The Importance of Good Nutrition during Recovery

There are many facets in drug and alcohol recovery. And an important one not to be ignored is nutrition.

During the addiction phase of someone’s life, their body also suffers from proper nutrition. 

For example, abusers of alcohol generally feel satiated. A normal serving of food is not needed to feel full. Instead, snacking will suffice which inevitably leads to malnourishment.

This theory also holds true for the drug addiction side, as well. 

Not giving the body the nutrition it needs could eventually lead to health problems such as:

  • Immune system
  • Muscular system
  • Skeletal system
  • Reproductive system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Nervous system
  • Endocrine system
  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive system

Research has shown that substance abuse may also cripple the body from properly absorbing vitamins and nutrients.

In essence, the body is starving for nourishment and the recovery phase is the perfect opportunity to give the body what it needs. On the recovery journey, people learn that healthy eating habits, exercise, rest, and relaxation all play a vital role.

Depending on how long the addiction has lasted, those in recovery may experience digestive issues including:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Loose stool
  • Constipation

With time, these above challenges can be restored by consuming the right foods. Meal selections, often small but frequent to begin with, should be rich in nutrients. Wholesome foods will help rebuild immunity, aid in tissue and organ health, and benefit someone’s overall health.

Healthcare professionals have also pointed out that the right diet and food selection can help minimize alcohol and drug cravings. This includes high protein and carbohydrates levels.

High protein foods include:

  • Turkey and chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Wild salmon, tuna or halibut
  • Tofu
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nonfat cheese
  • Egg whites
  • Kidney, white, lima, fava, and black beans

On the flipside, healthy carbohydrate selections include:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Cracked wheat
  • Popcorn
  • Wheat Berries

Some other healthy foods to put on the list include sweet potatoes, seasonal berries, mushrooms, and unsalted pistachios and almonds.

While nourishing the body with the above foods, opt for healthy oils, such as olive oil in the preparation versus butter. Also keep an eye out for quality supplements such as folic acid and vitamins D and B. 

During the early steps of recovery, it’s advised to decrease any sugar and caffeine intake. Health and wellness research shows that sugar and caffeine may be a factor in irritability and mood swings.

For some in recovery, sleep patterns may be disrupted. Natural ways to relax can be found in certain foods containing tryptophan. Many may have heard of “tryptophan” especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. After a turkey dinner, people are ready for a nap. In addition to turkey, tryptophan-containing foods are also in milk, sunflower seeds and bananas.

The right diet filled with wellness benefits is the perfect addition in recovery, because it will help nourish the body, aid in cognitive function, and restore the body to a healthier level.  

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