A healthy, well-balanced diet is important for everyone, but it’s vital if you’re recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Substance abuse can wreak havoc on your body by causing damage to your organs, affecting your metabolism, keeping you from digesting food properly and more.
You might pick up a few other poor dietary habits while struggling with addiction. Lucky for you, we have a heaping helping of healthier options that we hope you’ll take to heart. Read on for savory suggestions that can strengthen your brain, body and immune system while putting a little more pep in your step.
Nutrition’s Role in Addiction Recovery
When drugs and alcohol prevent your body from working the way it should, it’s hard to fight off diseases and infections. Without all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body craves, you might run out of energy before the day is even halfway over. These and other health issues can stick around long after you’ve started on the road to recovery. Hanging onto bad dietary habits can have the same disastrous effects.
A Recipe For Success (and a Healthier Body and Mind)
Fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants can help protect your body from free radical damage and may reverse some of the adverse effects addiction has caused. They can also boost your immune system! Keeping your intake varied will allow you to reap a host of benefits. Leafy greens like spinach can improve intestinal issues, and oranges can boost liver function. If those options aren’t exciting enough, dark chocolate and coffee can be good sources of antioxidants, too, provided they contain enough cacao.
Pump Some Iron (and Vitamin E)
Foods with iron and vitamin E are good for your mind and body. Iron deficiencies have been linked to problems with memory and attention span. A lack of Vitamin E can cause nerve damage and neurological issues. Make sure you’re getting plenty of both with some dark green veggies, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and lean meats.
Speaking of meat, it can be a great source of protein, too. Nuts are a great alternative if you’re more of an herbivore. Either way, don’t skimp on protein because it boosts neurotransmitter production with amino acids. This important job for our brain is negatively impacted by habitual drug use, and packing plenty of protein into our diet is one way to build it back up.
Viva Vitamin C
Nearly everyone knows a healthy dose of Vitamin C is vital for a strong immune system, but did you know it has been shown to reduce risk of cancer and stroke? It’s also good for your eyes and heart. Don’t forget to drink your OJ (or eat your potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, asparagus…).
Open Up For Some Omega-3
Another way to protect your eyes and heart is with Omega-3s. The fatty acid found in seafood like tuna and salmon (or in avocados and eggs) is also an anti-inflammatory. If that’s not enough, it has long been known to boost brain function and development and may help combat issues like ADHD, anxiety and depression.
Bad Foods for Recovering Addicts (and Everyone Else!)
Saturated fats are best if kept in very small doses. You’ll find them in processed foods and fast food so try to limit your trips to the drive-through. Trans-fat, or partially hydrogenated oil, is even worse! Like saturated fat, it raises bad cholesterol levels, but it compounds the issue by also lowering your good cholesterol levels.
Too much sodium assaults your body by dehydrating you. Some studies have linked dehydration to depression. Whenever possible, opt for natural or raw foods instead of the prepackaged or processed varieties.
Sugar addiction can be a real problem for many recovering addicts. Unfortunately, sugar (both the natural kind and high-fructose corn syrup) usually comes with a high cost in calories and little of nutritional value. It can even cause intense cravings which is something you definitely want to avoid during addiction recovery.
Nutrition and Your Addiction Recovery Plan
At Footprints Beachside Recovery, our holistic treatment program is customized for your needs. Together, we can lay the groundwork for a healthier, happier, drug-free lifestyle, and nutrition is an important part of the process. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today.