When we quit drinking it can be daunting at first.
But what if I told you there were certain foods that could help you if you’re newly sober?
If you’re staying sober then you may have noticed you’re probably paying more attention to what you eat. This is because when you drink to excess you don’t tend to feel hungry because the alcohol has ‘filled’ you up.
So not only do you have to rebuild your physical defenses, you’ll have to get back into the three-meals a day routine.
Not only can foods give newly sober people a much-needed extra boost and a way to fix their daily routine but they can serve as a mental distraction.
If you feel like you really want a drink, it really pays to focus your mental and physical energies into whipping up some delicious and nutritious meals.
Now for the 5 foods that can give you a healthy boost during your road to sobriety!
1. Vitamin B rich foods to kickstart your energy levels
Alcohol is vitamin B’s worse enemy, as it can block your body’s ability to absorb it. Vitamin B converts food into fuel for your body – so it’s essential especially if you’ve just stopped drinking. It helps combat fatigue, maintains healthy nerve cells and builds those all-important red blood cells.
Some of the very best vitamin B-rich foods you can use in meals include:
- Cashew nuts
- Seeded bread
So a simple breakfast of poached eggs on seeded bread or a Greek salad for lunch can go a long way!
2. Feel-good bananas
Looking for an all-purpose superfood snack? Bananas are your answer! They naturally increase the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin – especially helpful if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps. They’re packed full of iron and can also regulate blood sugar, which can make you feel more alert and ready to face the day!
Don’t like bananas? Sunflower seeds can also boost dopamine levels, as well as provide a fantastic source of magnesium, copper and vitamin E – perfect for healthy bones and the immune system.
The point is that different foods can cause different moods. So if you eat poorly then this could greatly affect your mood. So, as a result, you could ‘fall off the wagon’ much more easily. It’s best to stick to foods that encourage serotonin and dopamine production.
3. Chicken and fish for long-lasting alertness
We all need protein in our diets – but even more so if we’re trying to stop drinking. Protein releases energy slowly, so you feel filler for longer. These healthy proteins can improve the quality of your sleep, keep your brain more active and, as a result, boost your mood and outlook in general.
The same goes for fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna – they’re full of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which is mood booster in itself! Omega-3 fatty acids can help sharpen the mind, which can only be an amazing thing if you’re trying to kick the drink!
If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you may be thinking “But what about me?”
Don’t worry – there’s plenty of omega acids in flaxseed and walnuts, as well as rapeseed oils and leafy green vegetables!
4. Carbs for cravings
A little-known fact is this: half the reason we crave alcohol is down to carbs.
All alcoholic drinks are full of carbohydrates…empty ones at that! We crave the carbs from alcohol because they’re digested quickly, and your body thinks it’s full. But there’s a clever way to trick your body into satisfying the ‘alcohol’ cravings…
Brown rice, wholegrain pasta and wholegrain bread. I’m serious – it helps!
These foods contain complex carbs, meaning they take longer to break down so you’ll feel full and energized for so much longer. Complex carbs are chock full of fiber too, so it can help smooth out your digestive system (unlike alcohol, which can play absolute havoc with your stomach).
5. Healing with hydration
I know liquids are not necessarily a food, but I think it’s very important to mention them.
Of course, we all know water is the greatest liquid in the world, because it keeps our bodies working like well-oiled machines. Water improves digestion, helps us sleep at night, flushes away toxins and so much more.
But I think it’s worth mentioning other drinks too! This is the prime time to play around with different beverages – especially herbal teas:
- Moroccan mint tea (refreshing and energising)
- Peppermint tea (calm and soothing)
- Green tea (antioxidant and protects immune system)
- Ginger and lemon (treats nausea and soreness)
- Valerian root or chamomile (helps aid sleep and combats anxiety)
You can buy most of these teas in tea bag form, but there’s just something magical about the ritual of making tea from loose leaves!
A quick heads-up about caffeine
If you’re newly sober then it’s a good idea to stick to just one cup of coffee a day. It may be very tempting to replace alcohol with coffee but that can have a profound affect on your recovery.
Coffee can give you the initial ‘hit’ or ‘buzz’ while you remain sober, but there’s also the issue of blood sugar levels spiking then crashing very quickly. This can alter your mood and even increase stress levels, meaning a newly sober person could be more likely to reach for an alcoholic drink.