When many people think of addiction recovery, their focus is on stopping use of drugs and alcohol. While this is critical, it is not something that happens in a silo. Effective recovery requires changes throughout one’s lifestyle. Proper nutrition is a key element for repairing damage from substance use, curbing cravings, boosting mood and energy, and reducing risk of relapse.
Drugs and alcohol can take a major toll on health. Individuals in active addiction often make poor food choices and may suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. This can make maintaining sobriety more difficult. Treating the whole body during recovery is imperative. This includes paying attention to nutrition and ensuring well-balanced meals throughout the day.
Cutting Back on Unhealthy Foods
In addition to increasing healthy food choices, individuals in recovery also want to cut back on unhealthy ones. This means reducing the amount of processed and refined foods eaten – such as prepackaged meals – which often lack nutritional value. While they may be fortified with nutrients, getting these elements straight from the source is typically better. That is why relying on multivitamins is not a long-term solution. Yes, they provide the basics, but you get more benefit from actually eating foods that contain these nutrients naturally.
Another area to cut back on is caffeine and added sugar. Sodas or coffee may seem like a good idea for a quick energy boost, but they can cause spikes in your blood sugar, trigger cravings, and contribute to anxiety and insomnia. They’re also a source of empty calories.
Introducing Healthier Options
Focus on creating well-balanced meals that hit all of the major food groups and incorporate whole foods. This means incorporating:
- Lean proteins – contain amino acids which help boost neurotransmitters such as dopamine.
- Complex carbohydrates – stabilizes blood sugar and provides energy for the body.
- Whole grains – a good source of fiber to help repair the digestive system.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables – contain antioxidants that can help boost the immune system and provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
- Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids – can help reduce inflammation and increase neurotransmitters.
Fueling your body with fresh, nutrient-dense foods can have an amazing impact on how you look and feel. You’ll be supporting recovery from the inside out and reversing/repairing some of the damage caused by addiction. Eating right will also give you the energy you need to keep pushing forward, stay active, and focus on recovery. When you adopt cleaner eating habits, you may also notice that your mind feels sharper, your mood is better, and your concentration is improved.
Healthy eating is an integral part of recovery at Crossroads. Women are educated on how to eat right for their body and nutritional needs, and delicious, nutritious meals are provided daily. This is knowledge and skills that women can continue to implement throughout their recovery and use to help their entire family become healthier. Addiction takes a toll on the body, but women can fight back and create a strong foundation for long-term recovery at Crossroads.
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