Research from 2019 showed that alcohol, drugs, and suicide collectively killed 156,000 Americans that year. All of these preventable deaths take years off of a person’s life and impact those who love them.
Recovery from substance abuse saves lives. But, it requires implementing healthy habits.
Food plays an integral role in our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. We eat multiple times each day, making it an important habit to focus on.
Keep reading to learn the importance of nutrition during recovery and for taste tips that will help you succeed in sober living!
Why Is Nutrition Important for Recovery?
Nutrition plays an important role in keeping your body healthy overall. During recovery, it offers very specific benefits that can help you get healthy again and stay sober with help from alcohol treatment centers, San Diego.
Everything from the choices surrounding food to the nutrients you take in makes a difference. Why does it all matter?
Addiction and Malnutrition
Substance abuse disorders lead to malnutrition. People who abuse drugs and/or alcohol worry more about getting their next fix than they do about eating.
Most illicit drugs and alcohol cause anorexia when a person falls into deeper levels of addiction. Stimulant drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine, suppress hunger as they activate the sympathetic nervous system.
Alcohol contains seven calories per gram. Though these empty calories provide no nutritional benefits, they still trigger the body to feel full, causing alcoholics to skip meals.
Drug addicts may drop a lot of weight from not eating while alcoholics might even gain weight while suffering a nutrient deficiency. Either way, the person ends up very unhealthy.
- Further reduced appetite
- Poor concentration and memory issues
- Slowed wound healing
- Weakened immune system
This does not magically go away because the person enters detox in San Diego alcohol rehabilitation. In fact, detoxing can make things temporarily worse, especially for alcoholics, without proper meal planning.
When people use drugs, their body chemistry changes too. Eventually, they need the substance to reach equilibrium, which is why addicts constantly need higher doses to feel high. This messes with important nutrient levels.
For instance, alcoholic drinks contain high amounts of sugars which cause the pancreas to release extra insulin when somebody drinks too much. When they detox from alcohol, their insulin levels remain high while their sugar drops low.
This can actually lead to death without proper nutrition management. The recovering body needs nourishment to reach a healthy state.
The Recovering Mind
Part of addiction stems from bad habits and poor decision-making. For success in recovery, a person must practice making healthy choices.
We choose what to eat and when to eat on a regular basis. This makes eating an integral piece for training the mind.
Addiction takes over the mind. Substances trigger the reward center in the brain, the high feels good, and the person wants to feel that way again. Next time they need more to receive the same feeling, and the cycle spirals.
Food also triggers this reward center, especially processed food high in fat, sugar, and preservatives. Opting for the sugar high keeps you in an addictive mindset.
You cannot properly heal in the same environment that made you sick. Changing your diet to practice healthy choices will aid in your recovery.
Addiction wreaks havoc on a person’s self-esteem. Being enslaved by a substance takes away the freedom of choice and puts you in the position to act in ways you find unethical.
When sobriety hits, the reality can come crashing down and leave you feeling very low. This feeling can lead to relapse.
Fortunately, you can use nutrition to help you feel better overall. Proper nutrition puts your body into a state of equilibrium where it does not fight to survive.
This leads to contentment, which makes you feel better overall. When you notice yourself making healthier choices on a regular basis, it will build your self-efficacy and help you feel capable of overcoming addiction.
Eating healthy will also improve your appearance. When you look and feel amazing, you will not want to jeopardize that with poor choices.
Food for Detoxing at San Diego Rehab Centers
Detoxing in a facility puts you under the close watch of a medical team. They can access your current needs to keep you safe and comfortable.
The foods you eat during detox may depend on your body’s current condition. But, in general, a healthy diet will help you keep up your energy and heal.
Good detoxing foods contain high amounts of antioxidants and other compounds that help your body remove toxins. They include:
Drink plenty of water while detoxing at rehab centers in San Diego. You will lose a lot through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Though water does not contain nutrients, it helps your body eliminate waste.
When detoxing from alcohol, try to eat small, frequent servings of carbohydrates. Opt for whole grains and fruits over simple sugars, so your body takes longer to break down the complex sugars.
Diet Tips for Recovery
After detox, your appetite will return. Your choices will affect your health and sobriety.
Do not set yourself up for failure by going on a strict or unsustainable diet. Fad diets that restrict specific nutrients or entire food groups may leave you feeling hungry, unsatisfied, and frustrated.
Instead, choose a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Eat a variety of colorful whole foods instead of processed food products.
Eating frequent meals throughout the day will help keep you from suddenly feeling starved and binging on snacks. If you do crave something unhealthy, indulge every now and then. Make it a treat, not a habit.
Do more with food than simply feeding your needs. Cook healthy meals at home or take cooking classes with a friend to occupy your time with a sober hobby.
Recognize the Importance of Nutrition
Do not overlook the importance of nutrition. Keeping yourself healthy and making good food choices plays a significant role in sober success.
We want to help you take back your life by supporting you through every step of the way. Reach out to begin!