Poor nutrition affects the body and mind, making detox an even more painful experience. If someone is nutrient deficient while they are going through withdrawal, his or her first days of sobriety can be more difficult, and that person is more likely to relapse. Most rehabilitation facilities offer nutritional support as part of their services as well as advice on nutrition in addiction recovery.
Foods For Recovering Drug Users
Drugs and alcohol take nutrients from the body while preventing the body from absorbing nutrients from food. The result is malnourishment, which builds slowly through the addiction and gets worse the longer the addiction continues. Eating healthy foods for recovering alcoholics can help heal malnourishment.
Drug And Alcohol Fatigue
Constant fatigue and lack of energy plague drug and alcohol users. This can be due to a lack of iron, protein, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C, B1, and B12. Most people struggling with addiction are deficient in all or some of these vitamins. Further health problems can develop, including hypothyroidism, anemia, cardiac failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, or serious depression and anxiety.
People who abuse alcohol and opiates often complain of skin problems such as itchy skin, red or flushed patches, dry skin, and bruising. They are not getting enough fatty acids or vitamin C.
Heavy alcohol use deteriorates muscle tissue. Muscles need vitamins D, B1, magnesium, sodium, and potassium to repair themselves. Without these nutrients, muscles are prone to cramps, spasms, and soreness that will only get worse over time. Those going through opiate withdrawal are all too familiar with muscle pain. These vitamins can help relieve their discomfort.
Alcoholism often comes with diarrhea due to a B3 deficiency. If you do not correct this, irritable bowel syndrome can develop. Opiate users often suffer from constipation, because the body is trying to break down the filler ingredients in pharmaceuticals such as Oxycontin and Vicodin. Fiber, potassium, magnesium, and plenty of water will help relieve this issue.
The brain responds to poor nutrition with restless legs, muscle spasms, loss of balance, vibrations or numb spots, weakness, shakiness in extremities, peripheral neuropathy, and tingling in the hands or feet. The brain needs vitamins B1, B12, B3, B6, and E to maintain proper function. It also needs the appropriate dose of fatty and amino acids to maintain proper nervous system function.
Depression, Anxiety, And Irritability
Mood changes are a normal part of withdrawal symptoms, but you can lessen or alleviate these symptoms by getting enough of vitamins C, B, B3, B12, fatty acids, iron, and magnesium. A proper diet and nutritional plan can greatly improve the moods of those struggling with alcohol and opiates.
Foods That Help Heal The Body After Addiction
The adage that you are what you eat is especially important during recovery. A body that has had poisons like drugs and alcohol for so long now needs the best ingredients and fuel to overcome withdrawal. Good nutrition can relieve painful symptoms and help the body heal quicker.
Hydration is a key element in recovery. Most people don’t drink enough water as it is, and a body healing from addiction needs water even more to promote healthy body function. Water and drinks with electrolytes are beneficial but avoid sugary drinks like sodas.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens are great sources of vitamin B6, iron, and calcium. If you are not a fan of vegetables, there are loads of recipes online to help you sneak them into your diet in delicious ways. One easy way to do this is to add spinach or kale to a morning fruit smoothie – you won’t even be able to taste it with all the sweet fruits.
All proteins have amino acids, which are necessary for maintaining healthy muscles. Poultry contains vitamin B6, and red meat is high in iron. Salmon and other fish are good sources of omega 3, fatty acids, and calcium. Plant proteins, including tofu, beans, and quinoa are excellent options for those considering veganism or vegetarianism.
Bright Fruits And Veggies
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, oranges, mangos, pineapples, and strawberries are all high in vitamin C. Carrots are full of vitamin A. A good rule of thumb is to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to collect all your daily nutrients.
Carbohydrates are the body’s fuel, and a body in recovery needs a lot of fuel. Whole wheat bread, rice, and potatoes are high in fiber. Eating healthy whole grain carbs is better for the body than processed carbs such as white bread.
Milk, butter, and cheese are good sources of calcium and vitamin A. Yogurt is an excellent probiotic for people with stomach issues during recovery.
Healthy Eating Practices
Getting into the habit of eating three whole meals and a couple of snacks throughout the day will put your body back on the right track for nutrition. It is important not to force food, but regular meals will promote an appetite that drugs or alcohol suppressed. It is important to remember that the body may not be used to healthy foods, and when cravings come, they may be food cravings and not drug cravings.
Getting into healthy activities, such as daily walks, and learning a few healthy recipes are beneficial for several reasons. Exercising, even if it is just a walk around the block, will raise endorphins and promote a healthy appetite. Learning to cook will promote good eating habits and become a sober hobby you can enjoy.
Some Foods Are Not Helpful
When it comes to eating, remember that some foods do not promote a healthy body or mind. A person going through withdrawal from alcohol develops intense sugar cravings, but that sugar will eventually lead to a sugar crash that could put the person at risk for relapse. Caffeine may seem like the sober kick you need, but it can snowball back into relapse if you are not careful. Fast food is not nutritious and isn’t good food for recovering alcoholics or drug users. It is better to spend the extra time making healthy meals and sticking to healthy diets for addiction recovery.
Breaking old nutrition habits and creating new ones is difficult for someone going through the early days of sobriety. Take advantage of nutrition specialists’ offers at rehab to create an exercise plan and sober diet that will encourage a healthier lifestyle. They can teach you the basics of nutrition and how to keep your body and mind healthy.