At BeClink, we’ve discussed some of the negative effects alcohol can have on your body, why you should try the no alcohol challenge and even what to expect when you stop drinking alcohol. There’s no doubt about it: if you want to live a healthier lifestyle, giving up alcohol can be a huge step. However, if you strive to live an alcohol-free life, there can be one big challenge—the cravings.
As you give up alcohol and clear it out of your system, cravings can make it incredibly difficult to get alcohol completely off your mind. Depending on your alcohol consumption patterns beforehand, you might even experience symptoms of withdrawal and detoxification. At this point, cravings can be extremely challenging, and might even feel downright impossible to overcome. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can combat cravings, one of which being with food. Today we explore these options with five different foods that reduce alcohol cravings.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
As alcohol leaves your system, fruits and vegetables are a perfect food option.Due to their high amounts of fiber, they help maintain a stable blood sugar level, digest quickly and further curb your alcohol craving. Fruits in particular can satisfy your cravings for something sweet, while not adding on any extra weight. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in nutrients, which strengthen your immune system and protect your liver, both of which can be negatively impacted from drinking alcohol. By filling your daily diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, you can help curb that initial alcohol craving, while also replacing essential vitamins and preventing vitamin deficiencies.
2. Whole Grains
Complex carbohydrates found in whole grains are vital to the recovery process from alcohol. Drinking causes your blood sugar and glucose levels to drop, which further induces your craving for alcohol. When you consume carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose in the blood and used as energy, which raises glucose levels and reduces the cravings for alcohol. While simple sugars, such as candy, potato chips or even white bread, can also increase blood sugar levels, they ultimately lead to a sugar rush and eventual crash, resulting in a stronger alcohol craving later on. Instead, whole grains, wheat and bran provide long-lasting energy, while also offering necessary vitamins and minerals. Ultimately, your blood sugar levels stay steady, which helps keep your alcohol cravings under control.
3. Protein-Rich Foods
According to Livestrong and the University of Maryland Medical Center, a healthy recovery diet from alcohol also includes increasing your protein intake. Choose proteins with low fat content in order to positively affect your mood and energy, helping to decrease your alcohol cravings. These include foods such as fish, lean beef and baked, grilled or broiled chicken. Avoid fatty red meats which may cause high cholesterol and blood pressure problems, and focus on lean meats that are high in protein and low in fat to reduce your cravings.
SFGate quotes Dr. Domenic Ciraulo of Boston Medical Center and states, “... alcohol causes a chemical imbalance in the brain involving the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.” Consistent alcohol consumption can causes your dopamine levels to fall, which leads to an increase in craving for alcohol and requiring larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effect. Combat these alcohol cravings by choosing foods that are high in dopamine, such as bananas and sunflower seeds. Dopamine-enhancers like turkey, avocado and nuts can increase your dopamine levels, thereby reducing your alcohol cravings.
5. Cayenne Pepper
Finally, though it might not sound very appetizing, adding cayenne pepper to your food can also reduce your cravings for alcohol and increase your appetite as you wean alcohol out of your life. During detoxification, appetites are often oppressed, so our bodies no longer receive vital nutrients. Cayenne pepper helps to decrease alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, and increase your overall appetite. This reduces your further cravings for alcohol, and can help you consume other foods to move you through the process of dealcoholization.
Living an alcohol-free lifestyle is a great step in improving and promoting your overall health. However, getting there can be a challenging process, particularly if you experience strong cravings for alcohol. Try out these five foods to help reduce your alcohol cravings, and see how you can enjoy a life living alcohol-free.