Everywhere you go, it seems that bars and restaurants always feature the latest cocktail concoctions or introduce the best new brewery on the block. You almost feel obligated to visit every one of them once the weekend arrives. Why not, right? They’re exciting places to check out and once we clock-out on Friday, the work week is finally over. It’s time to celebrate!
Yes, it is a time to celebrate! But not every celebration needs to be toasted with a glass of sparkling wine or a bottle of cold beer. Furthermore, never believe the saying “calories don’t count with alcohol.” They do. Liquid calories always count. Did you know that one bottle of beer is equivalent to seven slices of bread? It’s crazy.
It sounds far-fetched, but numerous benefits come with lowering the number of tabs you keep at the bar. Therefore, if you say “no” to more happy hours and reach for glasses of water more often than glasses of wine, expect to change your life.
Your mind and body will feel and function at their best
When you supply your body with the right drinks, you flush out toxins, keep the brain healthy, regulate the digestive system, and help circulate nutrients throughout the body. Remember growing up and being told to always drink water? There’s a reason for that!
Our bodies are roughly 60% water. If we don’t hydrate, we become more susceptible to fatigue, low energy, headaches, and constipation. For this reason, making an effort to drink eight cups of water a day is imperative to helping us feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and generally function. Another example of a healthy drink to implement into your day is a smoothie. Smoothies are a great addition to a diet since you can throw all your favorite fruits, vegetables, and supplements into one place to ensure you’re consuming your recommended macros for the day and recovering efficiently after a workout.
But when you consume unhealthy drinks, your mind and body take a toll. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it deliberately blocks your brain’s ability to produce serotonin, a hormone necessary to feel happiness or uplift your mood. One particular case where this is detrimental is if you have depression – drinking alcohol puts you at risk for worsening your condition. The sugar in sodas and juices, on the other hand, is highly-addictive, practically making it feel like a drug. It floods our brain’s reward system since consuming it sends our dopamine levels into overdrive and triggers cravings.
Last but not least, prolonging poor drinking choices affects our overall health in the long-run and may even cause damages that are irreversible. These are the most common long-term consequences:
- Developing an addiction or dependence on the drink
- Prematurely killing brain cells
- Putting you at risk for heart diseases
- Liver and pancreas disease
- Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased risk of stroke
- High blood pressure
- Throat or mouth cancer
When you make a choice to drink less alcohol, you inevitably take a step back to think about the relationships in your life. Friends and loved ones should be people who support you through thick and thin, not those you only meet at a bar or once in a blue moon. Keeping a friendship solely based on the event of drinking together is not a healthy friendship. Instead, this relationship encourages the behavior of constant drinking and can unsuspectingly lead you down the path of addiction.
Better drink choices act as a catalyst to make healthier decisions in other areas of your life
Every choice we make will have a domino effect on the one after it. Take self-control, for example. Let’s say you had a goal to lose weight. When faced with the temptation of consuming alcohol or a sugary drink at a party, you can either resist drinking or give in. If you give in, that one drink hinders the progress towards accomplishing your goal. But if you resist, you translate that same recognition and attitude into the food you choose to eat. These types of actions and choices make you more inclined to sustain healthiness in every area of your life.
Drinking stops being a way or an excuse to “have fun”
You can always fun in ways that don’t involve alcohol or sugar. When you think about it, continually hitting the bars is not only unhealthy but doing so puts a serious dent in your wallet too. Those cocktails get expensive, and tabs can add up really fast. Plus, you never forget to tip the bartender.
When drinking gets taken off the table as an option to “have fun” with your friends, you can opt for participating in sports and physical exercise with them, such as hiking or engaging in friendly competition during a team sport like soccer or volleyball. A sober summer is a memorable summer! Alternatively, you can turn to creative interests as well. You can host a dinner at your home and cook everything for it or even spend some time in solitude drawing or writing.
To sum it all up, just because better drink choices ultimately lead you to a living and sustaining a healthier lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you need to give up alcohol or sugary refreshments forever. Instead, you should practice moderation when it comes to choosing when to indulge in those delicious craft beers, dessert wines, and champagne.
The most important thing to remember is that the simple act of drinking alcohol or sugar has the potential to negatively affect your well-being if not done responsibly. But as long as you keep your health and well-being a priority, you have nothing to worry about.