Nutrition For Recovery
When a person embarks on the journey of recovery from substance abuse, nutrition is not typically the first thing on their minds. However, a healthy diet is an essential piece of the puzzle in the recovery process. Improving nutrition habits can help not only physical health but can lower depressive symptoms and anxiety too. In this way, individuals who prioritize healthy eating are more likely to overcome their addiction.
People struggling with addiction often have difficulty eating due to a low appetite. Certain drugs — cocaine, opiates, amphetamines — can lower a person’s appetite by hijacking the brain and reducing the desire for food. When a person’s primary focus is using drugs or drinking, unhealthy or disorganized eating habits can develop, such as skipping meals or eating poorly. Alcohol indirectly decreases appetite and desire for food, especially if a person consumes mainly high-calorie drinks. This is why many people tend to lose weight when they are in active addiction.
Healing from drug and alcohol addiction can cause a person’s appetite to decline due to anxiety and stress, amongst other issues associated with early recovery. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure you are eating enough food to meet your body’s daily energy needs. While high-calorie supplement drinks may be helpful, most research shows that eating a nutritionally dense diet is the best source of calories and nutrients. For people struggling with a low appetite, eating every few hours can be helpful to make sure you are eating enough each day. This can also help stabilize blood sugar levels, as they can become dysregulated in the early stages of treatment. Highly processed foods like soda, fast food, and desserts tend to be high in sugar, negatively influencing blood sugar levels, causing a flood of insulin, and creating ongoing cravings.
Eating healthy to keep blood sugar levels steady can help reduce anxiety and improve overall mood, which is key to supporting sobriety. Though there are many foods to limit during treatment and recovery, everyone should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. The healthy plate method is a simple way to think about healthy eating. This would consist of a meal that is half nonstarchy vegetables (for example: leafy greens, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower), one-quarter starch (wheat grains, potatoes, rice), and one-quarter protein (chicken, fish, eggs, beans). By making sure most of our meals follow the healthy plate method, we give ourselves the best shot at a well-balanced diet composed of all the nutrients that help our body function at its best.
Quality nutrition is one of the many lifestyle changes that can support a person’s recovery. Good sleep hygiene, physical activity, medical intervention, therapeutic intervention, and social support are all imperative to maintaining sobriety. By seeking help for addiction from JourneyPure, those struggling with substance abuse can ensure that they receive the utmost quality care from trained staff. Our treatment team includes a variety of medical staff, therapists, and other healthcare professionals dedicated to helping individuals live a long and healthy life.