Written by: Carly Benson
As an avid traveler, yogi, and confessed self-help junkie, Carly writes about her adventures in life and sobriety on MiraclesAreBrewing.com where she offers inspirational concepts for enlightenment.
Cleansing our bodies seems to be all the rage lately. From diet cleanses to juice cleanses people are learning how important it is to clear harmful, everyday toxins from our bodies. Pollutants land inside our systems from the food we eat, what we drink, and the environments we live in.
For someone who has been heavily drinking or using drugs, they will likely have higher amounts of toxins in their bodies. This can make the detoxing process a rather dreadful experience if not managed properly.
Just as cleansing the body is beneficial to the average person, it can be even more advantageous for someone who is detoxing from drugs or alcohol.
“Food is a crucial medicine in restoring the balance of health. The sooner a newly-sober person feels great, I’ve found, the sooner he or she will begin to accept a life free of crippling attachments to substances — the life they are truly are meant to live.” – Maura Henninger N.D., Huffington Post
Nutrition can play a major role on the road to recovery, as it can help speed up the healing processes inside the body as well as support or lessen the effects of withdrawal during a drug or alcohol detox. Let’s take a look at some of the foods and vitamins that are essential during a drug or alcohol detox:
According to an article published by LiveStrong, “Deficiencies in minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, can occur from drinking too much alcohol for a long period of time.” So, it is important to replenish the body by taking vitamin and mineral supplements during detox. Getting plenty of A, D, E, K, and B vitamins, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and iron are fundamental supplements as the body recovers from being malnourished.
Most people don’t consider fruits and vegetables as sources of complex carbohydrates. However, they are excellent sources of fiber to fuel our bodies with. Fiber has been known to help reduce alcohol cravings. Not only that, but people who are recovering from substance abuse often crave sugar. Fruit is a healthy way to curb these cravings.
Protein aids the body in repairing tissues, as it repairs at a cellular level while working to restore some of our vital organs. This is important during the early stages of recovery because prolonged substance abuse can severely damage organs. Organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart and brain all need to go into repair mode upon detoxing. Protein also plays a significant role in blood sugar stabilization, which can help fight cravings. Healthy sources of protein can be found from eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts.
No matter what you may be detoxing from, combating dehydration will be an essential part of the process. Be sure to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. This will not only aid in keeping the body hydrated but also assists in flushing toxins from your system.
Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which can be an important food for detoxing because these kinds of foods provide energy for the body. The best complex carbohydrates can be found in brown or wild rice, oats, beans, and lentils. These fiber-rich foods move more slowly through the digestive system, making them a steady source of energy.
These fats and oils provide essential absorption of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. They are necessary for delivering essential fatty acids into the body, which can lead to depression when deficiencies are present. Sources of healthy fats include avocado, coconut oil, flaxseed, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
Natural foods such as algae can play a massive role in helping rid the body of toxins as well as provide energy. The most common types of algae are spirulina and chlorella. According to Dr. Mercolla, “Chlorella goes into your intestine and binds to the toxins that are released when you are detoxing. It will bind irreversibly to the toxins and be safely excreted when you have your bowel movement.”
Excessive sugar consumption causes persistent cravings, lethargy, anxiety, and chemical imbalances. It also often creates a new type of addiction for people in recovery.
It overstimulates the central nervous system, and this can lead to anxiety and insomnia, both of which can be detrimental to a successful detox and recovery.
The reason being is the liver has to work much harder to break down preservatives and chemicals found in these types of foods, and you want to allow the liver to rest as much as possible during detox and early recovery.
Although eating well can help you have a more successful detox experience, there are still substances that can be dangerous to detox from by going at it alone. Contact us today to learn more about our medical detox program and to understand if detoxing in a medical facility is the best route for you. We have medical professionals ready to answer your questions and walk you through the process.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.