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Going Sober in January? 5 Good Reasons to Cut Back the Rest of the Year Too

A recent fad of giving up alcohol for the month of January can mean great things for your health, but why give up when February comes around? As QUARTZY explains, there are several good things that come from going sober — or just cutting back — for a month, but the short-term benefits can be negated if you return to old habits when the sobering up month is done.

Sober

Here are five good reasons to moderate your alcohol intake all year long:

1. You can save your liver. According to researchers, the rise in cirrhosis of the liver mortality is entirely driven by excess alcohol consumption by young adults. While, historically, alcohol-related liver cirrhosis has been regarded as a condition that develops after two or three decades of heavy drinking, these newer statistics reveal it doesn't have to take that long at all, as it's now occurring in (and killing) 20- and 30-year-olds. The good news is that alcohol-related liver cirrhosis can be reversed if caught early enough — and provided you quit drinking.

2. Your whole body benefits. While lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, weight, smoking and alcohol consumption all play important roles in exacerbating your chances of developing some form of liver disease, simply cutting back on or eliminating alcohol can have positive effects on other chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

3. Your DNA benefits too. Research demonstrates a product of alcohol metabolism damages DNA and increases your risk for several different cancers, as well as pancreatitis by deleting, damaging and breaking bits of DNA in blood stem cells. Permanently cutting back or eliminating alcohol can help your body repair itself and stop the genetic mutations from happening.

4. It can help restore glucose metabolism in your body and possibly help you lose weight. Especially with sugary mixed drinks, alcohol can add excess fructose to your diet, throwing your metabolic processes off-kilter, and causing your body to burn glucose for fuel. Eliminating this chronic glucose excess will actually give you more energy in the long run.

5. Inflammation in your body will be reduced, which can have numerous positive effects on every part of your body. This is because alcohol significantly increases five inflammatory markers — even a single binge causes a dramatic rise in inflammation. In other words, your body reacts to alcohol in the same way as it reacts to injury or infection. Cutting back on this inflammation trigger will help your body fight other causes of inflammation, rather than aiding and abetting them.

The bottom line is less is always better, not just in January but all year long. If you currently are a drinker, it is vital to consider how this impacts your overall health and increases your risk for several different health conditions.

Adding a little exercise to your go-sober plan can have an enormous benefit, as well: Studies show hose who got 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week reduced the biological impact of drinking, while those who got five hours or more of moderate activity experienced the same mortality as those who never drank.

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