Alcohol withdrawal is different for everyone, and can last anywhere from a few days to an entire week. However, the detoxification stage (when your body is ridding itself entirely of alcohol) can last well after the end of the withdrawals, continuing for a few weeks. As with most instances in life, your body will respond accordingly based on what you put into it during this stage. When detoxing, you’ll likely be told that first and foremost in importance is water. Hydration is important in general, and especially when withdrawing from alcohol as the body is adjusting to less fluid intake than typical. But certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to the discomfort of withdrawals and detoxification. The following foods can aid in the detox process.

Fruits and vegetables

Due to their high amounts of fiber, fruits and veggies will digest quickly. Additionally, people withdrawing or detoxing from alcohol may often crave sweets. Fruits contain sugar, which can fulfill the craving for something sweet while not weighing too heavily on the person’s stomach since appetite tends to decrease during the detox stage. According to, some go-to fruits and veggies include raspberries, pears, oranges, strawberries, bananas and figs.

Whole grains

Carbohydrates are vital for recovery, as they provide fiber and energy, which the detoxer may be lacking. Of course, refined grains such as white bread also offer carbohydrates for energy, but are a less healthy option in the long-run. Whole grains contain more fiber, resulting in feeling fuller and not causing the body any digestive issues.

Anything 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, broccoli, asparagus, and romaine lettuce.

Proteins low in fat

Many alcoholics in detoxification will have a decreased appetite or simply be turned off by food, but foods high in fiber will help them feel full. Proteins with low fat content are ideal because they positively affect mood and energy, leading to less chance of a relapse. Such foods include fish and lean beef.

Cayenne pepper

Though it may not sound appealing, adding cayenne pepper to foods can reduce alcohol cravings and increase appetite. This is beneficial because in detox, appetite’s are often suppressed and vital nutrients are not received. Cayenne pepper can also aid in decreasing alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as nausea. Though being sure to eat these foods during detox won’t ensure smooth sailing, they will likely ease the discomfort and cravings that accompany the detox stage.  

Sources: Haas, Elson. “Nutritional Programs for Alcohol Detoxification.” Global Healing Center. 29 May 2016. “How To Detox From Alcohol – Home Remedies.” The Organic Beauty Expert. 1 September 2014. 29 March 2016. Shaw, Jerry. “Foods to Detox the Body From Alcohol.” Livestrong. 21 June 2015. 29 March 2016.
Written by: Beth Leipholtz Beth is a newspaper reporter and graphic designer from Minnesota who writes about the realities of getting sober young. Follow her on Twitter.

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