There is growing evidence that the foods included in your daily diet have a great impact on overall health. If you are undergoing recovery for substance abuse, making appropriate recovery food choices and eating a well-balanced diet are an essential part of your successful and long-lasting sobriety.
The Substance Abuse Healing Process
It may not occur to you that diet is part of the recovery process when first entering treatment for substance abuse. An appropriate diet and proper hydration is key to the addiction recovery healing process for several reasons. One reason is that certain nutritional deficiencies can bring on bouts of depression and anxiety, and result in lowered energy reserves, all of which can eventually trigger a relapse. If you have abused alcohol, for instance, and haven’t maintained a healthful diet, it’s more likely that your body has become deficient in:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Thiamine or Vitamin B1
Another deficiency often apparent in people overcoming addiction is Vitamin B12. Being and staying healthy, both during and after recovery, is also important in other ways. You might have a lowered appetite because you’ve often forgotten to eat while under the influence. Or perhaps, when using drugs or alcohol, eating healthy foods became an unimportant part of your life. Malnourishment or even overeating can result from addiction practices that relate to nutrition.
Practicing a healthful lifestyle, especially during the recovery process, promotes better mental health, too. Nutritious recovery food helps keep your mood stabilized, reduces the stress that accompanies addiction and recovery, and inhibits the cravings for previously abused substances.
Your body may need to heal from organ damage and immune system or gastrointestinal disorders that have affected the body because of substance abuse.
Recovery Food for a Healthy Diet
Long-term alcohol and opioid use can damage the lining of the intestines, making it harder for your body to absorb vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12. This essential vitamin keeps your nervous system healthy in addition to aiding in the production of red blood cells. When your body is low in vitamin B12 for a long time, it may affect your ability to walk or impair your memory. When recovering from substance addiction, be sure to include Vitamin B12 in your diet. Vitamin B12 is found in:
- Seafood, specifically clams, oysters, mussels, trout, salmon, tuna, crab, sardines, and haddock
- Nonfat Greek yogurt
- Chicken breast
A recovery food diet should also include plenty of folic acid, which can be found in spinach, collard greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, beans, avocado, broccoli, rice, and seeds.
Vitamin B6 is found in foods like fortified cereals, lean meats, poultry, eggs, and legumes.
Finally, foods that are rich in vitamin B1 include nuts, fish, lean pork, legumes, and beans.
A varied diet that is healthy and includes foods from the above options assists in recovery by helping to regain the nutrients you’ve lost or neglected eating pre-recovery. With all the time and effort you’ve spent rebuilding your future, it’s important to remember that a healthful diet is a vital component to your continued success and ongoing recovery.