When detoxing, hydration is key. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification.

Article at a Glance:

  • Diet plays an important role when detoxing from alcohol, especially when detoxing from alcohol at home.
  • Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and digest quickly into the body during detox.
  • Whole grains, low-fat proteins, and vitamin B-rich foods are recommended while detoxing.
  • Good foods to eat during detox include salmon, broccoli, lean beef, and cayenne pepper.

Best Foods for Alcohol Detox

Withdrawal from alcohol is different for everyone, and it can last anywhere from a few days to an entire week. The alcohol detoxification stage (when your body is ridding itself entirely of alcohol) can last even longer, continuing for a few weeks after withdrawal ends. Fortunately, eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet can help you reduce many of the uncomfortable effects related to alcohol withdrawal and detox.

Hydration

When detoxing from alcohol, you’ll likely be told that drinking water is a vital part of the process. During alcohol withdrawal, the body is adjusting to less fluid intake than usual, which is why hydration is so important during detox. Withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and sweating can also contribute to dehydration, but drinking water can help replenish lost fluids.

Alcohol Detox Foods

Certain foods also have benefits when it comes to the discomfort of withdrawal and detoxification. Foods that can aid in the detox process include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Due to their high amounts of fiber, fruits and veggies digest slowly, which helps regulate blood sugar and hunger levels. Additionally, people researching home remedies for alcohol withdrawal are often surprised to learn they may crave sweets. Fruits contain sugar, which can fulfill the craving for something sweet without weighing too heavily on a person’s stomach since appetite tends to decrease during the detox stage. Fruit is also hydrating and packed with antioxidant vitamins. Good fruits to snack on or blend into a smoothie include berries, citrus, peaches, melon and bananas.
  • Whole grains: Carbohydrates are vital for recovery, as they provide energy and B vitamins that are depleted with heavy alcohol use. Whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole wheat bread are high in fiber, which is good for the gut. Healthy gut bacteria can help support a healthy liver and kidneys — the body’s most important detox organs.
  • Foods containing vitamin B: Prolonged alcohol consumption leads to a lack of vitamin B, so it is important to replenish your body’s supply. Foods high in vitamin B include salmon, poultry, dairy, leafy greens, beans, lentils and whole grains.
  • Proteins low in fat: Many alcoholics in detoxification will have a decreased appetite or simply be turned off by food. Bone broth can be a helpful protein option for those who can’t get food down. For those who can, good sources of protein include seafood, poultry, eggs, soy and lentils.
  • Cayenne pepper: Though it may not sound appealing, adding cayenne pepper to foods can reduce alcohol cravings. Cayenne pepper can also aid in decreasing alcohol withdrawal symptoms like stomach upset, nausea and headaches, and it promotes a healthy gut.
  • Omega-3 fats: Healthy fats reduce inflammation, stabilize mood and improve brain function. Salmon, walnuts, chia and flaxseed are rich in omega-3s.

Although eating these foods during detox won’t ensure smooth sailing, they will likely ease the discomfort and cravings that accompany the detox stage. However, in cases where withdrawal symptoms are overly uncomfortable or potentially dangerous, medical detox may be necessary. These programs are offered at professional alcohol rehab facilities like The Recovery Village, and they help make withdrawal a safer and more comfortable process. Contact us today to learn more about detox and treatment programs that can help you overcome withdrawal and begin a healthier, alcohol-free future.

Related Topics: 
What Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal 
How To Wean Off Alcohol

FAQs

What foods help with alcohol cravings?

Complex carbs like whole grains and potatoes help prevent swings in blood sugar that can trigger cravings. Complex carbs are also needed to make serotonin, which boosts mood and curbs cravings. Amino acids in certain proteins are also used to make dopamine and serotonin, the brain chemicals that most directly influence cravings. Chicken, turkey, soy and pumpkin seeds are good sources of amino acids.

When you crave alcohol, what does your body really need?

Your brain is seeking dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel pleasure. Many things besides alcohol release dopamine in the brain, such as listening to a favorite song, getting a massage or exercising.

Why are B vitamins so important when withdrawing from alcohol?

B vitamins are involved in many processes that are essential to a successful recovery, and they’re often depleted in people who have been drinking heavily for a long time. B vitamins help the body make energy and play a role in the production of serotonin, and they are essential for healthy nervous system function.

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Beth Leipholtz
By – Beth Leipholtz
Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. She enjoys writing about her recovery and the realities of getting sober young on her blog, Life To Be Continued, and as a contributing author for The Recovery Village. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for updates. Read more
Jonathan Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Danielle McAvoy
Medically Reviewed By – Danielle McAvoy, RD, MSPH
Danielle is a registered dietitian and the Senior Manager of Nutrition at Territory Foods. She has a degree in nutrition science from Cornell University and a master's in Health Communication from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Read more
Sources

Harvard School of Public Health. “Fiber.” The Nutrition Source. Accessed January 23, 2022.

Kieffer, Dorothy A.; et al. “Impact of Dietary Fibers on Nutrient Management and Detoxification Organs: Gut, Liver, and Kidneys.” Advances in Nutrition, November 10, 2016. Accessed January 23, 2022.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “B Vitamins.” MedlinePlus, November 19, 2021. Accessed January 23, 2022.

Cleveland Clinic. “Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper.” November 30, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022.

Harrar, Sari. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mood Disorders.” Today’s Dietitian, January 2012. Accessed January 21, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.