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Why Healthy Eating is Vital in Addiction Recovery

The sheer mental and physical toll of addiction means that the overcoming of this condition is the number one priority. Having focused on beating the early days, weeks, and months, will then be in a stronger position to make lasting lifestyle choices for their benefit.

Uneasy Relationships with Food

For many addicts, they have an uneasy relationship with food and drink because of how their addiction has impacted them. Whether it's alcohol or drugs, there are many addicts who have lost a healthy appetite to their addiction.

After just coming off drugs or alcohol, the addict will be in too sensitive a phase to encourage them to make other significant lifestyle choices. As a result, they need to be left to find their appetite again by consuming basic food and drink.

Juice, soda, chips, and junk food are not ideal for the long-term, but they might have to be a short-term concession. At the same time, it is important to recover your body after long treatment schedules

The Brain's Reward Center

In addiction, the brain's reward center is damaged and finds it hard to feel good food or drink unless it is tasty, sweet, or fatty. For an addict, the challenge is to work in some nutritious food here and there to ensure that the brain and body can be nourished as part of the recovery process

An exclusive diet of low-quality foods will lead to weight gain and give the addict new health problems to cope with. In fact, this addictive approach can even lead some sufferers back to abusing again.

What Should an Addict Consume?

After the first week or two in an addiction treatment center, the addict must start making a concerted effort to improve their diet. A full-blown retreat from their favorite food and drink could create initial conflict, so it's important to make gradual changes.

Ideally, an addict must have a long-term diet where they cover six of the most important food groups:

  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, and kale are filling leafy greens that are packed with nutrients.
  • Fruit: Berries are an excellent focus and loaded with antioxidants. Top examples include blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and bilberries.
  • Grains: Healthy grains are filling and also come with numerous health benefits. Look to quinoa, buckwheat, and freekeh as some of the best choices.
  • Dairy: The healthy bacteria in yogurt can be extremely beneficial for addicts who have damaged their digestive systems through abuse.
  • Animal protein: Stick to lean proteins like chicken, turkey, or fish to rebuild muscle and stay fuller for longer.
  • Plant protein/oils: Stay away from salted peanuts and anything you would expect to find at parties. Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds are much more nutritious.

By consuming the above foods, it will be possible for an addict to have a frequent intake of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. The coming together of those will enable an addict to improve their wellness and stay stronger to battle addiction.

The Challenges Ahead

The unfortunate truth is that many addicts will neither have the support nor the awareness to eat healthier. There is already a fundamental challenge relating to education and awareness, but there are others to come.

Another is that some treatment centers lack the resources to deliver consistently nutritious menus. Sadly, it's cheaper for them to serve junk food, which they often must do because of funding struggles relating to medical insurance.

The top treatment centers are well-educated and will strive to provide nourishing meals while also educating addicts in healthy eating. In a wider sense, support can come from family and friends when assisting an addict in their recovery.