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ALCOHOLISM

FOODS THAT HARM

Alcohol in any form

FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Legumes
  • Whole grain or fortified and enriched grain products
  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Dairy products
  • Spinach
  • Kale

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • About 17
    6 million Americans and 4 to 5 million Canadians
  • Children of alcoholics are two to seven times more likely to become alcohol dependent
  • Lifetime alcohol dependence is greater among whites and males Alcoholism is defined as chronic drinking that interferes with one’s personal, familial, or professional life
    While an occasional drink is not likely to be harmful, it’s important to recognize that alcohol is easily abused
    Various factors can foster alcoholism
    Genetic predisposition, learned behavior, and childhood experiences, including abuse, are all thought to foster alcoholism
    Progression of the disease varies from one person to another
    For some, it develops as soon as they begin to drink
    For most people, it progresses slowly from periodic social drinking to more frequent indulgence until the person is addicted
    Chronic overuse of alcohol takes a heavy psychological and physical toll
    Alcoholics often do not appear to be intoxicated, but their ability to work and go about daily activities becomes increasingly impaired
    On average, alcoholism shortens life expectancy; it raises the risk of other life-threatening diseases, including cancer of the pancreas, liver, and esophagus
    Women who drink heavily while pregnant may have a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome or birth defects
    HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO BECOME AN ALCOHOLIC? Your gender and the amount you drink influences the likelihood of becoming an alcoholic
    If you’re a man who has 15 more drinks a week, you’re a woman who has 12 or more or you have five or more drinks at one sitting at least once a week, you’re at risk for becoming alcohol dependent

    Nutrition Connection

    Alcoholism can lead to malnutrition, not only because chronic drinkers tend to have poor diets, but also because alcohol alters the digestion and metabolism of most nutrients
    There is no one diet for all recovering alcoholics, so these guidelines focus on overall well-being: Eat a healthy, balanced diet
    Take small steps to include colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread, and lean protein such as fish and skinless chicken breast
    Ask doctors about supplementation
    Supplements can be prescribed to treat certain nutritional deficiencies
    Common deficiencies among alcoholics include thiamine, which is marked by muscle cramps, nausea, appetite loss, nerve disorders, and depression
    Deficiencies of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and selenium are also common
    Also, legumes, whole grain or fortified and enriched grain products, lean meat and poultry, nuts, mushrooms, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are good sources of these vitamins and minerals
    Add calcium
    Many alcoholics are at risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis because they suffer from deficient levels of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium
    Dairy and dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are good sources of calcium

    Beyond the Diet

    Recovering from alcohol dependency is difficult, but these measures help take the edge off: Exercise regularly
    It helps decrease stress and releases endorphins, which helps boost your mood and outlook on life
    Cope with stress in healthier ways
    Dependence on alcohol may start as an emotional crutch for handling stress
    Meditation, yoga, or other breathing or relaxation techniques are encouraged
    Lean on support networks
    Having friends and family who will listen and support you contributes to the recovery process