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Is Your Diet Helping or Hurting Your Recovery?

nutrition for addiction recovery

The intricacies of nutrition extend beyond simply satisfying hunger. They play a pivotal role in fueling cellular repair, replenishing energy stores, and fortifying the body against illness and fatigue. Still, figuring out what truly helps in recovery can be a challenge. Read on to unravel the intricate tapestry of dietary nutrition to decipher whether our food choices are a catalyst for rejuvenation or a stumbling block on the path to addiction recovery.

The Connection Between Diet and Recovery

Adopting a holistic approach to recovery includes maintaining your physical well-being. One of the best ways to do this is to cultivate healthy eating habits. Adopting a healthy diet helps to repair the damage done to tissues and organs during active substance use. As a result, this helps improve the immune system.

Also, a healthy diet positively influence mood, resulting in lower rates of depression and anxiety. Smart food choices also lead to improved brain health, which improves cognitive functioning, memory, and smart decision-making.

On the other hand, a poor diet—like one featuring lots of sugary or caffeinated drinks, fast food, and irregular meals, may be damaging your prospects for successful addiction recovery in a very real way. After all, the connection between how you feel and what you put into your body is obvious.

It’s All About the Dopamine

Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical that reduces stress to promote happiness. The more a person uses an addictive substance, the less dopamine is contained in the brain. Add to that mix a poor diet and lack of protein, and the dopamine levels decrease even more. This leaves the addict with fewer dopamine receptors in the brain, making the stress reduction and happiness harder to obtain, which in turn requires more of the substance.

Proper Nutrition is Essential for Addiction Recovery

Proper nutrition is essential for addiction recovery since it gives the body energy and the ability to fight off disease and infection. It also keeps the body from experiencing blood sugar “crashes,” wherein the body will respond by craving a boost of energy, which feel quite a bit like a craving.

Tips to Maintain a Proper Diet in Recovery

The relationship between nutrition and recovery is a close one. Since substance abuse drains the body of essential nutrients, a well-balanced diet can feel restorative, promoting overall well-being. Recognizing the connection between nutrition and recovery is a strong first step toward making more informed choices about what you eat and how it makes you feel. Read on for some important tips on maintaining a diet that can help in your recovery.

Look for Whole Foods

Incorporating whole foods into your diet is a cornerstone of healthy eating, whether you’re in recovery or not. Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, which are rich in essential nutrients that support healing and reduce the dreaded sugar swing. Better still, nutrient-dense whole foods are minimally processed, low in artificial sweeteners, and contain almost no artificial flavoring.

A good rule of thumb is to try and limit your intake of foods that are advertised. Candies, sodas, chips, energy drinks—none of this stuff promotes health and wellness. In fact, many of those types of foods trigger the same opioid receptors in the brain as illicit substances.

An even better rule of thumb is to fill your plate with a variety of colors and textures, ensuring a range of different vitamins and minerals. Some of the best foods you can give yourself include:

  • Lean poultry and fish
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Kale
  • Tofu

Establish a Routine

Having a daily routine is the best way to maintain a healthy diet in recovery. Consistency leads to stability, and stability is always good for those in early days of recovery. Plan regular mealtimes and snack breaks to ensure you’re putting the right stuff in your body day in day out. Not only will such a routine promote physical health, it will do wonders for killing old drug cravings and avoiding relapse.

Stay Hydrated

Staying well-hydrated is often overlooked, and yet it is essential for overall health. Water plays a vital role in detoxification, digestion, and the maintaining of proper bodily functions. Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go and consider replacing you usual sugary drink or caffeinated beverage with water.

Listen to Your Body

Reconnecting with your body’s natural signals is an essential aspect of developing healthy eating habits in sobriety. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry, rather than in accordance with external factors. And when you feel full, push the plate away rather than finishing the meal to be finished with the meal.

Do Your Own Cooking

Making a well-considered grocery list and preparing meals at home allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes, which supports your nutritional goals as well as your culinary skills. It also further promotes the establishment of routine.

Ask for Help

Consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can provide guidance that is tailored to your unique dietary needs and goals. Working with experts in this field ensures accuracy and reliability.

Go Easy on Yourself

Developing healthy eating habits is a gradual process, one that requires thought and preparation and resilience. Setbacks can and will occur. Remember, this is another aspect of your ongoing recovery, so be patient and try not to judge yourself if you experience a setback. Instead of focusing on perfection, try aiming for progress. And try and remember that what’s done is done; approach each day as a new opportunity to make good choices for yourself.

Learn More Healthy Eating Habits at Northpoint Colorado

Modern addiction and mental health treatment is customized to fit your specific needs. This personalized approach helps you create the most direct path to sobriety. You’ll find what you’re looking for at Northpoint Colorado in Loveland, Colo. We’re committed to providing you with both the short- and long-term benefits of proper treatment. Get started today by calling us at  at 888.231.1281 or complete our online form.