October is ‘Stoptober’. Here are 5 reasons why it is good for your body to give up alcohol for just one month.
Love your liver.
Shona Wilkinson, Nutritonist at Superfooduk.com says “The liver is an amazingly robust organ, and is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself after certain types of damage. Unfortunately, alcohol is one of the toxins that the liver doesn’t handle as well as other toxins, and it cannot regenerate after being severely damaged by alcohol. The liver processes 95% of alcohol ingested. Alcohol is seen as a toxin and therefore the body will preferentially process it before anything else. As a result alcohol is absorbed and processed before nutrients and food; therefore it’s not a good idea to consume alcohol whilst eating.”
Wilkinson says “Repeated consumption of alcohol inhibits the liver’s production of digestive enzymes, which then majorly reduces the body’s ability to absorb proteins, fats and the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E and K), as well as the B complex vitamins especially B1 (thiamine) and folic acid. Many essential nutrients are not retained by the body and are ‘washed out’ rapidly through the urine. This means that alcohol consumption causes a major loss of valuable nutrients and antioxidants. Without these vital elements, we may not have the adequate ingredients to make collagen, meaning we may produce wrinkles more easily. With the loss of antioxidants, we may age much more quickly, losing our vitality and looks.”
Avoid excess weight gain.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritonist and author of Natural Alternatives To Sugar “Because alcohol prevents the body’s ability to digest fats properly, excessive amounts of fat may accumulate in the liver. Leptin is a peptide hormone involved in the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism. High levels of leptin are known to contribute to fatty infiltration of the liver. Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver and can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels). This drop in blood sugar often produces a craving for foods, especially foods that raise blood sugar such as more alcohol or sugar – not good for anyone, especially those concerned about weight gain, especially fat around the middle!”
Keep it “up”.
Shona says “Alcohol reduces the body’s storage of the essential mineral zinc. Zinc is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, so without it, many processes suffer, including your hormonal balance and fertility. For men it can reduce testosterone production and cause erectile dysfunction, and for women it can disrupt your menstrual cycle, and if you’re thinking about having a baby, alcohol consumption increases your chance of miscarriage and birth defects.”
“As alcohol reduces the absorption of many essential nutrients, it may be having a major impact on your brain chemistry in a negative way. For example, those consuming excessive alcohol may have lower levels of tryptophan (the amino acid that is converted to serotonin). Low serotonin is a major feature of depression.” explains Wilkinson.
“Selenium deficiency may occur as a result of alcohol intake and is associated with depression, anxiety, confusion and hostility. The absorption of B vitamins are majorly affected by alcohol consumption, and deficiency in these crucially important vitamins will add to stress, nervous tension and energy levels.” adds Glenville.
Ultimately there are many reasons for keeping up your dry spell, or at least monitoring your intake of alcohol! If we make an effort to look after our liver, helping it to function more optimally, we’re on our way to looking and feeling younger, and benefiting from that trimmer waistline!