Recovering from alcohol abuse is a lot harder than it seems. The biggest challenge comes from fighting withdrawal symptoms. Many alcoholics admit that the greatest struggle in their fight against alcohol abuse is controlling their cravings once they abstained from it. Rehabilitation centers can suggest different treatments to control a person’s crave for alcohol. Surprisingly, proper diet was discovered to also be effective in repressing withdrawal symptoms. Along with vitamin supplements, proper diet can significantly improve a person’s chance of recovering.
To understand the relationship between proper diet and alcohol recovery, it is necessary to learn the basics of nutrition and alcohol’s effect to the body. There is a proven link between sugar and alcohol consumption. Heavy drinkers get almost half of their total calorie intake from their alcohol with the remaining calories from the junk food that comes with it. This unbalanced diet leads to deficiency that causes a domino effect to the body.
The first stage starts in the mid brain section. Healthy brain cells are destroyed, suppressing the body’s need to consume food while increasing the desire to drink more alcohol. The body will continue to function through the calories provided by the alcohol. But this energy source is unreliable since it comes devoid of any nutritional value that is also essential for the body’s upkeep. Lastly, the energy provided by alcohol is short lived, creating a sudden drop of blood glucose level which leads to fatigue, depression and the urge to consume more sugar and refined carbohydrates such as coffee or sweets.
Traditional treatment often encourages the intake of sweets but this method may lead to prolonged cravings, fatigue, anxiety, hormonal imbalance and a likely chance of alcohol relapse. To control the craving means to stabilize the blood sugar levels and proper diet is the key. An effective method is to introduce a diet of complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest therefore providing a longer and more stable source of energy. Good sources of complex carbohydrates are brown and wild rice, oats, amaranth, millet, spelt, beans and lentils. Fibers from fruit and vegetables are also effective in cutting alcohol cravings as well. Protein is also important in the diet. A large intake of protein will help in the repair of damaged organs due to alcohol abuse such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart and brain. Good sources of protein are lean meat, eggs, chicken and fish. To control depression caused by withdrawal symptoms, essential fatty acids from olive oils, flax-seed oil and avocado are also helpful.
As previously mentioned, regular intake of vitamins will increase the success of a person’s recovery. As alcohol damages the body, repairing it with the right nutrition and diet is a basic yet essential part of the treatment.