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Alcohol Use Disorder: Nutrition During Recovery

Recovering from alcohol misuse means forming new, lifelong habits, including ones related to nutrition. Proper nutrients are key to your overall health. Good nutrition also helps your brain rework old connections and make new ones. That’s called neuroplasticity. Alcohol and drug misuse interrupt these connections. This can make it hard to stay away from alcohol while you’re trying to get better.

Alcohol use disorder impacts your health in different ways:

  • You don’t feel hungry.
  • You choose less nutritious foods.
  • Your blood sugar dips.
  • You suffer organ damage.
  • You have digestive problems.

Damage to your liver and pancreas from heavy drinking can lead to imbalances in your body. Here’s a look at what’s usually missing and how you can replace them:

  • Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid). A lack of vitamin B9 can trigger anemia and make you weak, tired and moody.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine or thiamin). Too little could eventually cause serious learning and memory problems, a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome.
  • Vitamin B6Not getting enough of this vitamin can lead to anemiadepression, confusion and a weak immune system. 

Certain foods can help rebuild your brain’s ability to grow and evolve during recovery. These include:

  • Carbohydrates;
  • Amino acids; 
  • Dietary Fat; and
  • Fatty Acids.

Additional tips to keep in mind during recovery and after can include:

  • Eat three meals a day. Early in recovery, your body will need to readjust to the feeling of hunger.
  • Watch out for food cravings. The changes in brain chemistry that can lead to alcohol cravings can also cause you to long for food.
  • Drink lots of water. Try to drink around eight glasses each day.

Remember, you aren’t alone on the journey to recovery. Your doctors and nutritionist will likely work together to help you get better, andhelp get your eating back on track by coming up with a meal plan just for you.

To access the full article on nutrition during alcohol recovery, click here.