Types of Food to Eat When Detoxing From Alcohol
Author: Thomas Roth
Last Updated: 6/02/2022
Detoxing from alcohol takes time but the key is to remain hydrated. While hydration provides you with a foundation for good detoxification practices, adding nutrient-dense foods into your diet can also help with alcohol detox. That said, you need to make sure that you’re eating the right foods. In fact, a few small changes to your diet can increase alcohol detoxification rate and make the experience more pleasurable.
Moving on, alcohol reduces levels of vitamins and minerals in the body, so you want to consume food and beverages that contain these essential nutrients. Furthermore, alcohol causes changes in blood sugar and blood pressure, which can cause harm to the body. There are several types of food that you can incorporate into your diet to reduce these effects. We’re going to take you through several foods to eat when detoxing from alcohol.
We’ll begin with fruits. Fruits are high in fiber and digest slowly in the body, which can reduce cravings and keep you satiated. There are also fruits like apples and strawberries that are high in sugar, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Another benefit of consuming fruit is that it can satisfy cravings for sweets. When someone stops drinking alcohol one of the symptoms is a craving for sweet things like candy and other high-sugar foods. The brain wants these foods to balance blood sugar levels and to produce dopamine that’s not being produced from alcohol. For many people, having fruits that are high in sugar like berries and oranges is a great way to satisfy that craving.
A secondary benefit of eating fruit when detoxing from alcohol is that fruits contain a lot of water. A great example of a water-filled fruit is the watermelon. Watermelons and other melons are loaded with water, so each bite is refreshing and aids with hydration levels. With a balance of sugar, fiber, and water, fruits are one of the best types of foods for alcohol detox.
Vegetables are similar to fruits in many ways. However, the key difference is that vegetables have more protein and fiber. Some vegetables are also high in vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin D. Vegetables are also healthy for many other reasons. They provide antioxidants that can aid in heart health, brain function, and many other bodily functions. Another benefit to eating vegetables during alcohol withdrawal is that people feel more full and are less likely to binge eat in response to cravings.
The best vegetables to eat during alcohol withdrawal are leafy greens that are high in fiber and antioxidants. Some examples of vegetables that have these benefits include spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and some types of lettuce. When detoxing from alcohol vegetables should be a staple of your diet, so leave room for them on every plate you can.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains are another great type of food to eat during alcohol detox. Alcohol causes a deficiency in vitamin B, which leads to various problems with memory and energy levels. Having low levels of vitamin B can also lead to negative health effects that influence kidney function. When going through alcohol withdrawal, replenishing these lost nutrients is important and consuming foods that are high in carbohydrates is a great way to restore lost energy and vitamin B.
Some of the best grains to eat during alcohol detox include oats and other whole grains. Brown and white rice are also great choices of grain because they can replenish gut bacteria that keep the stomach healthy. Unfortunately, abusing alcohol reduces the amount of this healthy bacteria in the stomach because of its toxic properties, so whole grains can help you restore them.
4. Foods That Are High In Vitamins
Foods that are high in vitamins are important to eat when detoxing from alcohol. Alcohol is a harmful substance that leads to a reduced amount of vitamins and minerals in the body. These vitamins can be replaced with foods that are high in vitamins like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and fish. Some great examples of foods to eat that are high in vitamins include oranges, spinach, chicken, red meat, and milk. You can also choose to consume nut-based milk like almond milk for more calcium and potassium.
While there are many vitamins to replenish during alcohol detox, the most important is vitamin B. Vitamin B is responsible for healthy brain function, and without vitamin B the brain can become damaged over time. Replenishing vitamin B with foods like salmon and beans can repair the brain and other organs that are affected by alcohol abuse.
5. Foods That Are High In Minerals
Minerals are another thing that the body needs to function properly. When someone abuses alcohol the number of minerals in the body decreases. For this reason, alcohol consumption can lead to mineral deficiencies. Some of the common mineral deficiencies caused by alcoholism include reduced levels of iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Having reduced mineral levels in the body causes symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, weight loss, muscle loss, and even some mental health issues.
Still, many foods are high in minerals like potassium and iron. Fruits like bananas are a great source of potassium, while red meat like steak is an excellent source of iron. Other foods that have a good amount of minerals include salmon, spinach, broccoli, and chicken. Replenishing these minerals can help people feel better and more energetic during alcohol detoxification.
6. Nutrient-Packed Liquids
Nutrient-packed liquids are another great way to replenish vitamins and minerals during alcohol detox. Consuming nutrient-packed liquids can help the body restore electrolytes, maintain hydration, and heal from alcohol abuse faster. That said, some nutrient-packed liquids are better than others and some nutrient-packed liquids can be harmful to the body. One example is that nutrient-packed liquids that are high in salt can increase blood pressure and lead to negative health effects.
The good news is that there are plenty of nutrient-packed liquids that can aid in alcohol detoxification. Some great choices are things like Gatorade, Body Armor, green tea, other herbal teas, and even coffee. Consuming beverages that contain vitamins and minerals can keep you hydrated and speed up recovery at the same time.
7. Healthy Snack Items
There’s no shame in having a snack and having healthy snacks can help you reduce alcohol cravings. Because alcohol detoxification places stress on the body, it’s common for people to crave sugary foods like cake and cookies. However, snacks like cake and cookies that are high in sugar can increase blood pressure, make you feel lethargic, and even result in depression. Furthermore, consuming unhealthy snacks can lead to weight gain. Gaining weight has many negative health effects on the body that include heart problems, knee problems, digestive issues, and fatty liver disease.
While you should avoid eating unhealthy snacks during alcohol detoxification, we recommend consuming healthy snacks. Healthy snacks are great because they can reduce cravings for unhealthy food and alcohol. Just make sure you choose snacks that are high in calories, protein, and other nutrients. Some great snack choices include peanuts, dark chocolate, low-fat ice cream, and popcorn. If you’re a fan of potato chips and other crispy snacks, we recommend switching that out with popcorn because you can eat more for more nutrients and fewer calories.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a type of pepper that you can add to many meals and snacks. Adding cayenne pepper to meals and snacks can help with some of the less comfortable side effects of alcohol withdrawal and detox. This is because cayenne pepper can help with vomiting, nausea, and upset stomach. Cayenne pepper can also impact gut bacteria and promote healthy gut bacteria, which is often damaged when alcohol is abused.
Cayenne pepper also releases capsaicin into the body. Capsaicin is known for suppressing appetite and can even release endorphins that feel similar to endorphins released after exercise. Endorphins are essential for alcoholism recovery because they contribute to serotonin production and help the mind heal from alcohol-related damage. Cayenne pepper can be added to soups, stews, juices, and even some meat and poultry.
Electrolytes are essential when it comes to alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal. When someone abuses alcohol electrolytes are reduced, which leads to deficiencies in potassium, salt, and other minerals. Replenishing lost electrolytes helps with dehydration and restores mineral levels in the body, so consuming beverages that are high in electrolytes is important.
To regain lost electrolytes we recommend consuming sports drinks and other beverages that contain electrolytes like salt and potassium. The best choices include Gatorade, Poweraid, Replenish (7/11 store brand), and Pedialyte. There are also electrolyte additives that you can add to water. Also, some teas like green tea contain electrolytes.
Water is one of the most important things to consume when detoxing from alcohol. Depending on how severe alcohol withdrawal effects are, the proper amount of hydration can be the difference between severe symptoms of withdrawal and mild symptoms of withdrawal. Hydration with water is important because alcohol is a diuretic, which forces the body to urinate frequently. Frequent urination reduces the amount of water in the body and leads to dehydration.
When detoxing from alcohol there’s no set amount of water you’re required to drink. That said, many addiction professionals suggest consuming at least 1.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight can aid in recovery from alcohol and drug detox. Replenishing water in the body also makes it easier for your body to manage symptoms of withdrawal and recover faster. Remember, hydrated organs function better than dehydrated organs.
What Are the Foods to Avoid While Having Alcohol Detox?
There are several foods to avoid during alcohol detox. Primarily, foods that are high in fat, grease, and sugar can make alcohol withdrawal worse and even lead to another addiction. For many people, replacing food with alcohol during alcohol withdrawal can lead to poor eating habits that lead to negative health consequences later in life. In other words, replacing alcohol with foods that are high in sugar and grease can create another addiction.
Below are the most important foods to avoid when detoxing from alcohol.
- Non-diet soda
- Candy bars
- Large quantities of caffeine
- Fried foods
- Fast food
- Some types of ice cream
Consuming junk food and foods that are bad for you can also lead to an increased risk of depression and other mental health issues. The result of these issues can lead to reduced serotonin and makes people more likely to turn to alcohol and other substances for relief.
Why are B vitamins so important while trying to quit drinking?
Vitamin B is important when trying to quit drinking because consuming alcohol frequently reduces the number of B vitamins in the body. Having a reduced amount of B vitamins leads to adverse health effects that can damage the brain and other organs in the body. Some of these health effects include a reduced amount of serotonin, energy, and poor memory function. By consuming foods and beverages that are high in vitamin B you can begin to heal from a vitamin B deficiency that’s caused by alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. Foods that are high in vitamin B include leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, salmon, chicken, eggs, and lentils.
Is Tea Good for Alcohol Withdrawal?
Yea is good for alcohol withdrawal; it’s also a great replacement for alcoholic beverages. Tea is good for alcohol withdrawal because it has many hydrating properties and can replenish minerals like L-theanine and potassium. One of the best teas to consume during alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal is green tea. Green tea has antioxidants like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that protect the liver from cell damage. According to many studies, consuming at least two cups of green tea per day can help the body replenish antioxidants that are lost from alcohol consumption and aid in alcohol withdrawal.
There are also additional benefits that come with drinking tea. When consuming tea people report feeling “tea drunk,” which includes improved mood, brain function, energy, and more rational thoughts. Consuming tea can also replenish serotonin and improve the mental state of people who are going through alcohol withdrawal.