Alcoholics Guide to Diet and Nutrition, Detox Herbs and Supplements
DISCLAIMER: This article is for those who admit they have a drinking problem, know they're an alcoholic or are in a recovery process. If you're in denial, this article may not be for you.
Alcoholics are terrible eaters! Reasons range from plain forgetfulness, not enough 'fast food' readily available, buzz kill, weight gain and more. Already prone to serious health disorders (liver problems, etc...) it is important that drinkers, and those in the process of quitting, improve their nutritional habits. By just following a few simple rules and adding a spice of discipline into a daily regimen, an alcoholic can not only vastly improve their health, but perhaps minimize their cravings for alcohol consumption. Here's how:
First and foremost, an empty stomach must be avoided because feeling empty or 'depleted' may be yet another excuse to reach for a drink. Strive to eat at three balanced meals a day with a special emphasis on having a healthy and hearty breakfast. Eating well in the morning gives you mental strength, which may help fight off alcohol cravings later in the day. NOTE: Drinking on an empty stomach is very toxic and dangerous. During these times, all attempts should be made to put food in your stomach.
Avoid caffeine at all costs, especially if you have a hangover or if you've been drinking regularly. The body and nerves of an alcoholic are already jittery and ravaged and taking another drug (caffeine) can do no good. Caffeine abstinence can also help reduce the likelihood of what alcoholics call 'the shakes.'
Since alcohol dehydrates the body, purified, filtered or spring water should be drank as often as possible. One way to know if you're dehydrated is to notice the color & smell of your urine. If your urine is white and odorless then you're probably properly hydrated. If the urine is yellow and smelly, your body is water-deficient. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times or consider buying a water filter to attach to your kitchen faucet.
Try to avoid alcohol induced sleep. Though this may make you fall asleep more quickly, A) You're quality of sleep may suffer, B) You may wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep, C) You may wake up in the morning feeling terrible with a hangover, or D) All of the above. NOTE: Don't forget to relieve yourself in the bathroom before sleep. This may help prevent waking up unnecessarily in the middle of the night.
Using Supplements To Combat Alcoholism
If not eating enough food is a problem, it may be a good idea to invest in some vitamins, and take them regularly. Generally, all B-Vitamins, Vitamin-C, and all-in-one formulas are considered good for the alcoholic's body.
Minerals are a great way to replenish what alcohol has taken out of you. Extra Magnesium (even better if combined with Calcium) should be taken daily during bouts of alcoholism, and during the recovery period. Magnesium is generally considered safe, even at higher dosages. To help keep cravings minimized, also take Zinc and/or Selenium on a daily basis.
Alcohol cravings may be reduced by taking a daily high dose of the amino acid Glutamine. GABA has also shown promise to treat your alcohol cravings as well as symptoms associated with withdrawal.
If it's body detoxification you're looking for, herbs have a long history of benefiting the recovering or current alcoholic. Here are a few suggestions:
When taken daily, Milk thistle extract and/or Dandelion root both may benefit the drinker by providing protection to the liver from alcohol toxins. This is important for drinkers since liver disease is frequently attributed to excess alcohol abuse. Similarly, taking daily guarana, artichoke or grape seed extract may help prevent liver cancer and other bodily damage from past alcohol abuse.
While treating alcoholism is complex at many levels, eating better may be the one best thing you can have self-control over while in the midst of a drinking problem.