to give a talk on alcohol and how it affects our bodies. She was excellent, extremely knowledgeable and on point.
She has kindly written this guest blog for us and I hope you will learn as much from this as I have from Rose.
Rose White Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach. Dip.NLC. FNTP
The impact of alcohol on the body is akin to dropping a pebble in a pool of water. Its effects are felt throughout the body, some of these effects you will be aware of, others you won’t.
The good news is, the benefits of giving up alcohol will also spread throughout your body. An impact that is going to lead to a healthier, happier and well you.
One of the first things you may notice after giving up alcohol is an improvement in the quality and quantity of your sleep. This is because alcohol is a sleep cycle disrupter.
Whilst alcohol may initially help you fall into a deep sleep, due to its sedative effect, you will spend the majority of the night in lighter sleep. This is the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep which is far less restful and restorative. This leaves you tired and experiencing brain fog the next day, no matter how much sleep you have had. However, not drinking will improve this and you should find it easier to wake. You will have more energy in the mornings, than when you were drinking.
There is no doubt that stopping drinking is going to help you look healthier. Alcohol is a diuretic, this means it makes you urinate more often and as a result, you can become dehydrated. When we are dehydrated our skin and eyes can look dull and lifeless. Dehydration also causes us to feel fatigued, gives us a headache and makes it difficult to concentrate. Not only will your eyes and skin look brighter once you give up alcohol, but there will also be a spring in your step in terms of your energy levels. Just think what you will be able to achieve with all that energy!
Alcohol interferes with your weight, appetite and nutrient absorption. It is full of calories, so drinking makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight. It stimulates our appetite and lowers our gatekeeper to healthier food choices. This can mean we end up overeating at mealtimes, late at night and making food choices that don’t honour our health.
To be healthy we need to eat a wide variety of foods, this ensures we are getting all the nutrients we need. However, if you are drinking alcohol instead of eating, then you are at risk of nutrient deficiencies. Alcohol lacks most essential vitamins and minerals and in some cases, actually inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. For example, the B Vitamin family which play a vital role in our energy pathways, red blood cell production, and nervous system. Vitamin B6, in particular, is involved in the production of serotonin, our happy hormone. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of Folate/Folic Acid which is vital for red blood cell production. Which is particularly important for menstruating women.
When you give up alcohol you are supporting your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which in turn will help you maintain a healthier weight, feel and look better and have more energy.
That energy may have you feeling like you want to enjoy movement/exercise again. Perhaps walking with the dog, getting out in the garden or a yoga class. Alcohol makes exercise difficult. Alcohol dehydrates you, slowing the flow of blood through the body, which will impact your ability to move with energy. In addition, when we are dehydrated it is more difficult for our body to control its temperature. We are more likely to overheat, feel sweaty and miserable when exercising.
Without alcohol, you can find joy in movement again.
In terms of our everyday energy levels, alcohol wreaks havoc with our blood sugar balance and results in us sitting on an energy roller-coaster, often feeling anxious, tired, stressed and tired.
Alcohol is really high in a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is absorbed very quickly into our bloodstream. This results in a spike in our blood sugar. Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose there is in our blood. After glucose is released into the bloodstream, a hormone called insulin pushes it into our cells, so it can be converted into energy.
Your body reacts to the spike in sugar by releasing lots of insulin, to mop up the excess sugar which can lead to your blood sugar dropping too quickly. When it is too low, you can feel tired, weak, irritable, crave more sugar. So, the cycle continues. We end up eating foods that are higher in fat and refined sugar. If we have too much sugar in the diet, more than the body can use, it is stored as fat.
The best way to help support blood sugar balance is to eat regular meals and snacks, every 3-4 hours if you can. This will keep your blood sugar nice and stable, prevent blood sugar crashes that see your face planting the biscuit tin. When we start eating regularly and balance our blood sugar, we begin to attune back in with our biological hunger and fullness cues, and maintaining a healthy weight becomes easier.
Whilst drinking you may have found you were more susceptible to cough, colds and viruses. This is because alcohol suppresses your immune system. It also disrupts the gut flora balance in our gut. Our gut health and its delicate balance play a huge role in many functions in the body, from the synthesis of hormones and vitamins to our immune response. 70% of which is within our gut! The production of serotonin also occurs in the gut, so in terms of our emotional health, it is vital we have a healthy balance of gut flora.
In conclusion, being sober supports the four pillars of health. Better sleep, increased energy, improved nutrition, and better stress management.
Giving up alcohol literally means a happier healthier you! A well you awaits.
If you would like to personalised nutrition and lifestyle support, to feel healthier, increase your energy, improve your sleep and discover a well you. Contact Rose at www.liveawelllife.co.uk