If you’re addicted to alcohol, the first step toward getting sober involves detoxing and going through withdrawal. Your body was accustomed to the presence of alcohol and began relying on it to function properly. Now that you have stopped drinking alcohol, your body will experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable and dangerous if not treated properly. While you should never detox from alcohol without medical supervision, there are steps you can take at home to alleviate some of your symptoms and start healing your body.
Eating healthy food during alcohol detox can help ease your symptoms and restore your health. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and depression can be managed naturally by eating foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and water. Additionally, getting in the habit of eating healthy food will help you continue to practice healthy dietary patterns in the long term.
The following are 5 foods you should eat while detoxing your body from alcohol:
1. Fresh Fruits
When you are detoxing off of alcohol, it is common to experience dehydration. Eating fruit is a great way to add extra water to your diet. Additionally, many fruits contain fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, making them extra beneficial during the detox process.
While fruits are a great source of water, fiber, and vitamins, it is important not to overindulge in them. Even though alcohol withdrawal can cause sugar cravings, having too much sugar during detox can make your symptoms worse. In other words, fruits are great in moderation.
Fruits you should eat during alcohol withdrawal include:
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains are high in fiber and Vitamin B, which makes them a great choice during alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can cause symptoms of fatigue and nervous system-related issues like mood swings, however, whole grains contain vitamins that boost your energy and are beneficial for your central nervous system. Whole grains also contain carbohydrates, which aid in the production of serotonin and improve your mood and cravings.
Examples of whole grains to eat during alcohol detox include:
- Brown or black rice
- Whole wheat bread or pasta
Like fruits, fresh vegetables are a good source of water, nutrients, and fiber. Vegetables that are high in fiber can provide you with healthy gut bacteria as well as reduce anxiety, irritability, and cravings. This is extremely beneficial during alcohol detox, as your stomach and mood are both affected by the symptoms of withdrawal and alcohol abuse.
Vegetables you should eat while detoxing from alcohol include:
- Leafy greens like spinach or kale
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Red bell peppers
4. Proteins Low in Fat
Alcohol use overloads your brain with dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure. When you quit drinking, your body will experience a decrease in these chemicals, leading to feelings of depression. Because of this, you should eat foods that increase your dopamine and serotonin levels naturally.
Lean proteins contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of dopamine and serotonin. Studies have found that the aromatic amino acids (tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine) are the biosynthetic precursors for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
With that being said, you should consume proteins that are low in fact during alcohol withdrawal. If you do not eat meat, you can have plant-based proteins that contain fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like edamame or lentils.
The best lean proteins to eat during alcohol withdrawal include:
- Soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh)
- Beans and lentils
5. Foods Low in Sodium
While sodium is an important electrolyte, eating too much of it can lead to dehydration. Because alcohol withdrawal already causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which lead to dehydration, you must avoid foods that are high in sodium to prevent further dehydration from occurring.
High-sodium foods to avoid:
- Processed foods
- Deli meats
- Canned beans
- Bottled condiments and sauces
Instead of heating foods that are high in sodium, focus on eating low-sodium foods. These include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Fresh meat
- Most dairy products
- Dry whole grains and beans
- Unsalted nuts
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Last, and most importantly, be sure to consume plenty of liquids, especially water. People who are withdrawing from alcohol often experience dehydration which can lead to headaches and other unpleasant symptoms. Increasing your fluid intake can also help flush alcohol and other toxins out of your body faster so you feel better quicker.
When you begin eating mindfully and focus on consuming nutritious foods, you can reduce your symptoms of withdrawal and begin restoring your physical and mental health. Eating fruits, vegetables, and other good sources of nutrients can reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and cravings. And, don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Eating these foods and staying hydrated can help your body heal faster and get you in the habit of eating healthier.