How Proper Nutrition Heals the Body After Addiction

Nutrition. It’s quite a big word in what it means and the topics it covers.

Poor food and diet are one of the most common causes of negative issues with health and wellness in the world today.

Proper nutrition is vital to the long-term health and happiness of anyone, but for no-one is this more true than for someone in addiction recovery after a drug or substance addiction.

One of the most common negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse or addiction is the devastating effect that the drugs have on the body’s reserve of the natural vitamins and nutrients that it requires for healthy functioning.

Add to this the often very poor diet of most addicts and you end up with someone who is quite likely very malnourished as well as experiencing the negative effects of drug abuse.

Because of this, many addiction rehabs, and especially holistic recovery centers include a strong nutritional health element in their recovery programs.

This will often entail an evaluation of the person’s current diet, and then the creation of a healthy diet plan for their body’s needs that they then adhere to for the remainder of their stay at the rehab.

Malnutrition can, surprisingly, have many of the same symptoms and side-effects as withdrawal from many commonly addictive drugs, so correcting improper nutrition early in the recovery process can go a long way in easing the transition to sober living.

After a person completes an addiction rehab program it can be common for them to go back to their old unhealthy eating habits and routines. However, after rehab, it is more important than ever to start or maintain proper nutrition for many reasons.

Reasons for Good Nutrition

  • Replenishing the body. After an addiction, especially one that involved long-term drug use or abuse, it can take a long time of maintaining a healthy diet for the body to regain the levels of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.
  • Reducing cravings and the risk of relapse. Eating unhealthy foods, especially “junk foods” and foods that are high in sugar content is very harmful to the body over time, and can often lead to stronger cravings to eat more junk food and even stronger cravings to take drugs.
  • Improving the quality of one’s life and general well-being. A properly fed body is a healthier body, and with a healthier body, someone recovering from addiction can enjoy life and live more fully, thereby increasing their ability to live life without the need to rely on taking drugs.

While there are a great many differing opinions on just what constitutes “proper nutrition,” there are some simple guidelines that anyone can follow to get started in the right direction.

Basic Guidelines

  • Eat mainly whole foods or minimally processed foods, and avoid highly processed foods. What does this mean? It means eating foods made from ingredients that require very little to no additional processes in their manufacture than simply growing them. These are called “whole foods” because they are naturally complete foods as they are grown. Examples of whole foods include fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts, fish, dairy, and meats. These whole foods are in contrast to “processed foods” which while they often derive from whole foods, there are more complicated processes involved in turning them from a natural product into food. There are innumerable examples of processed foods but a few of them are things like frozen food, anything from the “snack” aisle, fast food, chips etc.
  • As much as possible, eat foods that are USDA certified Organic. Food quality and nutritional content have really declined in recent decades with the advent of modern agriculture techniques, and while organic foods may not be as affordable as commercial foods, organic generally represents a higher quality and less toxic food product that is better for your body.
  • As much as possible, cut out “fast foods” and foods that are high in sugar. As was mentioned earlier, in addition to being unhealthy and often more depleting to the body than nourishing, these foods are often laced with addictive additives to keep customers on the hook and buying that product. For a recovering addict, this is not only unhealthy but can also lead to increased drug cravings which should, obviously, be strenuously be avoided.

In short, the body is often in pretty rough shape after an addiction and it is far better for your physical and mental health to give your body the healthy whole foods and nutrients it needs to recover. The alternative, while often cheaper and faster in the short-term, is not a very wise option when you look at the long-term risks of health problems and potential relapses. Your body is the only one you have, and it’s worth taking care of.

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Dan and his team of addiction professionals at Elevate, have helped hundreds of people to beat addiction every year.