Quality nutrition is always important, but it’s especially important following an addiction. Many addictive substances can cause nutrient depletion and change the way the brain and body function. By adding healthy foods back into the diet, it can help bolster the recovery process and help heal your body more efficiently.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies for Those in Recovery
Nutrient deficiencies will depend upon what drugs the individual was addicted to. Those in recovery for alcoholism, for example, will commonly have folic acid, vitamin B6, and Thiamine deficiencies. This is both because those suffering from alcoholism often make poor dietary choices, but also it’s because alcohol can interfere with the way the body breaks down these various vitamins.
Recovery from opioids often brings its own set of challenges, namely a struggle with vomiting and diarrhea, causing possible dehydration or electrolyte imbalances.
Marijuana stimulates appetite, meaning those who were addicted to the drug tend to be overweight while stimulants decrease a person’s appetite.
Magnesium, zinc, and calcium are all minerals an individual struggling with addiction issues may find themselves depleted of.
Benefits of a Healthy Diet During Recovery
Following a medically-supervised detox, eating foods that are high in nutritive value can help the body heal faster. It can also help minimize the effects of withdrawal, and it can help the individual to feel better overall. Good nutrition can help those struggling to overcome their addictions to begin restoring tissues in their vital organs that were damaged by substance abuse.
Nutrition also contributes to mood. By embracing good nutrition, individuals can experience real changes to how their brain chemistry and physiology is. By eating certain foods that help produce serotonin, for example, those in recovery can experience enhanced mood in a healthy way.
Because nutrition helps individuals to feel better – both physically and mentally – they experience a lower chance of relapse.
It’s also important for those involved with the treatment of addictions to keep an eye out for disordered eating patterns. If an individual is malnourished, it’s going to be difficult to treat the thought patterns that lead to the addiction in the first place.
Guidelines for Nutrition in Recovery
For individuals who have been in an inpatient detox program, they’ve likely experienced a structured meal program – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks. The reason it’s important to eat often is not only that an individual in recovery is replenishing his or her body following addiction, but also that the individual may be reading hunger as a craving for the substance he or she was previously addicted to.
It’s important for individuals in recovery to eat a variety of healthy foods including complex carbohydrates (whole grains), avoid sugar, reduce caffeine consumption, drink plenty of water, and avoid processed foods. It’s also important that individuals in recovery eat more protein and fiber as these macronutrients help increase the feelings of being full. Protein helps rebuild the muscles that were weakened by malnutrition.
Get Help with Nutrition in Recovery
At our Turning Point inpatient detox house, we help support a total body healing process. We have professionally trained staff that will ensure that you are safe, have any medications you may require, and have the nutrition necessary to heal. We are able to accommodate a variety of dietary needs. For more information, contact us.