Eating might be the last thing on one’s mind when the body is undergoing painful process of abstaining from drinking. The procedure is a humongous task, especially for people addicted to alcohol. Moreover, alcohol affects the metabolism and nutritional process of the body making eating an important part of the recovery process.
Recovering alcoholics go through the tedious withdrawal symptoms due to the process of removing toxic substances from the body. However, nutritious food can actually aid in the recovery process and help in replenishing the body with all the essential nutrients that were lost due to heavy drinking. Initially, the diet might be less, but as the symptoms go on an improvement trajectory, the appetite increases and a balanced diet can help in utilizing nutrients.
What constitutes a detox diet?
A balanced detox diet should have a combination of low-fat proteins, whole grains, fruits and green vegetables and fluids as discussed below:
Low-fat protein diets: The University of Maryland Medical Center, as highlighted in an article on livestrong.com in June 2015, says that low-fat diet plans can help alcoholics strive through the detoxification process and augment the recovery progression. The alcoholics who are under detoxification have a loss of appetite initially, but as they regain their normal composure, the appetite increases, sometimes resulting in overeating.
Low-fat foods are generally lighter to the body which help in regulating moods and decrease the probability of relapse. In fact, fat-free dairy products also give strength to the body, aiding the recovery process and can be easily replaced with whole milk products. Foods like fish, skinless poultry and lean beef lessen the fat intake. Protein aids in the diet, but high-protein intake can actually be a hindrance to the recovery process due to the strain that it can have on kidneys and liver.
Whole grains: Whole grains include foods like whole-grain cereal, bread and pasta, oatmeal, oat bran, brown rice and barley. These contain complex carbohydrates which provide energy to the body and are essential elements aiding in alcoholic recovery.
Complex carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used as energy by the body, brain and the nervous system. It gives a feeling of fullness while eating, provides low-fat nutrition and helps in retaining a normal healthy growth of the body, unlike fatty foods.
Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Fiber along with adequate fluid intake can help in rapid digestion as it moves easily through the digestive tract. Fruits like apple, banana, pear, raspberry, orange etc. and vegetables like broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, peas, corn etc. are rich in fiber and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables, such as slices of carrots or celery, make healthy snacks when the urge to drink strikes and helps in the detoxification process.
Fluids: Water is an essential part of the body and excessive drinking can cause dehydration. Drinking water and other liquids helps the body restore fluids that it lost due to alcohol consumption. However, caffeinated drinks should be avoided because it might cause insomnia or nervousness in the recovering patient. Plenty of fluid intake will also help in getting rid of the alcohol toxins.
The National Institutes of Health reported that after alcohol detoxification, patients should eat at regular intervals but consume a low-fat diet. It stated that one should eat after every 3 hours to keep hunger at bay. Alcohol contains sugar and it is not uncanny that after detoxification, a patient may crave sugary substances like sweets or chocolates. However, consuming such products can also increase cravings for alcohol. Only a proper diet plan can help during and after detoxification and help in the recovery process.
However, if you or your loved one wants to break free from addiction and undergo the detoxification process, please consult the Arizona Detox Helpline. You can chat online or call 866-593-8453 for information regarding medically supervised detox. Do remember, a healthy and balanced diet can be the key to your recovery.