Addiction has a way of taking over every area of life — body, mind, and soul. But with treatment at a holistic addiction rehab, you can reclaim your life from the inside out. A healthy diet is a key piece of that puzzle, providing a strong foundation for successful recovery.
Take a look at the negative effects of drugs and alcohol on your brain and body, and discover how good nutrition can help repair the damage.
The Damaging Effects of Drugs and Alcohol
Malnutrition is a common side effect of addiction, causing a variety of harmful deficiencies. This may be due to poor eating habits, or to the way the substance itself hinders your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Since nutrients directly impact your energy level and brain function, deficiencies can hurt your ability to detox and combat symptoms of withdrawal.
Common nutritional deficiencies resulting from substance abuse include:
- Lack of vitamin A, B vitamins, folic acid, and calcium (alcohol addiction)
- Lack of omega-3 fatty acids (cocaine addiction)
- Lack of vitamin B6, vitamin D, iron, and calcium (opioid addiction)
In addition, drug and alcohol addiction depletes your dopamine and serotonin levels and decreases their ability to move normally through the brain. These feel-good chemicals help regulate mood, promoting relaxation and assisting with acute withdrawal. Low levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, cravings, low energy, memory problems, and inability to concentrate. Addiction also damages neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to form new connections and rearrange old ones—making it difficult to adapt to sobriety.
How Nutrition Heals
Here’s the good news: Not only can a healthy diet help you in the present, it can also repair the past damage of drug and alcohol addiction. Good nutrition can actually improve neuroplasticity by helping the brain replenish normal amounts of neurotransmitters.
Balanced meals also provide the fuel you need to fight cravings and decrease symptoms of withdrawal. Plus, a healthy diet strengthens your immune system, allowing your body to achieve peak performance so you won’t get bogged down by frequent illness.
With nutrition education alongside traditional therapy, a holistic addiction rehab can treat any nutritional deficiencies, biochemical imbalances, and digestive problems you present. You can incorporate a healthy diet into your treatment program, enjoying balanced meals and a nutrition plan based on your individual needs. The proper nutrition can give you energy and even self-confidence, boosting your physical and mental well-being.
In fact, the food you eat is integral to the way your body responds to treatment. Improved nutrition can increase your chances of success in recovery and help you feel better overall. The proper diet can help your body heal itself.
What to Eat to Aid in Recovery
Consume these nutrients for optimal healing:
- Healthy fats. Fats like flaxseed oil, olive oil, and omega-3 acids from nuts and fatty fish can help the body absorb essential vitamins and repair neurons.
- Fruits and vegetables. The natural fiber in fruits and veggies can help your gastrointestinal system heal.
- Proteins. Proteins are high in amino acids, the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Beef, fish, turkey, eggs, and cheese are good sources of the amino acid tyrosine, which is essential for dopamine production.
Keep these items off the menu:
- Caffeine. This stimulant can promote anxiety and insomnia, so it’s best avoided in recovery.
- Processed foods. Packaged food and fast food tends to be low in protein and high in saturated fat, causing you to feel moody and sluggish.
- Sugar. Steer clear of foods with added sugar so you can keep your blood sugar levels stable, thereby reducing mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
The body is miraculous and fully capable of repair — all it needs is the proper fuel. With help from nutritionists at a holistic addiction rehab, you can create new patterns and learn how to nourish your body, mind, and soul. Coupled with traditional therapy, a personalized nutrition plan can fuel your recovery from addiction.
Are you longing to experience complete healing from addiction? Contact Beachside Rehab’s trained admissions counselors at (866) 349-1770 to learn more about our holistic approach to addiction treatment.