Conquering a substance use disorder (SUD) begins with a commitment to sobriety and active engagement in a comprehensive treatment program. Treatment also lays the foundation for carving out a new healthy lifestyle that helps reinforce recovery.
While in treatment, you will learn about the role that nutrition plays in restoring brain health and overall wellness. Adopting a healthy diet can begin the process of replenishment and renewal which is often necessary since substance use typically takes a significant toll on the body.
How Nutrition Aids Recovery
It is common to neglect your diet while in active substance use. Poor food choices and inconsistent eating habits can result in nutritional deficiencies and depleted health. To rebuild both physical and mental health in recovery, treatment programs emphasize the value of nutrition for optimizing wellness.
Not only is good nutrition important to help correct the deficiencies so common in those recovering from a SUD, but it also contributes to improved mood and brain functioning. Sound nutrition can actually help reduce cravings while restoring overall brain health and neurotransmitter functions. This leads to improved mood, emotional stability, and a more positive state of being, all of which are essential for avoiding relapse. For these reasons and more, successful treatment will often place a special emphasis on nutrition in early recovery.
Proper Nutrition in Recovery
During the treatment phase of recovery, you will begin to establish healthy new daily routines. This helps you to foster new habits that can be incorporated into your regular life in recovery. A sound dietary strategy that helps maintain consistent blood sugar levels is eating every two to four hours. A good plan includes having three regular meals per day, with a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. The snacks should include a bit of protein, nuts, and fresh fruit.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in recovery. Lean proteins, such as fish, turkey, and chicken, provide the amino acids that rebuild the brain’s neurotransmitters. Some sources for protein include:
- Lean meats (such as salmon, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef)
- Greek yogurt and kefir
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Mozzarella (or any low-fat) cheese
- Nuts and seeds
- Lentils and legumes
A healthy diet includes several daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, such as brown rice or whole-grain bread and pasta, as well as staying hydrated with lots of water. Sugary treats, salty snacks, and caffeine should be limited.
Life in recovery is enhanced when attention is paid to health and wellbeing. Nutrition can aid physical recovery, reduce the mental and emotional toll of adjusting to sobriety, protect against relapse and improve one’s overall quality of life.
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 holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.