The Addiction Recovery Special Diet- How Nutrition Is Important For Addicts In Recovery
To maintain healthy recovery from some addictions, you need to pay attention to many things including your mental, emotional and physical health. And this includes nutritional consumption.
By eating right, you are giving your body the much-needed minerals and vitamins it requires. Through this, you can speed up your addiction recovery, restore your energy level, boost your overall health, elevate mood and keep the vital organs well functioning.
Healthy nutrition and recovery from addiction go hand in hand. Thus it is crucial to maintain well balanced and healthy diet and take the least amount of packed foods or the ones loaded with high amount of sugar etc.
So What Should One Eat During Recovery?
The answer is- REAL FOOD
Given a choice between nutritious and addictive foods in early recovery, most addicts will select the rewarding option.
The problem is that the rewarding feeling is generated by the brain and gives the person the illusion that they are taking in what they need.
The reality is that they are stimulating the dopaminergic neural pathways.
And what they need is the diet that is rich in protein, vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and omega three fatty acids.
Most of the addicts will select addictive foods on a daily basis, selecting the food which is rewarding and avoiding the healthier and more beneficial choice. And so the progress of recovery will be really slow.
There are a lot of addiction recovery treatment programs available that allow many foods the patients like in the special diet plans. But at the same time, attention is paid to healthy items that are both nutritious and balanced.
When choosing the right food for addiction recovery, the main focus should not be about what you should not eat; it should be about what all to eat. The addicts can take the services and expert help of a registered dietician to know the addiction recovery special diet as per their needs and body requirements.
Nutrition should be framed as a useful part of the overall recovery process and should not be punitive.
How Does Nutrition Help With Recovery?
Long-term abuse puts high stress on the body and mind of the addict. Proper nutrition can help the body and brain to heal from chronic substance abuse and increase the patient’s odds of staying sober.
Some amazing benefits of a healthy and balanced diet include:
- Better immune defenses
- Improved mood
- Repair of damaged tissues and organs
- Increased level of energy
- Reduced threat of relapse because of depression or fatigue
As an addict, you may get tempted to indulge in foods that you like or the junk items. But this can hinder your process of recovery and make it tough for you to be clean and healthy.
The best way available is to take a nutritious diet that can foster mental and physical health as well as improve your odds for sobriety.
So, what is it that the recovering addicts should eat?
- Fewer refined carbs- Rather than taking these carbs, you should select the whole grains
- Less sugar- Staying away from sugary foods will stabilize the blood sugar level, thus helping with anxiety, depression and mood swings
- More of healthy fats- Good fat helps the body to absorb the fat-soluble So, choose flaxseed oil, Omega 3s and olive oil.
- Less caffeine- Caffeine can aggravate anxiety and insomnia.
- Avoid processed foods- Liver repair is serious in the early sobriety.
- More protein- Amino acids in the proteins serve to be the building block for neurotransmitters that are lacking in the addicts.
- More fiber- Veggies and fruits enable the healing of the gastrointestinal system.
Apart from a healthy and nutritious diet, another aspect is exercise. A lot of treatment centers employ personal trainers and therapists to work directly with people to improve their wellbeing, body image, and overall fitness level.
Many other recovery programs have fitness centers and gym that one can use for maintaining a good body.
A healthy diet along with regular exercising can improve your mood, increase energy, promote self-esteem, repair the organ and tissue damage and alleviate alcohol and drug cravings.
How Nutrition Impacts Recovery
For a lot of teens, self-care gets neglected during drug addiction and even during the recovery phase.
Also, some people with addiction develop different socio-economic problems, making food tough to obtain.
Some people even face demons like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc. all resulting in bad eating habits.
And thus, these conditions are not good for self-care. Moreover, the will to eat may decline over the time. As a result, a lot of addicts suffer from malnutrition.
Teens in the addiction recovery process should start at basics like having three meals a day or eating small meals at frequent intervals. An early change in lifestyle and eating habits will thus allow their body to adjust regularly and have a balanced consumption of nutrition.
Eating well also helps to equip the addicts to resists the substance cravings because their blood sugar level will be steady all through the day. So, an addict recovering from substance abuse is more likely to experience a relapse when they have a bad diet.
On the other hand, a balanced, healthy diet produces the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. And so when the addict feels better, they are less likely to go back to alcohol or drugs.
The addict rehab facilities are well aware that healthy eating and nutrition plays a very crucial role in recovery and so one needs to pay close attention to the diets of the patients.
Some centers also have onsite chefs and nutrition specialists while some even include nutrition education in their recovery programs. This way, the patients can learn healthy eating habits and fasten their recovery process.
Believe it, recovery is a lot of hard work and so is learning how to eat healthily. An effective drug recovery diet will help the patient to honor their body and even nourish it well.
Have a look at what you should do:
People are trying to quit alcoholism or drug addiction and battle with deteriorating health. They usually consume too much sugar, leading to the body converting alcohol into sugar, causing a spike in your blood sugar level.
So, when the addicts quit drinking or taking drugs, their blood sugar drops and they start developing sugar craving.
Their bodies start thinking that they need more of sugar and so they start looking for ways through which they can increase their sugar intake. Thus, keeping the blood sugar level stable is very important for the addicts in early recovery stage as dramatic fluctuations can make them feel depressed or anxious and they are more likely to relapse.
A lot of drug addicts even grapple with sugar cravings. Research has also shown that sugar has a similar effect on dopamine level in the brain- the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers for alcohol and drugs.
Substance abuse causes a kind of surge in the dopamine level, activating the pleasure feeling. Also, sugar gives that deep and fast high crash, leading to anxiety and depression.
And so, when you are in your early recovery phase, you crave for the drug that you have just left taking.
Pay attention to your minerals and vitamins intake
Alcoholics are malnourished because they have poor eating style, resulting in a lot of excessive drinkers obtaining unhealthy amounts of calories from alcoholic drinks.
Alcoholics are also generally deficient in Vitamin B which help the body to produce energy from the food; Vitamin D that regulates calcium absorption; Minerals such as thiamine that is crucial for proper neurological function.
Eating a balanced diet with fresh veggies, fruits, avocados, fresh fish, nuts, lean meat, and poultry can help the addicts to get minerals and vitamins they need.
Water is a must have
Every person depends on water for survival and good health.
Water helps to flush the body and eliminate the toxins from the organs like kidneys. So, rather than waiting for the thirst to attack you, drink a lot of water all through the day, mainly before and after you exercise as well as anytime when it is hot outside.
Opt for healthy foods for brain
Any addiction to alcohol or drugs will most likely cause cognitive impairment like it may be memory loss, inability to perform some skills, etc.
In many cases, the loss of cognitive abilities can be stored back through therapy, healthy food habits and problem-solving. Foods that have omega 3 include salmon, flax while the foods with flavonoids are green tea, citrus fruits, and cocoa as they are good for boosting the brain power.
Avocados, ginger, walnuts, lentils, and tomatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats that help in restoring the brain cells and boosting addiction recovery.
Take care of caffeine intake
As mentioned above, we would like to bring into notice again that people in early recovery period should restrict their caffeine intake to just one cup of coffee per day, mainly in the morning.
Caffeine can increase the sugar level and so for those in an early recovery phase, caffeine can be attractive as they get a sort of hit but are sober.
However, there is this blood sugar crash on the other side of caffeine. So, when people are in the early recovery phase crash, they are more susceptible to reaching their drug or alcohol of choice.
Healthy Food for Lungs
Many times the addicts have lung problems because of huffing, smoking or due to inactivity.
The lungs allow us to breathe and this act needs a lot of energy, and so the damage an addict can cause on his or her lungs along with lack of healthy food can have harmful effects.
Foods that are rich in magnesium, omega 3 and antioxidants are good for improving the lungs, and so it is important to improve your blood flow and breathing.
Try taking green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, bok choy, etc. They are common foods found in most markets. Salmon, chia seeds, flax oil or seeds are high in omega three while kidney beans, artichokes, apples, berries and pinto beans are high in antioxidants.
Healthy Foods that give you energy
It is not uncommon for the addicts to have low energy not just while they are under substance abuse but even after it or in the recovery period.
Lack of energy can thus cause all sorts of problems like sleep issues, weight gain, stress, etc.
Healthy carbs like whole grain bread, cereals are good for energy as well as antioxidants. Honey is also a great source of energy packed with essentials that a body requires.
All nuts like almonds, pistachios, peanuts are an amazing source of minerals, and they contain Vitamins A, B, E, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Healthy options for Liver
Addictions like inhalants, alcohol or drugs injected can have severe effects on the patient’s liver. The liver is mainly responsible for detoxifying the harmful chemicals and free radicals which an individual ingests.
So, a bad functioning liver can lead to bad breath, skin problems, weight gain, headaches, allergies, and tiredness.
Though an addiction can cause severe damage to liver many a time much of this damage can be reversed through being sober and by eating foods that can repair this damage.
Foods that are rich in sulfur can detoxify your liver while the foods that are rich in antioxidants can enable to heal it. Sprouts, cabbage, lemon, onion, garlic, cauliflower, beetroot, broccoli are the detoxifiers that help you to eliminate the buildup that addiction caused.
Berries, pink grapefruit, apples, pears, prunes, raisins, oranges, cantaloupe are all rich in antioxidants.
So, by now you must have got an idea as to how healthy eating can help the addicts in the recovery process. Nutrition, healthy eating, and exercise- all play a crucial role in bringing back the addicts to normal life and healthy body.
We are now offering a free download of our new “Healthy Diets and Eating Guide and Recipe book”.
If you are looking for a recovery and treatment center with a strict policy of providing a healthy diet plan and fresh natural and healthy foods, served to their residents at all meals, then you have found the answer to your quest.
Chateau Recovery has a professional stocked and staffed kitchen that provides carefully chosen and prepared meals to their residents throughout the day.
The professionals at Chateau Recovery understand the importance of diet to the recovering addict. They are skilled at evaluating the addiction as well as the special dietary requirements leading to a healthy and happy recovery.
Please call our Helpline now. Let us assist you with your concerns, your problem, and answer your questions. We’ll be happy to explain our dietary program to you.
Chateau Recovery Center
375 Rainbow Lane
Midway, UT 84049, USA
Phone: +1 435-654-1082
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program for your suffering loved one.
Here is a great video that explains how the foods you eat affect your brain.
When it comes to what you bite, chew and swallow, your choices have a direct and long-lasting effect on the most powerful organ in your body: your brain. So which foods cause you to feel so tired after lunch? Or so restless at night? Mia Nacamulli takes you into the brain to find out.