Alcoholism is the only known disease to affect the entirety of the body’s systems and cells. It affects the digestive, cardiovascular and circulatory systems alongside a number of organs, including the liver and brain. Because alcohol does not expel toxins and steals nutrition cells, it is not uncommon for alcoholics to become malnourished. As such, proper nutrition is vital to the recovery process in order to address the damage enacted from excessive drinking. When partnered with routine exercise, and an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center, a healthy diet works to aid the body’s nutrient processing from food intake.
Foods that are high in healthy carbohydrates and proteins have been shown to inhibit alcohol cravings.
Begin taking a daily multivitamin supplement that includes folic acid and B-vitamins. Steer clear of beverages and food items that contain sugar and caffeine during the initial recovery period to avoid mood swings.
Choose foods that contain tyrosine and amino acids tryptophan. Not only will these items promote a positive emotional state, but healthier mentality overall. Good tyrosine sources include meat, tofu, poultry and seafood. Look to sunflower seeds, milk, turkey and bananas for tryptophan.
The Food Pyramid
Six groups make up the United States Department of Agriculture’s Basic Food Group Pyramid. Get your daily dose:
1 – Oils and fats, including safflower, canola, olive and corn oil. Olives, peanuts and almonds are all wonderful options. Opt for margarine or mayonnaise sans trans fat.
2 – Vegetables, including asparagus, carrots, beans, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and broccoli.
3 – Fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, avocados, pears, melons, berries, apples and grapes.
4 – Healthy whole grains, including tortillas, bulgur, brown rice, cereals, oatmeal and 100% whole grain breads.
5 – Milk products. Choose skim or low fat milk, and opt for nonfat yogurt, cottage cheese and other dairy products. Swap the Swiss, cheddar and other high-fat cheeses for mozzarella.
6 – Fish, poultry and meat. Add albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and salmon – packed in water or fresh – to your diet. Choose skinless chicken and turkey. Eggs are for special occasions. Cook your beans with a batch of rice or in a soup!
Healthy snack options are everywhere! Try air popped popcorn w/o the butter, pretzels, fresh fruits and low-fat yogurt. Purchase a batch of fresh veggies and dig them in low-fat dressings or salsa. Low-fat puddings, mozzarella and apples, and fresh fruit juices are all wonderful for the recovering alcoholic. Avoid junk foods at all costs! These items offer little to no nutritional value and rob the body of energy. Fresh food for a fresh start!