Healthy eating helps addiction recovery
Once an addict is in recovery, what you now put in your body can make a significant difference to your progress. In the past there was a belief that the recovering addict should feel free to indulge in sweets, cakes and fatty comfort foods, but research now shows that these are exactly the things an addict should avoid and that healthy eating is a powerful tool that can help recovery.
During the addiction recovery the recovering addict faces a two-pronged nutritional dilemma. First, the alcohol or drugs affect the body’s capacity to assimilate nutrients. Also, many addicts do not eat enough to maintain good health. Second, the addict’s lifestyle often means that the food choices they do make are not healthy. Alcoholics, for example, may intake as much as 50% of their daily calories in the form of alcohol. Plus, the need to eat, or the money required to buy food, is often sacrificed for the need to buy alcohol or drugs.
It is logical then that an addict arriving at a recovery centre needs to have their nutritional status, and their eating lifestyle, assessed and addressed. Nutritional therapy is now acknowledged as a significant help on the road to recovery so that the person feels physically and mentally stronger as soon as possible, and so better able to handle the challenges that recovery brings.
Good nutrition provides energy, repairs damaged organ tissue and boosts the immune system. These are all things a recovering addict is in need of, and repairing the physical damage is as important a part of the process as handling the emotional hurdles. We know that certain foods are mood enhancers and healthy foods alter the brain chemistry to give a more positive outlook. Feeling better physically lowers the risk of relapse, as does relearning the signals of hunger, something that is often lost during addiction. Eating regular, healthy meals is a key to recovery we take very seriously.
Controlling sugar intake and boosting amino acids are key elements of using food to help recovery. For example, fish and meat are high in phenylalanine, which deals with the effects of the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, the neurotransmitter that provides a feeling of pleasure. Addiction damages the production of amino acids until the body can’t produce them naturally. That’s why the recovery is so physically as well as emotionally painful in the first withdrawal stages.
Having a professional nutritionist on hand is essential to ensure the success of this part of your recovery. Assessing each client individually and planning a tailor-made diet plan that can be adapted as the person progresses is one of the most effective ways of building the foundations of a future without addiction.