An individual suffering from alcohol dependence who attempts to quit or cut back will likely experience withdrawal syndrome to some degree. Symptoms related to withdrawal may include depression, anxiety, shakiness, headache, nausea and vomiting, and insomnia. If you are seeking professional addiction treatment or are currently undergoing alcohol detox at home, eating healthy foods can increase your chance of success.
Those who have alcohol or drug addictions often experience a loss of appetite or have a poor diet in which their bodies aren’t getting enough vital nutrients. Moreover, whether a person is detoxing at home or a rehab center, proper hydration and nutrition are essential for reclaiming one’s health.
While detox facilities such as Just Believe Detox offer patients healthy food options, no one can force you to eat properly. However, neglecting to do so can result in an intensification of withdrawal symptoms and cravings for substances.
It’s also important to mention that although the acute withdrawal phase only persists for a few days, fully adjusting emotionally and physically to life without alcohol can take much longer. For this reason, maintaining healthy eating habits can help stave off cravings and help a person remain in a better mental state to cope with stress and triggers that might otherwise initiate a relapse.
What Is HALT?
“HALT” is a useful tool often used in rehab programs and by an individual in recovery. This acronym stands for the physical and mental states hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. It is based on the concept that when someone’s basic needs aren’t met, the ability to enact good choices is impaired.
Hunger must be sated healthily. By not fulfilling your body’s nutritional requirements, you may lose the capacity to function up to your potential. Also, being hungry and tired are closely related, and not eating properly can result in fatigue, which can prompt cravings for junk food and high-calorie meals.
Habits That Help With Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
If you’re going to undergo an alcohol detox, as noted, a fundamental rule is to avoid sugary foods, especially those with processed sugars. You should also avoid having meals with high fat content. Although we all need certain carbohydrates that are high in fiber, it is also recommended to cut down on carbs as well, including bread (especially that which is refined) and pasta.
It is wise also to manage salt intake and consume plenty of water. If you find this difficult, you can drink sparkling or flavored water or add a wedge of lime or lemon to the water to give it more flavor.
Fruits and Vegetables
Due to containing high amounts of fiber, fruits and vegetables digest more slowly and may stave off hunger more effectively than other foods. Also, people detoxing from alcohol often have sugar cravings. This is because alcohol use can affect blood sugar levels significantly. Fruits contain sugar, which can help satiate sugar cravings and may be healthier alternatives to other sweet foods. Experts have suggested that bananas, oranges, pears, raspberries, and strawberries are among the most beneficial.
Carbohydrates are vital for recovery, as they provide both fiber and energy, which individuals undergoing detox may be lacking. While refined grains (such as white bread) also have carbohydrates, they are less than ideal in the long-term. Whole grains consist of more fiber and can result in feelings of fullness and are less likely to cause digestive problems.
During detox, many alcoholics have little appetite or difficulties with digestion or keeping food down. Low-fat proteins high in fiber can help them feel fuller and positively impact energy and mood and reduce the risk of relapse. Such foods include fish, skinless chicken or turkey, and lean beef products.
Extended, heavy alcohol use often results in a lack of vitamin B, so it is important to replenish it in the body’s supply. Vitamin B supplements can be used, although it is recommended that individuals undergoing detox also eat foods high in vitamin B, which include whole grains, meat, eggs, and dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits, and dark, leafy vegetables.
Several minerals are beneficial for alcohol detox. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Calcium – An adequate amount of calcium is critical for strong bones and teeth. Dairy products such as milk often contain plenty of calcium. Eating leafy greens like chard, spinach, and kale can also be beneficial for the withdrawal process.
Iron – We all require iron as fuel to send oxygen throughout our bodies. Chicken, beans, tofu, and lentils are all high in iron.
Magnesium – Magnesium is especially important for nervous system and muscular health. To ensure you are getting enough, eat healthy brown bread and cereals high in fiber, as well as a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Zinc – Zinc is a nutrient essential for healing that helps boost the immune system and can be found in red meat, such as beef. Nuts and beans also contain significant amounts of this very important mineral that helps with body repair.
Finally, it should be stressed that proper hydration is especially important for a person withdrawing from alcohol because it is a substance with dehydrating properties. In a clinical setting, individuals undergoing detox may be administered water through an IV and are encouraged to drink lots of fluids to promote hydration. If you are detoxing at home (not recommended), you should follow this advice, as well.
Getting Treatment for Alcoholism
Just Believe Detox Center offers medical detox in a safe, comfortable environment facilitated by caring, highly-skilled health and addiction professionals. We are dedicated to ensuring that each individual we treat receives the very best, most effective care and support available.