Nutritional considerations for a ‘dry January’
For those considering a ‘dry January’ there are lots of things you can do nutritionally to support this goal. As alcohol is increasingly linked to the onset of many negative health conditions there is no better time to give yourself some time off.
The first thing you will need to do is replenish the nutrients that alcohol is known to deplete; starting with folate. We get folate in our diet primarily from spinach, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce but other foods also contain folate such as liver, kidney, beans, beetroot, bran, peanuts, avocado, banana, wholemeal bread and eggs. In foods that are boiled, folate can be destroyed so avoid boiling for too long (try steaming instead).
Alcohol is also known to affect the absorption of vitamin B6 and B12. B6 is essential for chemical reactions that result in the breakdown of proteins in the body and a lack is associated with a feeling of weakness, sleeplessness, personality changes, skin conditions and reduced immunity. B6 is widely available in foods such as meats, whole grain products, vegetables, bananas and nuts but it can be lost in the refining process so is lower in white bread and white rice.
B12 is needed for making use of protein and helps the blood carry oxygen in the body and is therefore important in energy production. Drops in B12 can be linked to low energy and dull hair and skin conditions. The best sources of B12 are shellfish, fish, meat (particularly liver), eggs, milk, cheeses and yoghurt. B12 is notoriously difficult to absorb and therefore requires healthy levels of stomach acid to kick off the process.
The key thing to remember with foods and nutrients is that the complex interactions between all the chemicals in the body are not fully understood and therefore currently there is no one single solution. This means that the best approach is to aim for a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet and this will help you achieve optimal health and bring your body back up to strength after a period such as Christmas and New Year. Stopping alcohol intake for a month can help and may be the kick start you need to reduce your overall intake across 2018. Seeking the help of a qualified professional to help with getting that nutritional balance is not only a great start but can provide the support you need to make the changes really last.
Check out my website (www.adamlloydwellbeing.com) for details about how I can help you improve nutritionally. I look forward to hearing from you.
Take care, Adam.