It’s always a good idea to eat well. Nutrition is what fuels our immune system and, therefore, is really the first line of defense that keeps us healthy. Taking in foods that are good for us is even more important when one’s body has been through a rough stretch or the impacts of drug addiction on the body.
Alcoholism, as everyone knows, is extremely hard on the liver, the body’s primary filter. Liver conditions and diseases are much more common in heavy drinkers, as are depression, esophageal and kidney ailments, and even wearing down of the brain. (Medicine Net) Cocaine addiction can lead to sleeping disorders, panic attacks, and heart and blood pressure issues. Heroin abuse can cause a wide range of physical problems.
It is vital that once a person comes out of rehab, he or she gets back on track with a diet that will lead to stronger health. Proper nutrition, along with exercise, will also serve to keep the recovering addict more emotionally balanced, helping to cut down on stress-induced cravings, which may lead to relapse, particularly in women. (Science Daily)
Better Nutrition Equals Fewer Cravings
One excellent way to decrease cravings is by maintaining a steady, moderate intake of carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates could cause blood insulin levels to soar. This can result in the proverbial “sugar rush,” and then the crash that comes after. This process may be experienced in the addict’s physiology as something akin to the rush that their substance of choice brought while addicted, so avoiding excess carbs is wise.
In addition, a balanced carbohydrate intake will have a positive effect on the body, providing just enough energy and keeping blood sugar levels within a manageable range. Be sure to include healthy carbs in the diet rather than processed carbs like bleached flour or foods containing high sugar content; go for potatoes, whole grains, and legumes instead.
But people do not live on carbs alone, and the general public has recently taken note of new, popular European eating plans such as a Mediterranean diet. (WebMD) Rich in healthy vegetables and oils, this may actually be the perfect place to start with regard to full-spectrum after-rehab nutrition.This diet is chock full of plant-based foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans. Butter is replaced with healthy olive oil. Herbs are used to add favor instead of adding added salt. And meat is eaten in moderation. As an added benefit, the diet also guards against heart disease and certain cancers, and may contribute to a longer lifespan.
Supplement Your Recovery
Poor nutrition often coincides with an addict’s drug- or alcohol-focused binging and his or her body may be left in very bad condition, lacking essential vitamins and minerals and leaving the person at risk of infection or worse. This is where supplements come in handy. Vitamins and minerals are another great way to quell cravings.
In the case of an opiate or meth addiction, the addict’s hair, teeth, and bones are often affected, which can be strengthened through calcium. A daily multivitamin supplement or lots of green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens and spinach rank high on the list of foods with favorable nutritional content. Almonds, celery, sesame seeds, and even oranges can also help. Additionally, some studies have shown that magnesium reduces drug dependency for opiates, such as heroin and morphine, as well as cocaine cravings. (Bastyr Center for Natural Health) Foods rich in magnesium include bran, nuts, and soybeans.
Perhaps one of the most recommended supplements is fish oil, which helps the body in many ways. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil will do wonders for the meth or heroin addict’s skin, which often suffers during addiction. It is believed that brain hormones are also affected by fish oil and scientists are investigating it as a neurotransmitter regulator. This may, someday, prove to be invaluable for post-rehab care and drug addiction therapy in general. (Addiction Treatment Magazine) Salmon, nuts, and avocados all contain desirable amounts of Omega-3.
Stay Food Fit
Exercise is vitally important in an addict’s recovery and, because of this, increasing the protein will help repair and protect muscles and aid in after-exercise recovery. Most health diets do not support eating excessive quantities of red meat, the richest source of protein, but other sources such as fish (salmon & tuna), dairy (skim & low-fat), eggs (in moderation), beans, and lean white meat (chicken and pork tenderloin) will prove beneficial.Follow these nutritional post-rehab eating habits and you’ll find it easier to stick to your treatment and stay along the healthy path of your recovery.Back to Resources
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