Eating may be the last thing you’ll want to think about when it comes to alcohol detox, but it’s an important part of the process. Alcohol has a direct connection to your body’s ability to metabolize certain nutrients, so it’s crucial to begin feeding your body with the nutrients it requires to heal properly.
It may be difficult to eat any food whatsoever during the initial stages of your detox. As your symptoms improve, however, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that will help to bring your body back into functional harmony. Below we cover what kinds of foods, minerals, and vitamins you’ll want to include in your diet during and after an alcohol detox.
1. Focus on Hydration
During the initial stages of alcohol detox, staying hydrated is incredibly important. The beginning stages of alcohol withdrawal will normally induce some of the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
All of these symptoms will worsen if you’re also dehydrated. Since alcohol actually dehydrates the body, you’ll have to work twice as hard to ensure you give yourself a steady supply of water. Even if you have no appetite, try to drink water to help flush your body of toxins.
2. Eat Soups and Liquids During the Initial Detox
When you first start your alcohol detox, which usually lasts anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, it might be difficult to keep food down. Don’t force yourself to eat heavy meals, even if they are healthy. Instead, focus on eating soups and other liquids to give your body some level of sustenance.
If you’re preparing the soups yourself, make sure they contain plenty of vegetables. Lean sources of protein, such as beans, poultry or fish, can also be beneficial. You can also drink teas and fruit or vegetable juices to continue giving your body nutritional support.
3. Include Vitamin and Mineral Support
Many people with alcohol use disorder have a variety of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Alcohol inhibits your body from effectively absorbing nutrients, including B vitamins. B vitamins are crucial for converting food into usable energy. Common detox foods that contain B vitamins include eggs, nuts, leafy greens, milk, beans, and fortified whole grains.
Other fat-soluble vitamins that you might be lacking include:
- Vitamin A (found in fish, carrots, and milk)
- Vitamin D (found in fortified milk and fatty fish)
- Vitamin E (found in almonds, nuts and vegetable oils)
- Vitamin K (found in olive oil and leafy greens)
It’s important to include an alcohol nutrient program during your detox in order to help your body heal and recover more quickly.
4. Implement a Balanced Diet
Since alcohol is heavy on sugar, it’s common for people in alcohol detox to crave sugary snacks and sweets. Try to minimize your consumption of low-quality foods in favor of healthy foods that support you on your road to recovery. Even if you were a relatively healthy eater while you were drinking, alcohol still impairs your body’s ability to utilize and digest important nutrients.
A well-balanced diet includes plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein like fish and poultry, whole grains, nuts, beans and low-fat dairy. It’s also important to include healthy oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil.
If you’re choosing a treatment program to assist in your alcohol detox and recovery, it’s important to look for a program that includes nutritional assistance and behavioral change as part of the program. This will help to speed up your recovery and ease your transition to a newly sober life.
If you are ready to begin a life without substance use, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs and recovery plans that can work well for your situation.
Firth, Gina. “How Alcohol Affects Nutrition and Endurance.” University Counseling Center University of Notre Dame. Accessed June 1, 2020.
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