Recovering from a substance abuse problem, such as alcoholism, requires discipline and commitment to embracing a new, healthier lifestyle. Recovery specialists often use the acronym HALT when discussing recovery; it means that addicts should avoid becoming too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired for best chances of conquering their addictions.
In order to help our bodies heal, we must fuel them with the proper nutrients. Diet can play a key role in recovering alcoholics’ journeys because alcohol affects the body’s ability to metabolize nutrients. Although paying attention to diet and nutrition may be the last thing you want to think about during recovery, it’s crucial in order to help heal from within.
Best Diet for Recovering Alcoholics
While there’s not a specific “best” diet for recovering alcoholics, nutrition is key to recovery. Maintaining good nutrition help people in early recovery stay away from drugs and alcohol. Often, people who are abusing substances are not practicing good nutrition, and in fact may not be eating much at all.
Why do alcoholics stop eating? When in the throes of alcoholism, it’s common for people to lose the ability to recognize hunger. It also may be difficult to eat anything at all during the withdrawal period.
However, it’s important to start eating healthy as soon as detox is complete. Following a healthy diet can help stabilize mood swings while getting sober. Even if an alcoholic does have a relatively healthy diet when drinking, alcohol affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. A good foundation of eating habits can help people in recovery stay mentally and physically strong while fighting their addiction.
Hydration is also incredibly important for recovering alcoholics. Because alcohol dehydrates the body, and the detox period is exacerbated by dehydration, people in recovery need to be extra aware of their water consumption.
Best Vitamins for Recovering Alcoholics
Often, alcoholics’ poor eating habits lead to malnourishment. Heavy drinkers get a large amount of their calorie intake from alcoholic beverages, which have no nutritional value. The most common deficiencies of alcoholics include B vitamins, which help convert food into energy, and vitamin D, which helps bones absorb calcium and helps with bone growth.
A healthy diet full of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, and healthy fats will go a long way toward providing recovering addicts the vitamins and minerals they need. However, depending on the patient, doctors may recommend supplementing various vitamins and minerals.
Are there foods alcoholics should avoid?
Steering clear from sugar is a good idea when in recovery. Because alcohol is high in sugar, many alcoholics turn to sugar and empty carbs in recovery. However, it’s important to know that sugar is also addictive. When you eat sugar, your brain releases the same dopamine rush as when you abuse illicit drugs or alcohol. The crash that follows the sugar high can lead to depression – the exact emotion you want to avoid when battling addiction. People in recovery should also be cautious with caffeine intake. More than one cup of coffee daily can cause a similar rush and crash to that of sugar.
If you or someone you know needs help with a drinking problem, help is out there. United Recovery Project helps people suffering from alcohol abuse every day. As part of your treatment, we can connect you with specialists including nutritionists, who will help aid in your recovery. Contact us today to get started.