Many people start feeling the health benefits of quitting alcohol within the first few days or weeks, like more energy, clearer skin, less bloating, and a healthier gut. As your body heals, you may find yourself struggling with food cravings, such as a severe sweet tooth, feeling ravenously hungry, or not having any appetite at all. Many alcoholics may suffer from malnutrition, also – even if you gained weight while drinking, alcohol is mostly empty calories, so while your body gets calories, it’s not getting the vital nutrients that your organs need.
A balanced diet, with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and plenty of water, can help your body and mind heal faster, so follow these tips for a healthy recovery diet.
Hydrating Foods, and Plenty of Water
Chronic dehydration is another common health concern for many recovering alcoholics. Getting enough water, and eating water-rich foods like melon, soups, tomatoes, and squash improves your hydration and makes it easier for your kidneys and liver to process toxins out of your body.
Hydrating also reduces inflammation and bloating, especially while detoxing from alcohol. It also improves your mood and can make you less irritable or snappish. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try flavored sparkling water, or adding water drops to your water bottle.
High Quality, Lean Protein
Your body uses protein to repair itself, such as repairing damaged muscle tissue after a workout, or healing from the malnourishment and other damage from alcohol abuse. Getting plenty of protein each day provides your body the building blocks it needs to repair organ damage. Lean protein, like fish and shellfish, poultry, lean beef, or protein-rich dairy like Greek Yogurt is an essential part of a recovery diet. Getting enough protein also helps lift some of the fatigue and “brain fog” of early recovery.
Fresh, Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables
If you are having serious sugar cravings, try eating fruit instead of candy or ice cream. Many fruits are rich in water, to help hydrate you, and many other essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, when you eat whole fruits, instead of drinking fruit juice, you also get plenty of dietary fiber which can help restore gut health.
If you don’t think you like vegetables or fruit, or don’t know where to start, try one or more of these:
- Leafy greens
- Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- Crunchy veggies like carrots or beets
- Citrus fruit
Complex carbohydrates like sweet potations and whole grains provide the energy your body needs to function. Avoid simple carbohydrates, like white bread or processed sugar, as eating too much causes your blood sugar to spike, then crash. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, stabilize your blood sugar and give you a steady release of energy throughout the day. Try some of these in your diet:
- Brown rice, quinoa, and whole grains
- Whole wheat bread and pasta
- Beans and legumes
Healthy Dietary Fat
Healthy dietary fat, like that found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, contains essential fatty acids that are vital to your brain. Your brain is comprised of fatty tissue, so providing healthy fat gives your body what it needs to heal brain damage from alcohol abuse. And, eating the right balance of good fats helps you stay satiated longer, so you may not have cravings as intensely. Try adding some of these to your diet:
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
- Salmon, tuna, and mackerel
Do You Need Alcohol Addiction Rehabilitation?
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