When it comes to taking care of your health, nutrition is a critical component. After all, what you put into your body is what you’ll get out of it. Ask any bodybuilder or workout enthusiast. A healthy body starts in the kitchen, not in the gym. Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol may find that they’re eating much more than they used to or much less – but what most have in common is that they’re not focused on eating foods high in nutrition.
How Nutrition Affects the Body
Whether you’re over-eating, under-eating, skipping meals, or not eating balanced meals, poor nutrition can negatively affect your overall health.
Some of the most common ways that poor nutrition can affect your physical health include:
- Being overweight
- Being underweight
- Developing heart disease
- Experiencing a stroke
- Developing diabetes, osteoporosis, and other diseases
- Increasing blood pressure
Moreover, a lack of good nutrition can make you feel tired, sluggish, and unmotivated. Many people attribute sugar and caffeine to a boost in energy and mood. While that may be true for an hour or so, processed sugars and caffeine can lead to crashes that may actually leave you feeling worse than before.
Whole, nutritious foods may not have the instantaneous effects that processes foods do, but the effects are longer lasting and much steadier.
How Nutrition Affects the Brain
Not only does nutrition affect your physical health, but it affects your mental health as well. Overeating processed foods and sugar can result in brain fog, increased depression, and worsened anxiety. If you are prone to any mental health issues, these foods are even more likely to cause problems for you.
On the other side of that coin, there are a few foods that can help improve memory and cognitive functioning. Leafy greens, fish with omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric are particularly helpful. In fact, there are even some studies that show that turmeric could help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Why Nutrition is Important for Addiction Recovery
If you have made the decision to get sober or have recently gotten sober, congratulations. That’s something to be proud of.
When you begin your journey in recovery, nutrition may not be the first thing on your mind – but it should be high on the list. Drugs and alcohol can leach your system of the ability to properly absorb nutrients and years of abuse may mean that it’s been a while since your body has received good nutrition.
Additionally, if you’re treating co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression, a good nutrition regimen can help improve symptoms.
A qualified drug and alcohol rehab center will offer nutrition therapy to help you learn more about your body and which foods are best for your long-term health.
How You Can Improve Your Nutrition
While there’s no substitute for speaking with a doctor or nutrition expert, there are a few guidelines you can follow to start getting your nutrition back on track.
- Drink lots of water. While 8 glasses per day is standard, you should actually be drinking ½ as many ounces as your weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 oz of water. Try sparkling water or fruit infusions if you get bored of plain tap water.
- Aim for at least two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables each day. This may take you some time to build up to. Don’t feel like you have to add it in all at once.
- Cook at home as much as possible. Restaurant food is often loaded with extra fats, oils, and unhealthy refined foods. Shop mindfully and fill your cart with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Nutrition is an important component of addiction recovery. When paired with other holistic and clinical treatments, a healthy diet can help you sustain lifelong recovery. To learn more or speak to an admissions counselor, give us a call at (818) 208-9446 or contact us online