How Your Diet Impacts Your Long-Term Addiction Recovery
By The Recovery Village Ridgefield
Last Updated: May 31, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Nutrition plays an important role in long-term addiction recovery. Adequate nutrition and hydration are vital when misuse of alcohol or drugs has wreaked havoc on your body. Food can also help with depression and anger, which you might experience as you enter addiction recovery after living with a substance use disorder for a long time.
How does your choice of food affect achieving and maintaining sobriety long-term? What is the connection between eating healthy foods and addiction recovery? Can eating right help you avoid a recurrence of use?
Addiction Recovery and Nutrition
Nutrition and addiction recovery go hand-in-hand. The body’s ability to heal itself has always been correlated with good, healthy food. However, when you are receiving addiction treatment, good nutrition is particularly important.
When you live with a substance use disorder, it is easy to neglect your physical health by eating too much junk food, failing to drink enough water or skipping meals altogether. A lack of good nutrition exacerbates the effects of exhaustion, depression, anger and mood swings.
If you misuse opiates, a host of gastrointestinal disorders like vomiting and diarrhea can occur, which increases your chances of malnutrition. Stimulants act as an appetite suppressant, which means that if they are misused, you might forget to eat at all. If you have a severe alcohol use disorder, the National Institute of Health says 50 percent of your daily caloric intake may come from what you drinking, not what you should be eating.
However, there is mounting clinical evidence showing that proper nutrition during addiction recovery can increase your chances of long-term success. Proper nutrition can:
- Reduce depression
- Increase energy
- Repair tissue and organ damage
- Strengthen your immune system
- Improve your mood
Nutrition can help you feel better both mentally and physically. Good nutrition allows your body and brain to heal faster from the damage that drugs and alcohol may have inflicted. Eating properly will even help you avoid relapse.
Working with a nutritionist during addiction recovery can help support your healing process. Avoiding sugar, drinking more water and eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are all important steps toward wellness. Avoiding sugar is particularly important if you are recovering from an alcohol use disorder; the body converts the alcohol to sugar, so it is a good idea to stay away from both substances.
Addiction recovery is a process that jump-starts the body and mind, teaching new ways of coping with life’s stresses. Changing how you eat by focusing on proper nutrition is just one of the many steps necessary to find health again.
If you are ready to step into recovery now, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today to speak with a compassionate, professionally trained intake coordinator, who can discuss with you your available treatment options.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.