How a Dry January May Have Lasting Benefits for Your Health

As we approach a new year, many people may be thinking of all sorts of resolutions, particularly with the determination to turn over a new leaf and live a healthier life. Aside from goals around fitness and eating better, more people have become interested in having a “dry” January — by abstaining from alcohol for the entire month, or possibly longer. In fact, according to the group that originally started the effort, participation has swelled to 4 million people.

Beyond joining in a trendy movement, there is evidence that suggests putting aside beer, wine or cocktails — even for a limited amount of time — may make a positive impact on your long-term health.

recent study shows that abstaining from alcohol for a month may reduce a person’s blood pressure, help them sleep better and even help them lose weight. What’s more, the same study revealed that after the alcohol-free month ended, participants were more likely to abstain from alcohol for longer periods. In fact, the participants were drinking less as a whole all the way into August. 

But what about those who tout the potential health benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol — particularly for your heart? The evidence to this a cause-and-effect relationship seems to be flawed at best. What’s more, people tend to underestimate the amount of alcohol that’s considered “moderate.” So when a person has a drink that isn’t “moderate,” it adds up. This can mean that, with more alcohol in the body every day, its effects can be larger, and potentially more severe, than originally thought. 

An event like Dry January, even if you don’t stop drinking altogether, can mean drinking less overall. You also don’t have to wait for January to put alcohol on hold – you may find the same success any time of the year. 

If you’re looking for a few fun mocktails this January — or beyond — try these delicious recipes, and you may not miss the booze at all.

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Holiday Sangria

Ingredients: 

  • 1 segment (2-3 inches) of ginger
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 oz. pomegranate juice 
  • 8 oz. blueberry juice 

Instructions: 

  1. Slice grapefruit, apples, orange and ginger and place in pitcher. Add cranberries and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Fill pitcher 1/3 of the way full with a pomegranate juice of your choice
  3. Fill pitcher 2/3 of the way full with a blueberry juice of your choice
  4. Fill to top with sparkling water
  5. Let pitcher sit so flavors can meld. 
  6. Pour into glass with ice. 
  7. Garnish with mint, rosemary and a grapefruit slice.

Cranberry Mule

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup ice
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 2 orange peels
  • 2 ginger peels
  • Sparkling water
  • Cinnamon stick

Instructions: 

  1. Fill a copper mug half full with ice. 
  2. Add cranberries. 
  3. Add two orange and ginger peels. 
  4. Fill mug to the top with sparkling water
  5. Stir mixture with cinnamon stick. 

Alcohol-Free Mimosa

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup orange juice 
  • Orange flavored sparking water
  • Orange peel

Instructions: 

  1. Pour ¼ cup of orange juice into champagne flute. 
  2. Fill the rest of the flute with orange flavored sparking water. 
  3. Garnish with an orange peel.