Most of us are aware that nutritious eating habits can help us build a healthy “terrain” in our bodies. Nutrition strengthens the immune system, which helps us preserve physical wellbeing while helping to resist disease. Many, however, may not be aware of the adverse impact of substance use on the human body. Indeed, chronic substance use may eventually lead to nutritional deficiencies, organ damage, and gastrointestinal disorders.
When entering recovery, it is critical to rebuild that healthy terrain by embracing a healthy lifestyle that focuses on nutrition, physical exercise, and emotional wellness. Restore your health in early recovery by adopting a new lifestyle that fuses sobriety with the healing power of nutrition.
The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery
One of the most effective ways to begin restoring both physical and mental health in recovery is through healthy dietary choices. These might include the following:
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These include fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, as well as chia seeds, olive oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, broccoli, eggs, and Brussels sprouts.
- Lean proteins. These include turkey, chicken, and lean cuts of beef.
- Whole grains. Whole grain foods include oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, corn, whole wheat breads and pastas, and whole-wheat couscous.
- Nuts and legumes. These include raw nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, and red beans, peas, and lentils
- Fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, carrots, cucumber, and fresh fruits, such as oranges, apples, grapefruit, kiwi, and berries.
- Supplements. Nutritional supplements can help correct imbalances that resulted from substance use. These might include thiamine, folic acid, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C supplements.
To further enhance a healthy diet, reducing exposure to added sugars, processed foods, salty snacks, sodas, and excessive caffeine can optimize results. Also, drink plenty of water and eat regular meals, as these two simple habits can help repair the tissue or organ damage, enhance the immune system, improve energy levels, and boost mood.
4 Tips For Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle
Sound nutrition is only one aspect of creating your healthy lifestyle in recovery. In addition to eating nutritiously, consider these actions for further improving your overall wellbeing:
- Improve sleep quality. Without adequate, quality sleep it is difficult to achieve the improvements in mood, cognitive functioning, and wellbeing desired in recovery. Make it a daily priority to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Calibrate your circadian rhythm by establishing a nightly schedule. Also, avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon and turn off those electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Regular exercise. Physical activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, dance fitness, running, and cross-fit training are excellent options to include in the recovery routine. Exercise causes the heart to pump oxygenated blood, delivering it to the working muscles. This works the lungs, heart, and muscles simultaneously, providing many health benefits, including mental health benefits.
- Learn to relax. Stress is a common trigger for relapse, so practicing relaxation techniques will help to calm the mind and fend off relapse. Some effective stress-reducers for optimizing your recovery lifestyle might include yoga, mindfulness meditation, journaling, deep-breathing exercises, massage, or listening to soothing music.
- Feed your soul. Whether it is nurturing your significant relationships, revisiting a passion for art, music, or theater, taking up a new hobby, nourishing a faith journey, or volunteering at a charity, find something meaningful that stokes a flame in your heart, inspires purpose, and adds to the quality of your life.
Keep in mind that developing a sound framework for sustained sobriety depends on establishing new healthy habits and on continuing care efforts that provide the support needed in early recovery. By integrating healthy habits into aftercare planning, the road to recovery is paved for success.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.