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The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery

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Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Nutrition has become an increasingly predominant factor for health in the world today, ranging from the battle against obesity to improved cognitive abilities. There is now also significant research into the relationship between nutrition and addiction recovery which demonstrates the positive impact of nutrition in recovery for alcoholics and drug addicts. What you are putting into your body may ultimately affect how well you cope with your illness, and how quickly you are able to regain some balance in your life.

The Impact of Nutrition In Recovery

As a recovering addict, your body needs all the help it can get to detox and heal properly. There is a strong correlation between alcoholism and nutritional deficiencies, as toxic substances put a tremendous strain on the body.

 The most common, severe symptoms of this strain are

  1. Poor organ function
  2. Vitamin deficiency
  3. Gastrointestinal problems

Proper nutrition for recovering addicts is vital for successful healing.  

Additionally, nutrition in addiction recovery can impact how much energy you have, whether your blood sugar level is up or down, how much serotonin or melatonin your body is producing, and a number of other factors which can dramatically affect how you feel. When you are tired, sad, angry, or depressed, you may find it more difficult to avoid triggers. Similarly when you feel upbeat, have more energy, and are happy, it will be easier to cope with addiction.

Now that we’ve established the need for proper nutrition in addiction recovery, join Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, as we take a closer look at what to eat when detoxing from drugs in order to help your body recover from addiction, vitamin deficiency, and organ damage.

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Best Recovering Alcoholic Diet

The best sobriety diet for someone undergoing an alcohol detox program is well-balanced and includes plenty of whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. It is also extremely important to stay well hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins and also protects you from craving unhealthy substances. Below, we have outlined the various food groups that contribute to healthy and balanced bodily functions, with examples of which foods contain them.

1. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals help boost your immune system and support proper cell growth throughout the body. Some important vitamins and minerals are:

  • Vitamins A, D, E, K, and C
  • Vitamin B group
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Some good options to combat vitamin deficiency due to addiction include:

  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Kale

2. Protein

Think of protein as the building blocks for every part of the body, from helping build muscle to hair and skin growth. Eating enough protein is critical to maintaining good nutrition in recovery. You can get your protein intake from a variety of foods, such as:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

3. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates give you energy and help with your digestive system. It is important to eat whole grains rather than white flour products in order to maximize full nutritional benefits. Some sources of nutritious carbohydrates include:

  • Whole grains, such as rice, pasta, bread, and cereal
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes 

4. Fatty Acid and Fat

Fats are often assumed to be unhealthy, but it’s important to differentiate between different types of fats. Unsaturated fats are helpful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and absorbing nutrients. Some good sources of healthy fats are:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Salmon
  • Seeds, such as flaxseed and chia seeds

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Research Into Nutrition And Addiction Recovery

We know that what we consume has an impact on us. The use of addictive substances can alter the human brain over time. The converse is true as well – eating a healthy diet allows our bodies and brains to function properly, which is why good nutrition in rehab is so important. Studies show that populations with healthier diet habits have up to 35% lower rates of depression [1] compared to groups with unhealthy eating lifestyles. Taking care of yourself is always important, but even more so when battling diseases, including alcoholism and addiction. There has been a lot of research on the strengthening qualities that nutrition plays in mental illness and cognitive ability, demonstrating the importance of nutrition in recovery.

Upcoming Research

Drugfree.org [2] has revealed that there have been new grant proposals from leaders in the industry of healthcare and addiction care, such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, to study the relationship between nutrition and alcohol addiction. The seriousness of this link has grown to such proportions that even the National Cancer Institute has gotten on board along with the Office of Dietary Supplements to begin animal and human studies in this field.

How To Plan Your Nutrition In Recovery

Industry experts have expressed that it is important to always consult a professional counselor or physician if addiction is suspected or if you are considering treatment for recovery, and this also holds true for making drastic changes to your nutritional habits. Choosing a diet for addiction recovery may not seem like a big deal in the moment, but the state of your nutrition in recovery could have a big impact on how you feel and how well you cope with treatment. It’s therefore advisable to consult with your doctor before taking on a new diet.

Finding the Balance With Avenues Recovery

Although recovery from addiction is challenging, it is an extremely rewarding process enabling a better future. If you or a loved one are seeking more information about nutrition in recovery, contact us today. Our trained professionals will assess your individual situation and recommend the best diet for your needs. At Avenues Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs and extensive resources to help you on your journey to sobriety. You can live a life free from drugs or alcohol – take the first step today!

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Sources

[1] health.harvard.edu

[2] drugfree.org

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