Foods That Help With Alcohol Cravings
Alcohol cravings are similar to hunger urges that vary in intensity and symptoms. The American Psychological Association reports that alcohol cravings happen as a physical response to internal and external cues. These could be the pleasant memories of drinking or the scent of alcohol. Cravings can be triggered by associations with people, places, and situations. Or you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms and are looking for an escape from unpleasant feelings of depression or anxiety.
Surprisingly, nutritional balance is important in reducing alcohol cravings and other side effects of withdrawal such as:
- Low energy
- Loss of sleep
- Digestive issues
- Bowel disturbance
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How To Stop Alcohol Cravings Naturally
Complex Carbohydrates: Breads, Pasta, And Rice
Foods that contain complex carbohydrates are important for reducing the sugar cravings tied to alcohol recovery. Low blood sugar, or glucose levels, can cause a craving for alcohol. If your body is used to drinking excess alcohol it may crave alcohol as a quickly available form of fuel. Consuming simple carbohydrates like sugar and processed foods make your blood sugar levels rise quickly, causing a sugar rush. But then the sugar levels drop which brings on the cravings.
However, complex carbohydrates digest slower and your blood sugar level remains steady, allowing you to have energy longer and helping curb alcohol cravings. Choose complex carbohydrates such as:
- Whole grain pasta
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
Bananas, Peas And Leafy Greens
The B vitamins are very important in alcohol recovery and reducing cravings. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this group of vitamins provides you with:
- Energy to fight fatigue
- Helps with the production of red blood cells for proper brain and heart functions
- Helps to correctly metabolize nutrients during digestion
Choose snacks with bananas and raisins or eat a salad full of greens such as:
- Romaine lettuce
- Broccoli and
- Oranges and grapefruits
Chicken, Salmon, And Dairy
Protein is necessary for maintaining the health of your muscles and tissues as well as restoring harmony to the neurotransmitters in your brain that affect mood, sleep, and digestion. Therefore, a healthy recovery diet includes an increased intake of protein including:
- Baked, grilled, or broiled chicken
- Fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Low-fat milk
Try to avoid fatty red meats initially because this might cause high cholesterol and problems with your blood pressure.
Fruits And Vegetables
Fill in your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Plant-based foods are full of fiber which helps your body maintain a stable blood sugar level, which helps curb alcohol cravings. Additionally, these foods help support your immune system and protect your liver.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps replace necessary vitamins that your body loses through malabsorption (when your body isn’t able to take in many of the nutrients from the food you eat). Fresh vegetables like spinach and parsley and fruit are good sources for L-glutamine which can:
- Fuel your brain cells
- Decrease anxiety
- Reduce cravings
- Improve sleep
Talk to a doctor before taking a glutamine supplement because an accumulation of ammonia in the blood could happen if you have cirrhosis of the liver.
There is evidence that certain natural supplements may help suppress alcohol cravings:
If you have chronic alcoholism, you might need specific nutrients such as thiamine for recovery. It’s a B vitamin that is often deficient in people with long-term alcoholism.
According to research done on animals, the herb, kudzu, may be beneficial in controlling alcohol cravings.
Since alcoholism can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals, supplementing some nutrients may help with cravings:
- Vitamin C
- Amino acids: (Carnitine, glutamine, and glutathione)
The Effects Of Alcohol On Nutrition
Many alcoholics will consume a lot of their daily calories from alcohol, resulting in fewer calories from nutritious food sources. This means that there will be fewer vitamins and minerals consumed.
Alcohol and nutrition interact at many levels. Heavy consumption of alcohol can interfere with normal nutrition. This results in overall malnutrition or in deficiencies of necessary micronutrients.
What’s A Micronutrient?
Micronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in small amounts compared to macronutrients that are needed in large amounts. For example, vitamins, minerals, and proteins are all nutrients that humans need. However, proteins are needed in larger amounts than vitamins. Therefore, vitamins are considered micronutrients. Even though they’re needed in small amounts, they are crucial in the normal and healthy condition of an organism. Restoring nutrition is one of the most important features of many inpatient programs.
What Are Cross Addictions?
By definition, addicts are dependent. When they become abstinent, they develop cross-addictions. That is, they substitute another addiction. Neuroscience research has shown that when an addict stops their primary addiction and adopts another addiction, it is at the same level as the one they gave up. Besides the physical reasons, a cross-addiction means that the addict hasn’t done the emotional recovery work to heal themself.
To take care of the issue of cross-addiction, some important things to remember are:
- Stay connected– to professionals through therapy or life coaching, especially in times of stress.
- Changes in behavior–many cross addictions are not to substances, but behaviors.
- Listen to friends and family–be open to what friends, family, and coworkers say and get help to avoid cross addictions.
Little Creek Lodge For Your Total Health
Little Creek Lodge is a men’s recovery facility in the woods of Lake Ariel, PA. Our programs are designed to help you or someone close to you regains your health and overcome your addiction to alcohol or other substances. Don’t try to do it on your own. Our trained and experienced addiction specialists can help you through it safely and successfully. Contact us today.