How to Eat for Recovery
Addiction takes a very serious toll on your body and commonly leads to malnourishment. For this reason, in active recovery, it is imperative to pay extra attention to how one fuels and heals their body.
People addicted to alcohol drink thousands of empty calories in wine, beer and liquor. This creates a false feeling of fullness. Consequently, alcoholics are deficient in many of the essential vitamins and nutrients we need to survive.
Similarly, drug addicts are often so focused on obtaining their next drug fix, that eating becomes a very low priority. Sometimes, drug addicts forget to eat at all. Naturally, this is extremely hard on the digestive system.
Eating for Recovery is Eating for Overall Health
For our bodies to function properly and stay healthy, it is very important that we follow a healthy diet. The foods we should eat are made up of six classes of nutrients. These consist of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.
Proteins are broken down in our bodies as amino acids. Amino acids are used to build and repair muscle tissue. This is why proteins are essential for those who are physically active. Our bodies also need protein to support a healthy immune and nervous system
Carbohydrates give you energy to function efficiently during the day. Stored carbohydrates in the body are also known as ‘glycogen,’ which is important to have before exercising.
Every cell in our bodies needs some fat; it helps to build cell membranes and coat nerves. Essential fats are crucial for energy, blood clotting and muscle movement. They ease inflammation, stimulate healthy cholesterol levels and help maintain heart health. Essential fats also play a crucial role in brain health.
Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients that our body needs, not only to function properly but also to allow chemical reactions to occur at a faster rate. You can find these in the fruits and vegetables you eat.
Some tips for eating for recovery
- Avoid caffeine. The caffeine found in soda, tea and other drinks is a stimulant. It can trigger mood fluctuations that make it harder to resist cravings for alcohol or drugs.
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods. These foods play a vital role in boosting your immune system. A few examples of these are apple, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers and carrots.
- Power your body with protein. When it comes to nurturing a recovering brain, protein is the key building block. If your liver is badly damaged, then choose proteins that are easy to digest, such as fish, poultry and beans.
- Fill up on fibre. Since alcohol and drug abuse upset your digestive system, adding fibre to your diet will help your body recover. Start by replacing white flour foods with 100% whole-wheat grains. Brown rice, black beans, artichokes, peas and whole-wheat pasta are good substitutes.
- When snacking, eat regular, healthy snacks that contain some protein, which will help to keep your blood sugar level. Stable blood sugar levels help to keep your mood stable. Keep the snacks light. A handful of nuts, a boiled egg or fresh fruit with cheese, yogurt, and granola are a few examples.