July 26, 2022

How Healthy Eating Can Help You With Addiction Recovery

Suffering from addiction can take its toll on your entire body (and mind). Of course, getting the proper treatment is the most important thing for your addiction recovery. But, you shouldn't neglect the power of healthy eating! Getting the proper nutrients will allow your body and brain to work better and heal faster. This is because good food stabilizes your mood, increases energy, improves focus, and helps you resist cravings for bad food and addictive substances. And conversely, bad food, which is food packed with bad nutrients, can only worsen your addiction recovery. But, if you are still not persuaded, keep on reading. Today we will share with you how healthy eating can help you with addiction recovery and make you a healthy and stable person.

Relearning Healthy Habits

While suffering from addiction, your brain tends to forget all the good habits and starts memorizing only the bad ones. In fact, research performed by some of the best experts in the drug-abuse field proved that addiction 'teaches' our brains that in order to feel well, one has to use drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or any other substances all the time. Thankfully, those changes to our brain are reversible. That is, we can help our brains relearn all the good habits. This is called neuroplasticity, and we can develop and relearn healthy habits. One of the essential routines we need to establish is eating healthy food.

Healthy eating can enhance this neuroplasticity! For instance, a hormone called serotonin is produced when we eat carbohydrates. That hormone can lessen all the cravings you have for addictive substances. Healthy fats can reduce all the inflammation you have in your body that was caused, again, by addictive substances. And amino acids can balance the dopamine levels and encourage our brains to change.

So, as you have seen, just like there are foods that help with muscle recovery, there are also foods that help with addiction recovery. But, let us give you some general wisdom - to enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating mentioned above, you must consume fresh and whole foods. Processed and refined ones can only worsen your recovery. Therefore, you should develop a meal plan that includes fresh fruits and vegetables; while avoiding fatty and fried foods.

Reestablishing Your Physical Health

Using drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictive substances leaves a mark on our bodies and minds. But, using heavy opioids, like heroin, for example, can damage almost all organs in our body and all cells in our brains. This 'damage' can lead to many diseases, including cancer. Of course, the damage can be lessened if you seek help on time from a facility that specializes in heroin recovery. If you stop substance abuse and start working on healing your body and mind, you can begin to recover.

One of the best ways to reestablish your physical health is to fill your diet with enough macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, while micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.

What you will eat depends solely on your preference and taste. But, there are some nutrients you should incorporate into your daily meals. These are proteins (from meats, eggs, dairy products, lentils, etc.) for rebuilding muscles and bones, vitamin C (from fruits and vegetables) for boosting your immune system, magnesium (from nuts, seeds, etc.) for stabilizing your hormones, vitamin B (from seafood) for improving your energy levels, etc. There is no single food that will completely recover your body. Instead, focusing on a balanced and varied diet would be best.

Reestablishing Your Mental Health

Besides helping you reestablish your physical health, healthy eating can also help you reestablish your mental health. Namely, when trying to recover from addiction, you may feel a lot of mood swings. Or, you may even develop anxiety, depression, irritability, etc.

To ease these mental problems, you can again turn to healthy foods. By consuming foods rich in vitamin D, omega 3, and zinc, you may help your hormones, and blood sugars balance out and thus, improve your mood swings significantly. You can try following Mediterranean or Japanese diets as these proved to be the best for curing our minds. And, don't worry, you need just those essential kitchen appliances and healthy foods from your farmer's market to follow these diets. 

Increasing Your Energy 

Fighting your addiction, whatever kind of it, will consume a lot of your energy - it will consume your physical, emotional, and mental energy! And according to experts from Bright Futures Treatment Center Boynton Beach, FL, as well as all other addiction-fighting experts, the number one thing you need to recover is energy. Luckily, that too can be done with proper food.  

Foods such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can help you restore your energy and even gain a lot more than you had before. But, to do this, you can't rely on food only. You must 'pair up' healthy foods with plenty of water, moderate exercise, and a decent amount of sleep. 

Helping You Sleep Well 

Healthy eating can help you with addiction recovery by helping you sleep well. Sleep is an important part of any recovery. And, it is especially important for addiction recovery! When we sleep, our minds and bodies rebuild themselves! And, when we don't, we lose our energy, we start getting mood swings, etc.  

So, to recover from addiction, make sure you get a good night's sleep. Avoid late-night coffee since it can suppress adenosine in the brain. Of course, there are foods that can help you sleep better too. Those are foods rich in proteins. And those are foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium works by lowering cortisol (the stress hormone) and thus, helps us fall asleep easier and faster, as well as helps us stay asleep longer.  

As you have seen, healthy eating can help you with addiction recovery in many ways! What's best is that eating healthy food will improve your overall wellbeing. So, do your best to incorporate this 'cure' into your recovery journey. But don't expect it to work overnight. Healing your body and mind is something that takes time! 

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