Nutrition plays an important role in the ability to recover from addiction. People who drink or do drugs will often have a sense of fullness even when they haven’t eaten much. These are referred to as being empty calories and over time can lead to malnutrition. Alcohol and drugs prevent the body from correctly absorbing and processing nutrients while removing toxins. This, as you can imagine, can lead to a variety of health problems.
Nutritional Impact Of Addiction
Addicts routinely neglect their diets. As a result they will encounter a number of gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, digestion problems, diarrhea or a loss of appetite. This is why many drug addicts lose a significant amount of weight, appearing gaunt. When recovering from addiction these individuals must follow a specific and rigorous dietary regimen. This will allow their damaged tissues to be rebuilt, along with their organs and gastrointestinal system.
During recovery an addict’s craving for alcohol or drugs will continue. However, consuming the right diet with the correct amounts of protein and carbohydrates will put them on the right path. It is important to understand that the food you eat alters your mood. When someone is deficient in important nutrients such as folic acid or B vitamins the consequences can be unpleasant. Foods rich in sugar may cause mood swings, so intake of sugary foods and caffeine should be avoided during the beginning stages of recovery.
Drugs and alcohol impacts the ability of the body to correctly process two crucially important amino acids, which are tryptophan and tyrosine. They play an important role in the production of compounds such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters in turn are responsible for mental acuteness and emotional well-being. When neurotransmitters become adversely impacted the mood and behavior of an individual will become altered.
Healthy Dietary Choices For Recovering Addicts
A recovering addict should consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and they should also eat foods that are comprised of whole grains. The amount of red meat consumed should be substantially reduced, as they are more difficult to digest and will only exacerbate the gastrointestinal problems that many recovering addicts already have.
Carbohydrates should comprise about 45 percent of a recovering addict’s diet, while protein should be 25 percent and fat should be 30 percent. Calories should be kept to approximately 2000 per day, and medications and condiments should be inspected to ensure there is no hidden caffeine or sugar.
Some of the best foods for recovering addicts include salads, oatmeal, yogurt, omelets, soups, lasagna and rice with beans. The most important vitamins for recovering addicts are the B vitamins. Drugs and alcohol heavily depletes them from the body, so taking supplements which contain them is a good idea. These supplements are taken with meals so that absorption is most efficient. The diet a recovering addict consumes will determine their success or failure, so it is important to choose a diet that is healthy, rich in vitamins and delicious, so you can rebuild your appetite and your body.