You’re well on your way to recovery. Maybe you’re several months down the road addiction-free or just finished your residential drug program. Either way, it’s time to consider how nutrition plays a key role in your ongoing recovery and that it’s the only way to completely recover 100 percent in order to remain healthy and on the right track.
How Addiction Affects Your Health
• Addiction typically results in malnourishment
• Addiction inhibits the body’s natural flow of endorphins
• Addiction can destroy a person’s feelings of self-worth and self-respect
• Addiction can cause the liver to malfunction
• Addiction puts a great deal of stress on the body’s immune system
Good Nutritional Advice for a Successful Addiction Recovery
Good nutrition is the key foundation towards rebuilding the body’s system to ensure it’s healthier, stronger, and functioning better than ever. In fact, many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers integrate dietary counseling into their drug treatment program. Patients can work closely with a dietician or nutritionist in order to develop a sensible, customized plan to help the body heal and recover quicker.
If you do not have the opportunity to work with an expert nutritionist, try these guidelines to help you get started. Incorporate them into your daily lifestyle to rejuvenate the chemistry in your brain, body, and to restore your sense of self-worth as well.
• Avoid sugar like the plague.
Not only should you avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary foods during your recovery, you should ideally give them up altogether since they’re bad for you on so many levels. Foods that contain refined carbs like white bread, cake, pasta, and pastries have a detrimental effect on your metabolism, insulin and cholesterol levels, mood, and the general pH balance in your body. In other words, they’re terrible whether you’re recovering from an addiction or not. Foods like these can cause extreme mood swings, which is something a recovering addict absolutely does not need.
• Drink decaffeinated drinks.
Coffee, tea, soda, and many other drinks are brimming with stimulating caffeine, which can trigger mood swings making it difficult to resist sugar and alcohol cravings.
• Eat a variety of antioxidant-rich food choices.
Antioxidant-rich foods are a key role in keeping your immune system working at top speed. They work to help protect the body’s cells from free-radical damage that could result in cancer and other harmful diseases. Fresh vegetables and fruits are chock-full of these healthy nutrients, which makes them the ideal way to rebuild and restore a damaged immune system. Add various fresh fruits to your diet like blueberries, strawberries, and apples. Eat vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and peppers every day either raw or lightly sautéed. These types of foods also renew hair and skin that often loses its health when using excessive drugs or alcohol.
• Power-up with protein.
Want to literally rebuild your brain to a good state of health? Protein is the answer. Protein also helps nourish the liver back to health as well. Be sure to eat a variety of protein-rich sources like fresh poultry, fish, and various beans. Fish is considered “brain” food due to its rich omega-3 fatty acid content.
• Eat fiber to keep your digestive system on track.
Because alcohol and drugs tend to upset the digestive tract, incorporating a good amount of fiber into your daily diet will help your body build up its natural strength. Replace all white flour type foods with nutritious 100 percent whole grains instead. Your system needs roughage to keep everything running smoothly. Therefore, eat foods like artichokes, brown rice, whole grain pasta, peas, and black beans.
• Snack smart.
Eating healthy snacks in-between meals will help normalize your blood sugar levels and stave off cravings. Stabilized levels of blood sugar means stabilized moods as well. Eat light, mini-meals like a handful of nutritious nuts, fresh fruit with your favorite cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or even organic yogurt to keep you satisfied until dinner.
Real recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is all about restoring and replenishing your mind, body, and spirit to its original, magnificent state of good health. Eating good nutritious foods is the number one way to revitalize a body that’s been compromised by a drug addiction. Keep in mind that your diet is the primary underlying factor in how you feel. Want to feel good? Then eat well. You literally are what you eat.