Entering and completing drug rehab often is the first step in a recovery program. Many people struggling with addiction, while recognizing the toll it has taken on their life and relationships, don’t realize the additional affects it has had on their physical health and wellbeing.
Addiction often leads to malnourishment, which forces the body to work in less than optimal conditions. A poor diet is tough on the digestive system, which is often already experiencing diarrhea, indigestion, and constipation from the drug or alcohol abuse. Should an someone struggling with addiction try and eat well, the drugs and alcohol prevent the body from absorbing vital minerals and nutrients found in healthy foods.
Addiction also can damage your immune system, disrupting the body’s natural ability to keep itself healthy. A compromised immune system leads to not only colds and the flu, but also the risk of developing more serious diseases.
And finally, addiction can take a big toll on the liver. The liver is the organ responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, and individuals who abuse alcohol and drugs make their liver work overtime. This eventually causes the liver to swell and stop working properly.
Nutrition Tips to Help in Recovery
While it may not be possible to reverse all of the damage caused by addiction, good nutrition can go a long way toward helping you becoming healthier and stronger. A healthy diet also helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Remember, we are mind-body-spirit – and it’s all interconnected. Balance in nutrition helps you physically and mentally. If you have access to a dietician or nutritionist, he or she can customize a plan to help your body recover and heal.
If you don’t have access to a dietician or nutritionist, the following tips can help you boost and support your immune system and brain chemistry so you can become a healthier, happier version of yourself.
Be mindful of sugar
When it comes to foods that alter your mood and make it difficult to make healthy choices, sugar can be one of the worst. Do your best to stay away from excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates such as cookies, cakes and white bread. Be mindful of moderation – you don’t have to outright eliminate these items, but they should be enjoyed in a balanced way.
Increase your intake of produce
Your body needs antioxidants to boost your immune system and keep you healthy. You also need the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water produce contains. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will support your immune system and your journey toward recovery. They also can enhance your ability to cope and reduce your symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Include snacks throughout the day
Snacking throughout the day will help stabilize your sugar levels and keep your mood stable as well, minimizing cravings. Just be sure to snack healthily, eating fruits, nuts and other quality proteins and whole foods. You don’t have to subscribe to any sort of diet philosophy. Be mindful that your propensity might be a bit “all or nothing”. This is an opportunity to help you learn the balance you need in life.
If you or a loved one is struggling to address traumatic experiences that may underlie addiction and is interested in exploring treatment, please schedule your free, 15-minute consultation today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.