A Comprehensive List Of Healthy Foods That Help With Alcohol Cravings
Resisting alcohol is a daily challenge that requires strength and determination. Even with the right tools at hand, alcohol cravings always run rampant and need to be subdued.
Luckily, there are many useful ways to manage these cravings and live a happy, prosperous, and sober life. It all starts with the healthy food you put in your body.
Surprisingly, your diet plays an important role in how your cravings for alcohol are maintained.
Healthy foods that are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals are essential in the recovery process because they help the body keep sugar and alcohol cravings at bay.
Which Foods Reduce Alcohol Cravings?
Alcohol cravings can present itself for countless reasons.
Triggers may occur by the association of places, situations, and people — making it critical to establish a routine in one’s life. While one’s environment plays a large role in their ability to recover from alcohol addiction and maintain cravings, their body also has a critical role to play.
Sugars found in drugs and alcohol boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
When these chemicals skyrocket, individuals will experience enhanced feelings of pleasure. However, once the supply of alcohol is stopped, the body’s sugar levels will tank and try to rebalance itself by telling the brain that it’s craving unhealthy foods that are rich in processed sugars.
Many individuals don’t realize the sugar cravings they are experiencing are due to their detox from alcohol and vice versa. Just like your alcohol cravings, your sugar cravings need to be properly maintained and not indulged in, as there are countless negative benefits from consuming too much sugar — type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The best way to combat these cravings is by treating it with a strong and healthy diet.
It’s important to keep in mind that cravings happen, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about because everyone experiences them in their own way. It’s a normal component of the recovery process. Cravings can pass on their own and typically last for 10 to 15 minutes if you tweak your diet right and maintain your strength.
Even on the darkest days, never forget that recovery is possible and that these cravings won’t stand a chance against your strength and determination. To help you throughout this important battle, we’ve compiled some of the best foods to add to your diet that offer plenty of nutritional benefits.
Here are 5 foods that actually reduce alcohol cravings:
Chicken and Fish (Protein!)
Protein is an important source of long-lasting energy that helps function throughout the day. Your body needs protein in order to stay healthy, work properly, and improve your overall quality of life.
Protein also plays a critical role in carrying oxygen throughout your body and in your blood. This allows your body to produce antibodies to fight off infections and illnesses while creating new healthy cells. With the right balance of protein in one’s diet, many individuals experience a boost in their mood, increased sleep quality, and better immune systems. Protein provides the body with countless health benefits, but did you know that it can also help keep alcohol cravings at bay?
Importantly, protein helps reduce alcohol cravings by carefully stabilizing the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in the brain and body. This organic chemical influences your mood, motivation, and feelings of reward while regulating body movement. A healthy and balanced diet that incorporates protein is an excellent way to manage and regulate proper dopamine levels and kick alcohol cravings to the curb — especially in the early stages of recovery.
To help reduce your alcohol cravings, consider adding protein-rich foods to your diet. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey breast, and fish are fantastic options that offer plenty of versatility in cooking. In addition to protein, fishes like tuna, salmon, and mackerel are optimal ‘brain-food’ and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and polyunsaturated fats. Together, these elements allow your brain to function properly and stay alert throughout the day. Other excellent sources of protein include chickpeas, black beans, and tofu. If you are a vegetarian, it’s essential that you research the right supplements to help support your unique diet. Protein is a vital component to the body, so you’ll want to increase your bean, legume, and multivitamin intake.
If you find that you’re struggling to suppress your cravings for alcohol, you may want to try adding healthy portions of protein like fish, chicken, and turkey breast to your diet.
Nuts and Nut Butters
They may be small, but nuts are packed with healthy fats, protein, and nutrients that make for a fantastic snack when you need a little pick-me-up or quick solution to manage your hunger for the time being. Nuts and nut butters are a popular snack to take on the go because their high fat content — don’t worry, it’s the healthy kind of fat — naturally helps curb appetites and cravings, including alcohol cravings.
Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews make for a delicious treat and tasty butter spreads. In addition to their healthy fat levels, nuts are also rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Together, these nutrients promote good heart health, healthy cholesterol, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The vitamin E commonly found in nuts also allows for healthy skin, hair, and a strong immune system.
Nuts are also an excellent source of protein and contain amino acids and magnesium that help the production of dopamine. As mentioned before, balanced dopamine levels help to improve memory, counteract depression, and contribute to healthy weight loss. It also helps individuals resist impulsive behaviors and stop self-destructive tendencies — two of the many qualities that derive from addiction.
If you’re new to recovery or are in need of different ways to reduce alcohol cravings, nuts and nut butters are the perfect snack. Their high fat and caloric content convert into energy that will keep you running on all cylinders, while their rich nutrients will help you maintain a well-balanced diet. Nut and nut butters offer plenty of versatility and can be used for spreads on your breakfast toast, an additive to your mind-day smoothie, or a quick snack to give you that needed end-of-the-day boost. Of course, it’s important to monitor your intake of these tasty snacks, as your body needs certain nutrients in moderation.
Dairy products are another prime option that helps control alcohol cravings. Low-fat dairy options like cheese, milk, and yogurt provide excellent sources of protein, vitamin D, and potassium — all of which work together to provide your body with that “full” feeling.
Dairy products also play an important role in replenishing the body with essential nutrients. Far too often, individuals who go through addiction treatment experience significant deficits in essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients; specifically, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), iron, and calcium.
Luckily, various dairy products can replenish these deficiencies, as they are rich in vitamin B2 and vitamin A. Some dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese even contain probiotic bacteria cultures (good bacteria) that can renew your gut lining — allowing for improved mental health, good heart health, and a properly functioning digestive system.
Additionally, the calcium found in dairy serves a dual purpose. While it helps reduce alcohol cravings, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps soothe symptoms of chronic pain, which is highly beneficial for individuals who have struggled with opioid addiction in the past.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and veggies are a necessary staple in every diet. However, for individuals in recovery and managing their alcohol cravings, fruits and vegetables play a very critical role.
Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, figs, and strawberries, and veggies like brussel sprouts, broccoli, and carrots are high in fiber and provide countless health benefits.
A healthy intake of fiber helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and promotes quick digestion — both of which contribute to the reduction in alcohol cravings.
When individuals experience alcohol withdrawals, their brain severely lacks proper levels of dopamine. Unfortunately, long-term alcohol use has negative effects to this important hormone by causing normal levels to fall.
In turn, eating fruits that can raise dopamine levels is critical. Not to mention, fruits provide that sweet satisfaction to sugar cravings that go hand-in-hand with alcohol withdrawal. Fresh fruits are so versatile and are filled with a plethora of health benefits for one’s diet. Fruits also contain natural sugars like fructose that offer the body a boost of energy and strengthen the liver and immune system.
Like fruits, fresh veggies and leafy greens are abundant in vitamin B levels which, as mentioned before, is a vitamin that is sorely needed by individuals who have taken part in prolonged alcohol use.
Leafy greens like spinach also contain amino acids, which are known to decrease both sugar and alcohol cravings.
Adding ideal portions of fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great way to curb alcohol cravings and replace and replenish the vitamins that are sorely lacking in those in recovery.
Whole Grain Foods
Whole grain foods play an important role in subduing alcohol and hunger cravings. Alcohol is typically converted to sugar once the body starts breaking it down, which causes these intense cravings. However, foods with complex carbohydrates help to slowly metabolize those sugars and, ultimately, kill sugar cravings for longer periods of time. Healthy and balanced blood sugar levels are critical in the recovery process.
Many whole grain foods contain the complex carbohydrates that are vital to those who are working on their recovery from alcohol. Since complex carbs take more time to break down after consumption, individuals are able to feel fuller with prolonged energy levels.
Carbs should always be eaten in moderation, but healthy options like whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta are useful in curbing alcohol cravings.
In addition to the benefits of complex carbs, whole grain foods also contain excellent levels of protein (great for dopamine), unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. The fiber in whole grains like rice, quinoa, barley, and faro, keep one’s digestive system running properly and contributes to healthy gut flora (good bacteria found in probiotics).
When selecting whole grain foods, be sure to keep your eye on their ingredients list. Some foods will contain extra sugar that is unnecessary — try to avoid those options.
How To Stop Alcohol Cravings? – Conclusion
Recovery is a long battle that requires a strong support system and a healthy environment to ensure sobriety.
Although the desires and cravings for alcohol will never truly go away for good, there are plenty of ways to subdue those negative thoughts and intense desires. You’ll be surprised how much your diet will assist with your recovery from alcoholism.
There is a myriad of healthy and delicious foods that help with alcohol cravings.
After years of alcohol abuse, your body will experience vast deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients — requiring those in recovery to completely revamp their diets and create a new lifestyle that supports healthy eating habits. Your metabolism and nervous system will need a complete reset, and there’s no better way to do so than with nutrient-rich foods.
In some cases, it may be ideal to take supplements and multi-vitamins as recommended — this is especially important for those who are new to the recovery process and are experiencing extreme deficits in their diets.
At Find Addiction Rehabs, we understand the importance of establishing new habits and healthy diets while working the steps of sobriety. Most importantly, we understand the need for a strong support system during this process. Our team of professionals is here for you.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, give us a call today. We can provide you with rehab, detox, and recovery resources that are tailored to your specific needs. You are not alone in this journey — help is always available.