As you are likely aware, alcohol addiction causes serious damage to the human body.
Nutrition for alcoholics is a serious problem, not least because heavy alcohol abuse damages our body’s internal stores of thiamine and other essential nutrients. While this causes a deficiency in the short term, which is bad enough, it can lead to serious brain issues in the long run, including wet brain. Because of this, nutrition and alcohol recovery go hand in hand, and diet is a crucial part of overcoming alcohol addiction successfully.
This is even while ignoring the fact that when we are constantly under the abuse of alcohol, we are more likely to :
- Skip meals or eat smaller ones
- Eat greasy takeaway food or other unhealthy foods
- Potentially vomit or have diarrhoea, draining our nutrients even further
- Cause damage to our digestive systems and slow down the rate at which we can absorb nutrients
Since being hungry and lacking nutrients can lead to being irritable or even anxiety, all of these things can make the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that much worse and tempt us to drink just to feel ok again.
This makes nutrition during alcohol recovery a key part of overcoming withdrawal and getting through the most difficult stages.
Let’s take a look at some ways in which taking in the correct nutrition for alcohol withdrawal can make things easier:
Nutrition for Alcohol Recovery
When recovering from alcohol addiction, it’s a good idea to eat complex carbohydrates, such as those found in sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, beans, pasta etc.
These help to balance our serotonin levels and also keep your stomach full for longer, preventing the nausea or extreme hunger that often come along with alcohol withdrawal.
Vitamins & Minerals
As mentioned briefly above, heavy alcohol abuse can destroy our stores of thiamine, and also lead to serious deficiencies of other B vitamins, vitamin C, and more.
The same is the case for most minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Eating fruits, vegetables and other foods high in these nutrients will help to undo the damage done by drinking more quickly and get you feeling healthy again, as well as reducing the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Eat Small Meals Regularly
It is crucial that you eat enough food when combating alcohol addiction, but large meals can exacerbate your nausea, irritate your stomach and ironically, just make you feel worse.
Splitting your meals up into smaller, more regular servings lightens the load on your stomach while ensuring that you don’t cut down too much on the actual volume of food.
Limit Sugar or Greasy Foods
Sweets or fried foods can irritate the stomach and make you feel less healthy overall, potentially reducing the impact of quitting alcohol on your feeling of well-being and helping to convince you to relapse.
Drinking alcohol also causes a blood sugar spike, so quitting alcohol is likely to lead to sugar cravings. While it may feel like satisfying these cravings is a great alternative to drinking, taking in large amounts of sugar leads to a sugar crash, which can cause depression and increase your chances of a relapse.
Hydrate, But Control Your Caffeine Intake
People recovering from alcohol often drastically increase their caffeine intake because it gives them a “hit” and helps to control the depression, lethargy or mood swings that can come with withdrawal.
Unfortunately, caffeine dehydrates us and causes the same blood sugar crash mentioned above, so this is a really bad idea.
Drinking water may sound boring compared to the alcohol you’ve been taking in, but that’s exactly why it’s so important at this stage.
Water is of course the best drink bar none when it comes to health and rehydrating the body, and getting used to not experiencing that “hit” consistently is important too.
Nutrition Management for Alcohol Withdrawal
Managing your diet and finding the time to cook healthy meals every day can be extremely difficult while you’re also combating the effects of alcohol withdrawal.
Despite this, nutrition for alcohol recovery is a crucial and non-negotiable part of the process. We would highly recommend discussing this with your loved ones, as your family, friends or partner may be willing to take over your day to day meal planning in order to help with this.
We have full-time nutritionists on staff and can build out complete meal plans to help you with this, and most good clinics should do the same thing.
To learn more about the part food plays in overcoming alcohol addiction, as well as more tips on which foods to avoid, take a look at our post on the top 10 best foods to eat when detoxing from alcohol.
Are you struggling to go this alone?
Do you need that little extra bit of help to get yourself back on the road to a free, fulfilling life?
We offer the UK’s best home detox programmes, meaning you can overcome alcohol addiction from the comfort of your own home with access to:
- Alcohol detox medications
- GP consultations
- 24/7 helpline
- Fitness instructors and nutritionists to help keep you healthy
- Nurses, therapists on call at all times
- Guidance on local support groups and NHS resources
To begin your road to recovery, contact us now to discuss how we can help!