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Why Nutrition Is Important In Addiction Recovery

nutritionist making notes for client

In the presence of an illness like addiction, maintaining a healthy diet may seem unnecessary. But, lack of nutrients together with alcohol or drug can put a substantial amount of stress on the body. 

This combination often disrupts the body’s ability to function correctly, leading to electrolyte imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, and later death in severe conditions. 

Importance Of Nutrition In The Body

The brain and body require food to function properly. The food we eat fuels the body throughout the day because it is broken down into glucose. 

Then the glucose is released into the bloodstream to be used for energy or stored in the body for future use.

Our body needs a blend of different foods to thrive. Carbohydrates are excellent for a short-time release of energy, but the body also needs healthy fats and proteins to preserve and use later. 

Maintaining a healthy eating habit is essential to create a healthy lifestyle during addiction recovery.

How Addiction Affects Nutrition

Similar to most things in active addiction, nutrition and proper diet are often neglected. Rather than spend their money, time, or energy to maintain a healthy lifestyle, people suffering from addiction use these resources to prolong their destructive alcohol or drug habit.

As addicted individuals continue to pay less attention to their nutrients, it will disturb the body’s overall well-being and ability to function normally.

Some everyday food-related habits individuals suffering from addiction exhibit include:

  • Eating poorly: Most users in active addiction will spend their money on alcohol or drug, leaving little to no money to spend on healthy foods.
  • Failing to eat: People abusing substances like drugs or alcohol usually have a suppressed appetite and will not remember to eat while under the influence of the substance.
  • Binge eating: When they are sober, some individuals suffering from addiction will regain an insatiable appetite for food and keep eating even after they are full.

Eventually, after several months or years of excessive alcohol or drug intake combined with a poor diet will affect the body.

How Addiction And Poor Nutrition Affects The Body And Brain

Addiction and poor eating habits often work hand in hand. Unluckily, this combination can damage many vital functions of the body and brain.

Persistent substance abuse and lack of food will quickly result in malnutrition, which can come with side effects such as:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Low body temperature
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Depression
  • Heart rate inconsistencies
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Depression

Though these are the most common side effects of maintaining poor nutrition during active addiction, this is not a complete list. Other side effects are particular to an individual choice of drug. 

The Importance of Following a Healthy Nutrition During Addiction Recovery

When an addict is recovering from a substance abuse condition, consuming a healthy diet has several benefits. The nutrients that come with a properly balanced diet supply their body with the much-needed amount of energy.

The individual begins to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Healthy nutrition also affects their mood in a good way, often giving them a more positive outlook regarding their recovery.

Sometimes, feeling better and having a positive outlook lowers the risk of a relapse. Some additional benefits of following a healthy balanced diet include:

  • Helps to rebuild damaged tissues and organs
  • It helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • It helps to regain the proper functioning of the different systems in the body, like the nervous and gastrointestinal systems.

Individuals suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol have caused an enormous amount of stress to their minds and bodies. Adhering to a proper nutritional plan helps both the brain and body to recover from the damage of prolonged abuse of substances.

Benefits Of Nutrition In Addiction Recovery

According to a Journal of American Dietetic Association report, the importance of adding nutritional education in addiction recovery is stressed. Their research findings support the role of nutrition education to be a vital component in the treatment of substance abuse programs. They can also improve the outcomes of substance abuse treatments.

Not eating the right food makes the body suffer. But, a balanced diet can be a powerful weapon in addiction recovery. Allowing nutrition and diet to play an essential role in addiction recovery isn’t just about reaching goals but helping to find the balance of the body, mind, and spirit to be sober.