Most people are aware that adhering to a nutritious, well-balanced diet can be vital to living a long and happy life. They understand that learning about nutrition and diet will likely be central to the work of eating disorder treatment. Still, they may not realize how essential it is to eat healthy during the process of recovering from substance use addiction.
According to recent research published in Nutrition Reviews Journal, drug and alcohol use can contribute to unhealthy eating habits, nutritional deficiencies and dysregulation of hormones that affect your sense of feeling full and the craving to eat more. In addiction treatment, consuming nutrient-dense whole foods can ultimately nourish and replenish the body and mind after the depletion of vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients typically caused by drug and alcohol use and abuse.
Participating in a nutrition therapy program that incorporates holistic and evidence-based therapy and receiving addiction treatment from a top-notch treatment center like The Ranch Tennessee can be crucial for recovery. Nutrition therapy enables people to cook and eat healthily, learn why a healthy diet is essential during and after recovery, and understand how good nutrition can help them sustain their progress in recovery.
The Unhealthy Eating Trap After Addiction Treatment
After deciding to stop abusing alcoholic beverages and using substances like heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana, opiates or prescription drugs, the sense of deprivation makes it easy to justify consuming comfort food like pizza, burgers, potato chips, sugary snacks or soda.
While junk food may be considered the lesser of two evils, when compared to drugs or alcohol, it is actually contributing to the problem and just allowing you to switch one addiction for another. Your body can become just as addicted to the sugar present in your diet as it becomes to the addictive ingredient in the substances you’re recovering from.
Consuming junk food can cause blood sugar levels to increase, potentially leading to other concerns with emotional mood swings and low energy. Also, it is pertinent to be mindful that using junk food to replace drugs could result in co-occurring difficulties with an eating disorder.
Considering how central food is to mental, emotional and physical health, leveraging the benefits of the five foods listed below can be an effective way to help your body heal during and after recovery.
#1: Poultry and Fish
Abusing drugs can prevent the body from adequately processing tyrosine—an amino acid cells use to synthesize proteins. Tyrosine is an amino acid crucial to the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. These neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) are vital because they can play significant roles in mood and cognition. For this reason, adding more fish and poultry to your diet can be beneficial as it enables you to increase tyrosine levels, enhancing your mood, mental clarity and well-being.
Tofu is another protein that can be essential to allowing your body to heal during recovery. Alcohol abuse and addiction can result in an overload of toxins in your liver, causing damage. Tofu is a low-fat food that’s easy to digest, packed with proteins that can help restore the liver. Any protein could engage liver function, but tofu is especially effective because it lacks fat, allowing the liver to do less work during the digestive process and take its time healing.
#3: Bananas and Other Sources Of Potassium
Bananas are another food that can help the body heal following drug and alcohol abuse or addiction. Not only can bananas be a convenient snack, but they are a source of tryptophan—an amino acid that is vital to serotonin production for healthy sleep—something that’s often highly dysregulated in the early months of recovery.
While bananas are well-known for being rich in potassium, they are also good sources of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The high amounts of potassium a banana contains can be conducive to recovery, considering how common it is for individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol to have low potassium and magnesium levels. These minerals are electrolytes that play roles in regulating blood pressure, heartbeat, nerves and muscles.
Potassium and magnesium deficiencies can contribute to confusion, weakness, muscle cramps and fatigue. Individuals in recovery can gain a double dose of these essential electrolytes from bananas, as well as from kiwis, cantaloupes, papaya, oranges, tomatoes, spinach and avocados.
#4: Berries and Vegetables
Bananas and other potassium-rich fruits aren’t the only foods that can help the body heal during recovery. People recovering from drug or alcohol misuse, abuse, and addiction should consider increasing their blueberry intake.
Blueberries can be helpful because they contain antioxidants. Antioxidants play a crucial role in boosting immune system function, enhancing immune health. Furthermore, they can prevent, reduce and slow cellular damage caused by toxins and free radicals created by alcohol and drug addiction. For this reason, blueberries are a vital component of a diet for a person recovering from addiction.
The beneficial properties of fruits can go hand in hand with those of vegetables, as all vegetables provide various minerals, vitamins, fiber and other nutrients the body needs for optimal fuel and function. When dealing with addiction, individuals may experience malnutrition caused by improper nutrition absorption and a poor diet.
However, following a diet consisting of rich vegetables can effectively restore the body to proper nutrition levels. Leafy greens such as kale, starch-rich vegetables like potatoes and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can also be effective in returning the body to good health following addiction. Furthermore, vegetables can also play a role in rejuvenating hair and skin health, which commonly experiences declines during active addiction.
#5: Whole Grains
Whole grains are excellent to eat during addiction treatment and recovery, as they can provide complex carbohydrates to the body that enable you to feel fuller for longer. Furthermore, whole grains can also provide the fiber your body needs to help your digestive system recover from damage caused by drug and alcohol use. Whole-grain pasta and other foods rich in fiber can act like probiotics: providing energy, jump-starting your digestive system and enhancing your digestive health.
Consider replacing bread and pasta made with white flour or high-fructose corn syrup with substitutes made of whole grain. Whole-grain bread demonstrates effectiveness in lowering the risk of diabetes. Another switch you could try making is trading in white rice for quinoa.
What to Do if You Have an Addiction
Complete recovery from alcohol, meth, cocaine or opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse requires a total restoration of the body and mind. Recognizing that there is a substance use problem and deciding to receive guidance and therapy for addiction, mental health disorders or behavioral health issues is a bold yet necessary step. You should consult professionals for treatment if you have developed a dependency or addiction to substances and experience mild or severe side effects.
Seeking professional help is crucial because it can be challenging for some people to acknowledge or understand their addiction, get past it, learn how to recover and overcome such struggles and live a life of sobriety. Getting support from a skilled, trustworthy clinician or therapist every step of the way can encourage and empower a person to overcome their addiction.
Treatment centers are safe environments, free of judgment and equipped with teams of compassionate psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and other specialists who have expert knowledge of addiction, substance abuse and psychological disorders. Professionals at a treatment center can support and guide your journey to recovery and utilize practical, comprehensive treatment plans for substance abuse and addiction. Furthermore, these experts know how crucial good nutrition is to wellness and can implement nutrition therapy that reverses the harmful effects of addiction in various ways, such as:
- Replenishing the body with a balanced diet
- Promoting nourishment from each food group
- Teaching individuals how to limit their portions
- Boosting the digestive and immune systems
The Ranch Can Guide You to Recovery
The Ranch Tennessee offers high-quality treatment for both those who struggle with addiction to alcohol or other drugs as well as treatment for those with primary mental health concerns. We provide multiple forms of treatment at our center because addictions and drug misuse can vary from person to person and require different specialized programs.
The experts at The Ranch Tennessee understand that the types of substances a person uses can impact the way they detox and heal and consider this when evaluating clients during the admissions process. Our clinicians work with you to learn more about your needs to provide individualized care at our treatment center.
Patients at The Ranch in Tennessee can receive evidence-based treatment and begin the road to recovery in inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment programs.
Treatment and therapy programs offered by The Ranch include:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment
- Prescription drug addiction treatment
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Anxiety treatment
- Depression treatment
Making a call to The Ranch at 888-387-6513 is the first step
to receiving the treatment and support you deserve.