Alcohol detoxification, or ‘detox’ as it’s known to those in the know, can be a challenging period for anyone. During this time of withdrawal from alcohol, the body can be vulnerable and susceptible to symptoms that vary from person to person. While many might not know it, there are food items you can eat during this time to aid the process and minimize any discomfort.
The best way to detoxify is to gradually allow your body the best possible chance at fighting the addiction and give yourself a greater chance of success. The first thing anyone wanting to detox should do is speak with his doctor or physician about the process. Doctors may prescribe medicines that can help reduce any discomfort felt during withdrawal.
Detoxifying from alcohol doesn’t need to be complicated. It requires time and patience, but with proper assistance from professionals like Jackson House Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers.
What Types Of Food Are Best For Detox?
It’s highly advisable to eat food rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy nutrients. Because the body is going through a lot of stress trying to recover from alcohol addiction, you’d want to make sure you include the best food items possible in your diet.
Some food can specifically help ease this difficult time of adjustment. You can incorporate the following ‘detox-friendly’ food into your diet during the early days of recovery:
1. Food High In Fiber
Fiber is essential during any type of detox because it helps keep you full, promotes regular bowel movements, and relieves constipation. Many food choices are high in fiber, but here are some top selections:
- Prunes: Not only are prunes high in fiber, but they’re also low in calories and fat. They help supply vitamin A to your body for good eyesight.
- Fruits: All fruits contain fiber, but apples, pears, and oranges are particularly high in fiber. These fruits come with various incredible benefits, from vitamin C to antioxidants.
- Beans: Beans are another great detox-friendly food that’s full of fiber and protein as well as many other vitamins and minerals. All beans are good for the body, but lentils, black beans, and kidney beans contain the most fiber.
- Vegetables: Veggies like green beans, broccoli, and cabbage are great for detox because they’re high in fiber and low in fat.
- Whole grains: Whole grains, like wholemeal bread, brown rice, and ‘stoneground’ bread, contain more nutrients than processed grains and supply extra fiber.
- Flaxseed: This is a particularly beneficial food for detox because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Flaxseed oil is also high in vitamin E, which is good for your skin.
2. Food High In Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that assists the body with metabolizing carbohydrates for energy. During alcohol withdrawal, you may experience low magnesium levels, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.
Magnesium-rich food can help you recover by bringing your magnesium levels back up to a normal level. Here are a few sources of this mineral:
- Spinach: An excellent source of vitamins K, A, C, and B6, as well as plenty of minerals and fiber, spinach is a great detox choice.
- Whole wheat: Not only will whole wheat bread help you get your daily dose of magnesium and B vitamins, but it’s also high in antioxidants to heal the damage done by alcohol consumption.
- Bananas: Bananas are not only a great source of potassium and vitamin C, but they also contain magnesium.
3. Food High In Vitamin B6
Vitamin B has eight types, and each one assists the body with different bodily functions like converting food into energy and boosting the immune system. Vitamin B6 is one type of this vitamin that can help reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, by assisting with serotonin production.
- Salmon: Vitamin B6 is present in all types of fish, but salmon has an exceptionally high content of this helpful nutrient.
- Chicken: Chicken thighs are very high in vitamin B6 as well as niacin and selenium, which are also good for detoxing your body during alcohol withdrawal.
- Bananas and Avocados: Both of these tasty fruits are high in vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber.
4. Food High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C assists the body in boosting immunity and repairing cells. Without enough vitamin C during alcohol withdrawal, your body may feel tired and weak, and you may feel nauseous. Luckily, there are plenty of options available that are high in this helpful vitamin:
- Oranges: Not only are oranges high in vitamin C, but they also contain the antioxidant quercetin, which has been proven to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Peppers: Sweet peppers are particularly high in vitamin C, while green peppers are high in fiber and vitamins A and B6.
- Red Peppers: Red peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C, and potassium, which is known to relieve stress by countering the effects of cortisol release.
5. Food High In Vitamin K
Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, making it a must-have nutrient if you suffer from heavy alcohol consumption. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin K during a detox, it can lead to bruising and bleeding and cause your blood to become excessively thin, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
- Lettuce: The darker the lettuce, the more vitamin K it contains; red leaf lettuce is high in this nutrient.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is also high in fiber and vitamin A while containing a good amount of vitamin K.
- Cauliflower: Like broccoli, cauliflower is also high in vitamin K, fiber, and other helpful nutrients. This cruciferous vegetable is also a good source of vitamin C.
6. Food High In Folic Acid And Thiamine
Folic acid and thiamine prevent anemia and help the body heal from alcohol abuse.
- Asparagus: Asparagus provides folic acid, vitamin B6, iron, and manganese.
- Yeast: Yeast is packed with thiamine, which helps keep the nervous system healthy.
- Brown Rice: Brown rice is high in thiamine and fiber, which helps prevent stomach aches and constipation.
7. Food Rich In Iron
Iron is vital for the body, particularly during alcohol detox as it helps prevent anemia. It’s also necessary to produce red blood cells and enzymes that help break down alcohol within the liver.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate has a good amount of iron and antioxidants that can help heal the damage done by alcohol consumption.
- Organ Meats: Organ meats, especially liver, are a great source of iron and B vitamins, which can help soothe withdrawal symptoms.
- Grass-Fed Beef: Grass-fed beef is high in iron and contains B vitamins and amino acids.
7. Food High In Calcium
Not only is calcium excellent for strengthening bones, but it’s also essential for regulating the nervous system, which can prevent stress and anxiety during alcohol withdrawal.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Kale, collard greens, and turnip greens are high in calcium and magnesium.
- Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, and cashews are all good sources of calcium as well as healthy fats that your body needs while on the road to recovery.
- Tofu: Tofu is an excellent source of calcium and protein, making it a great food to eat during alcohol withdrawal.
8. Liquids To Keep You Hydrated
During alcohol withdrawal, the body will be going through many changes, and one of them will be the loss of fluids. Alcohol itself acts as a diuretic, so you urinate more often than usual. To reduce fatigue and weakness, it’s necessary to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Water: Water is the best liquid to drink to rehydrate yourself during alcohol withdrawal because it’s calorie-free and has no additives.
- Tea: Tea is another great option for staying hydrated; you can sweeten the tea with honey or agave nectar high in antioxidants to help your body heal faster.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water contains plenty of potassium to calm your nerves while keeping you hydrated.
9. Probiotics, Enzymes, And Fermented Food
Lastly, it’s important to include probiotics, enzymes, and fermented food in your detox diet for your body to feel refreshed. Antioxidants found in these types of food will help restore the nutrients that alcohol has stripped from your body while also reducing feelings of nausea and bloating that can occur during withdrawal.
- Probiotics: These are ‘good bacteria’ in the intestinal flora and digestive system. When taken daily, they can help regulate bowel movements and speed up recovery time after drinking too much alcohol.
- Kimchi: Kimchi is a traditional Korean food made from fermented cabbage and radish with spices; it’s loaded with probiotics.
- Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is another option to get natural enzymes into your diet. It’s made of finely cut cabbage that has been fermented.
- Miso Soup: It’s a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans and is a tasty source of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a popular Indian food spice containing curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can help speed up the detox process.
Food To Avoid During Alcohol Detox
Not everything is safe for your diet during alcohol withdrawal. If you’re experiencing symptoms of delirium tremens, you need to avoid the following at all costs:
- Sugar: Sugar has been proven to increase anxiety levels, making alcohol detox symptoms even worse. Thus, it’s best to steer clear of sugar until you’re feeling better.
- Milk: Milk contains casein, a protein known to break down into casomorphins during digestion. These casomorphins, like opiates, can worsen the withdrawal process.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is another stimulant, and although it will temporarily relieve some of your anxiety and stress, it’s best to avoid it during alcohol detox.
Cravings Are Only Natural
Although it’s essential to maintain a healthy diet during alcohol detox, it’s also helpful to know why you’re craving a certain food. Cravings are only natural when going through the withdrawal process, but they can be controlled by making better food choices. If you’re experiencing cravings that are too tough to resist, then try drinking some water or eating an apple to get your mind off of the unhealthy craving. Although it can be rough at first, eating healthy during alcohol detox will help you feel better in no time.
To avoid withdrawal symptoms, it’s crucial for you to gradually reduce your alcohol intake before quitting completely. If you’re drinking excessively daily, then cut back to just weekends, for example, so that the adjustment isn’t too difficult. Although alcohol detox can be uncomfortable, it’s not impossible to overcome. By making better food choices, you’ll ease the feeling of discomfort while speeding up the process. Furthermore, by opting for healthier food, you’ll be giving your body exactly what it needs to heal. Thus, you can get on with your life without the need for alcohol.