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To cut the risk of all alcohol-related issues, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that adults should choose not to drink. If you do drink, experts used to say to do it in moderation. That means two drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women on days when alcohol is consumed.
But recent studies show that even moderate consumption is risky. No level of alcohol use is safe for our health, says the World Health Organization. Part of the reason: Your chances of getting some common health problems like colon and breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and other health issues increase the more alcohol you consume. Alcohol use is also linked to higher risk for injury from car crashes and violence.
Many people, from occasional drinkers to daily drinkers, are exploring the benefits that come from giving up alcohol. There is even a term for it — sober curious. Millions of people get started during the Dry January challenge each year. People give up alcohol use for the month to welcome the new year with a focus on improving their health and life.
There are benefits to skipping alcohol for long or short periods any time of the year. That’s because even small amounts of alcohol can have a big effect on your body. From the very first sip, alcohol enters your bloodstream and quickly impacts your body.
In addition to lowering your risk for diseases and injuries, skipping alcohol can help your body in other ways, says UC Davis Health. Two big benefits include:
Moderate to heavy drinkers will gain extra benefits from stopping:
Cutting the amount of alcohol you drink can help your short- and long-term health. Everyone can benefit from drinking less alcohol or not drinking at all. And even small changes can make a big difference. Try the Check Your Drinking online tool to see how you can benefit from quitting.
Ready to get started? Try some of these tips:
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, reach out for help. You can start by talking with your primary care doctor.
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