How To Replenish Your Body During Addiction Recovery
Nutritional deficiencies are common in addiction. Depending upon the type of substance use disorder a person has and length of time using, deficiencies can take shape in many forms such as digestive issues, vitamin and iron deficiencies, low calcium levels, and a whole host of other nutritional imbalances. For example, addiction to stimulants, like Ritalin or cocaine, causes damage to synaptic functions and depletes DHA levels. Replenishing the body with foods rich in omega-3, such as salmon, tuna, and free-range chicken can aid in restoring DHA levels. Below are more nutritional tips to help improve your overall health and wellbeing while on the road to recovery.
Restoring Energy and Balancing Mood
An addiction to drugs or alcohol can result in a significant reduction of dopamine levels or our naturally occurring “feel good” neurotransmitters. This reduction is very hard on the mind and body during recovery, causing bouts of low energy, depressed mood, and intense cravings. Tyrosine, an amino acid, plays a key role in the production of dopamine and can help boost dopamine levels in the brain. Some examples of high-tyrosine foods include:
avocados, bananas, soy products, lima beans, lean beef, chicken, pork, and cheese.
Those with an alcohol use disorder face a particularly tricky challenge once they stop drinking – a significant drop in sugar levels. As alcohol converts to sugar, a person’s body becomes used to constant spikes in sugar levels. Once the body eliminates alcohol, it can lead to mood changes and intense sugar cravings. The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health state, “Intake of sweet food, beverages and added sugars has been linked with depression, anxiety and even inflammation, which can potentially hamper progress in a plan of addiction treatment.” To help combat this issue, eliminating sugar, especially processed sugar, is highly beneficial to keeping blood sugar levels normal. Foods that are rich in the amino acid L-glutamine such as kale, spinach, beets, carrots and protein-rich foods like fish, chicken, and eggs can also be helpful as it is known to help reduce sugar cravings.
Boost Your Immune System
Foods packed with antioxidants, such as blueberries, have been known to help rebuild the immune system as well as restore key vitamins in the body. A diet including these foods can be especially helpful before and after drug and alcohol detox and withdrawal, as these processes strip the body of vital nutrients. According to an article from the Cleveland Clinic, some important immune-boosting foods and their essential vitamins are:
- Vitamin C – found in citrus foods such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines, as well as papaya, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
- Vitamin E – found in peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, a variety of seeds, and spinach.
- Vitamin B6 – found in bananas, chicken, baked potatoes, cold-water fish (salmon and tuna), leafy green vegetables, and chickpeas.
Addiction and Treatment
Healing and nourishing the body during recovery is a vital part of any good addiction recovery program. At Daylight Recovery Services, individuals participating in our recovery programs undergo an intake interview that allows us to customize a treatment program that best addresses their unique needs, and nutrition plays a vital role in the healing process. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or a substance use disorder, get help now. Do not be afraid to take the first step toward a healthy, new, sober lifestyle – contact the recovery experts at Daylight Recovery Services today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.