Substance misuse often overrides the body’s signals that it needs healthful foods, and people with chemical dependencies often skip eating, or eat foods without real nutritional value. Poor nutrition can leave bodies weakened and immune systems impaired. Recognizing this, many of today’s addiction recovery and healing programs prioritize nutrition and wellness education as key treatment components.
There are four major roles that nutrition plays in addiction recovery.
To Heal and Restore the Body
Irregular habits and poor eating choices are closely associated with drug and alcohol addiction. In extreme cases, addiction causes vitamin deficiencies, illnesses, and organ damage. Healing these problems and restoring health is a primary function of nutrition therapy, especially during addiction recovery. In addition, introducing healthy foods into the diet improves overall health and helps to boost a compromised immune system.
To Stabilize Moods
Inadequate nutrition decreases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain and alters the absorption and utilization of amino acids. Substances like drugs and alcohol also make profound changes in brain chemistry, altering the body’s ability to use natural mood enhancers and disrupting amino acid production. These brain chemicals play a key role in mood regulation. Restoring the body’s mood regulation mechanisms with healthy nutrition may include amino acid therapy, vitamin B supplementation, and eating a diet rich in proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids.
To Minimize Cravings
Nowhere is the link between nutrition and addiction recovery stronger than in the role healthy food plays in keeping cravings at bay. The inability to accurately identify and avoid cravings is a major cause of relapse. Avoiding meals or eating foods low in nutritional value can result in food cravings. However, many people recovering from substance use disorders are unable to distinguish these from drug or alcohol cravings. The best way to minimize food cravings is to eat regular, nutritionally balanced meals that are low in simple carbohydrates. Meat and fish proteins, dairy foods, leafy green vegetables, and complex carbohydrates provide the nutrients and food variety needed to continue on the recovery path.
To Establish a “Hands On” Relationship with Food
“Hands on” nutrition is fun and engaging when incorporated into a quality recovery plan. As clients develop a healthier outlook, they begin to understand the critical role that food plays in mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. One objective of nutritionally based recovery programs is education, which helps those in recovery build a better, more healthful relationship with food. It is essential that clients learn meal planning and food preparation methods. For people in recovery, gardening, grocery shopping, and cooking are activities that provide a creative outlet and may provide the gateway for making new, sober acquaintances.
Healing Treatment Programs to Fit Your Needs
If addiction or substance misuse has left you with serious physical problems like malnutrition, a weakened immune system, or diabetes, a treatment program that includes medically supervised detox and nutritional therapy is critical.
Call the Mandala Healing Center today to begin planning a healing journey that is tailored to your individual needs. Our expert counselors at 877.775.2150 are available 24/7 to verify insurance coverage and begin the enrollment process.
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