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3 Simple Steps to Help You Recover Through Better Eating

Home / Addiction and the Brain / 3 Simple Steps to Help You Recover Through Better Eating

3 Simple Steps to Help You Recover Through Better Eating

Fuel your body to success with healthful, balanced meals

Nutritious eating can be a powerful component of addiction recovery. Many addictions affect the appetite and natural eating patterns; some substances will cause you to lose your appetite, while others can compel you to overeat and make poor diet and lifestyle choices. Eating right is a crucial component of detoxification and replacing the nutrients and minerals your body has lost while mired in addictive patterns. Here are three simple but crucial components of eating better to help enhance your addiction recovery:

1. Nourishing Protein and Fiber

Lean protein is one of the best foods for you while you are recovering from addiction. Protein contains key building blocks for restoring proper nutrition to your cells and tissues while supporting your overall health going forward. Opt for lean proteins like chicken and turkey breast or lean cuts of red meat. Eggs and cottage cheese are excellent dairy protein choices, and vegetarian proteins such as tofu, hummus (chickpeas), beans and legumes are also beneficial.

Avoid unhealthy saturated fats, but be sure to get enough healthy fats from foods with nourishing omega-3s and antioxidants. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are very good for you, but you can also take a fish oil supplement. Flaxseed oil, olive oil, seeds, nuts, nut oils and nut butters are excellent sources of healthy fats that can aid in your recovery and restoration to good health.

Fiber is key to detoxification, keeping cravings at bay and giving you a pleasant, full feeling longer after eating. (Both protein and fiber help with reducing cravings.) Some of the best sources of fiber include whole grains, oatmeal, beans, legumes and nuts. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the vegetarian protein and fiber categories, making these foods ideal to include in your weekly menus.

2. Vegetables, Fruit and Proper Hydration

Green leafy vegetables are also excellent for increasing your health and supporting addiction recovery, and they should be a part of your recovery diet plan. Spinach, kale or leaf lettuce should be consumed daily if possible. Cruciferous vegetables are also excellent for health; these include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and bok choy. They are loaded with antioxidants and other minerals and compounds that can help restore your physical health.

Fruit also has a detoxifying and restorative quality for your cells and tissues, but it should be eaten somewhat more moderately due to its higher sugar and calorie content. Some of the healthiest fruits you can consume are blueberries, pomegranate, acai, apples, oranges (citrus fruits), strawberries, raspberries and pineapple. All are loaded with antioxidants and many offer additional nutrients such as vitamin C as well as healthy fiber. Unsweetened fruit juices offer an easy way to get the potent nutrition of fruit in your diet every day.

Drinking plenty of water is another component of a healthy lifestyle. Clean, filtered water helps to flush out toxins and stave off cravings.

3. Regulating Blood Sugar

Nutritious eating is a key component in regulating blood sugar. This is important for several reasons; first of all, consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day coincide with positive brain and body chemistry, which leads to an even mood and consistent energy levels throughout the day. Dips in blood sugar and corresponding mood changes can lead to anxiety and depression, which can then trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol. Food cravings in and of themselves can also trick the body into wanting the addictive substance. Cravings for sugar especially can make the body think it wants alcohol, when a bit of fruit juice can be sufficient to stave off the craving.

Proper food intake is foundational to addiction recovery, but how it is ingested is important as well. Strive to eat four to six small meals per day instead of just a couple of large meals a day. Doing so will help to keep consistent nutrition in the body, which supports ideal blood sugar levels in the body throughout the day. (Three meals and two snacks can work as well.) There is a chemical component to addiction, and the impact of healthy food and proper nutrition in the body can go a long way in staving off cravings and increasing the odds of sustained addiction recovery going forward.

Addiction recovery requires a multi-pronged approach, and healthy eating can be a powerful component in detoxification, minimizing cravings, cultivating healthy habits and changing your lifestyle for the better. Use these three simple guidelines for recovering with healthy food choices to make nutrition a powerful part of your addiction recovery plan.

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