Addiction Recovery - Alumni

Hack Your Recovery With Good Nutrition

Hack Your Recovery With Good Nutrition

Proper nutrition heals us in mind, body, and spirit. It’s a great tool for anyone, but it’s especially great if you’re in recovery.

What have you eaten today? Was it enough? Too much? Was it balanced and nutritional?

Mindless eating can be detrimental to your health, so be mindful of what you put in your body.

The availability of processed or convenient foods has decreased people's awareness of what is in their meals. Grab-and-go food can fall short of the nutrition needed to heal and strengthen because heavily processed foods lack many micronutrients.

Eating mindfully after substance addiction treatment is essential to both your mental and physical health. The tolls alcohol and drugs take on your mind and body are alarming, but you can take steps to heal when you learn the ins and outs of healthy eating.

If it helps, think of healthy eating as a life hack for sobriety.

Damage Done to Your Health

The brain has billions of cells called neurons. Neurons are the communicators of the brain. Alcohol and drugs can mimic natural neurons, leading your brain to become dependent on substances. For example, cocaine and amphetamines can prompt your brain to release a disproportionate number of neurotransmitters or block the communication channels between neurons.

When these substances are absent from your body, your brain has a hard time functioning properly because it's used to the neuron stimulation from the drug. This can cause cravings and withdrawal symptoms, prompting you to use again.

Your digestive system relies on vitamins and minerals to process the food you eat. Absorption of vitamins and minerals takes place in your intestines. Some drugs and alcohol can attack the inner lining of your intestines, shutting down your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. The cessation of the digestive process robs your brain of the nutrition it needs to produce brain cells and neurons.

When your body doesn't absorb the nutrients, your brain is directly affected. When your brain isn't running at full capacity, the functions your brain control and communication between the body and brain can slow or stop.

Healing With Food

The organs in your body will start to repair themselves when you begin a life free from substances. Your body is resilient and will bounce back when you treat it right. Paying attention to your eating habits and being mindful of how you prepare your food provides the foundation to reverse the damage done by alcohol or drugs. In time, your muscles, digestive system, and brain will mend themselves. Healthy eating also means your brain gets suitably nourished. 

Foods that are high in protein and fatty acids like Omega-3 help repair neurons. Amino acids are also essential to repair the neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, incorporating almonds, shrimp, chicken, tempeh, and bananas will help restore natural processes in your brain.

Many natural, unprocessed foods are high in protein and low in sugar and fats to help your body heal itself. Benefits to eating nutrient-dense food include the potential for a decrease in withdrawal symptoms and an increased chance of maintaining your recovery.

Substance Addiction Treatment and Eating Habits

Treatment programs that include nutrition education with traditional therapy address biochemical imbalances, nutrition deficiencies, and digestive problems. Ask your therapist to help you create a personalized nutrition program.

Eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed food gives your body what it needs to restore its balance. Nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and lean meats, are the foundational blocks to good health. While you're improving your diet, don't overlook healthy fats. Healthy fats convert to trans fats, which are beneficial because healthy fats can:

  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels

  • Promote weight loss

  • Improve healthy inflammation and coagulation

  • Enhance brain function

  • Decrease liver fat

  • Strengthen your bones

  • Improve your sleep patterns

  • Maintain healthy skin

  • Foster glycemic control

Food as a Holistic Treatment

During substance withdrawal or detoxification, your body may also flush nutrients. While you're in substance abuse treatment, you will receive healthy, nutritious meals to help you replace these nutrients, heal your body, and prepare you for healthy eating after treatment.

Food is more than fuel for the body. Food is comprehensive care because it heals your mind, body, and spirit. In addition, the act of shopping for, preparing, and cooking food can connect you to your food and provide a healthy release of emotions.

In Eastern food therapy, specifically Chinese, it is believed that food can harmonize and heal your mind, body, and Qi (life force). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) food therapy includes these categories of food: cool (Yin), warm (Yang), and neutral.

There is little literature in the West about the benefits of TCM. However, this doesn't mean there aren't benefits of TCM should you be interested in trying its principles. TCM practitioners conceptualize food by two factors: nutritional and functional aspects. Specific foods can aid in healing a person. Your intake of foods is based on light eating, equalizing the "hot" and "cold" essence of food, and harmonizing the five flavors of food to facilitate the restoration of your mind and body.

Nutrition Plays A Vital Role In Recovery

Nutrition’s role in recovery is important because it repairs the damage done to your brain and body from substance abuse. Since your body is resilient, it can bounce back through a healthy diet. The support found in a substance addiction treatment program can help you heal. At the Edge Recovery Center, you will find the latest treatment methods along with emotional, mental, and nutritional healing.

Active participation in our programs is possible because we work with you to balance your treatment and personal needs. As a result, you can live a healthy, substance-free life. We welcome your questions. Call (800) 778-1772.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery


February 7, 2022