How Proper Nutrition Aids in Substance Addiction Recovery

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Say, you’re a recovering addict ready for a fresh start. You’ve already completed your sobriety program and you’re intent on staying clean for good. Most recovering addicts don’t understand what kinds of torment the body goes through when abusing drugs or alcohol. To really stay on the path and continue recovering, it’s important to be more careful with the kind of food you eat.

Negative Effects of Addiction tothe Body


Those addicted to alcohol tend to consume high amounts of alcoholic drinks with zero nutritional value and high amounts of calories. Unfortunately, wine, beer, and hard drinks tend to give the feeling of fullness so they don’t eat enough food. Therefore, those who are addicted to alcohol don’t eat enough food, leading to malnourishment.

On the other hand, drug-dependent people tend to focus more on getting their next hit so much that they don’t eat at all. By the time drug-dependent or alcohol-dependent people enter rehab, their bodies are in such a bad shape.


When you get proper nourishment, the body doesn’t get enough feel-good chemicals such as tryptophan. Tryptophan is the building block of serotonin, the happy hormone. When there’s not enough tryptophan in the brain, a person gets depressed, anxious, or paranoid. Addicts tend to abuse drugs or alcohol to get high. But eating tryptophan-rich food can give you the same effect, minus the life-threatinghealth problems that come with addiction.

Liver Damage

Perhaps one of the most dangerous effects of drugs or alcohol addiction is liver damage. The combination of drugs/alcohol and decreased nutrition causes the liver to malfunction. The liver will not be able to filter the toxins in the body. Eventually, the liver swells and fails. It’s not uncommon for addicts to develop liver cancer over time.

Eating Balanced Meal as You Recover

Although you can’t reverse all the damage your addiction caused your health, you can rebuild your body to make it stronger and healthier. How do you start eating healthy as you recover from substance abuse? Consider these tips:

Stay Away From Sugar

The key towards recovery is making better choices— not just in life but also in diet. You want to stay away from fattening foods laden with refined carbohydrates like pastries, white bread, white rice, or cakes. Too much sugar could cause mood fluctuations. Instead, opt for foods rich in complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grains, and oats.

Eat Lean Protein

A healthy, well-balanced meal consists of the right portions of lean proteins, greens, fruits, and little carbs. We recommend getting your protein from lean meats, poultry, and fish. It helps to prepare your meals the healthy way. No deep frying or butter basting!

Opt for Healthy Snacks

Let’s face it: there are times when you get a bad case of the munchies and you must snack. Snacking is okay as long as you choose healthier options. For instance, instead of snacking on French fries, why not try kale chips instead? Rather than eat ice cream, turn to plain yogurt with fresh fruits;a tasty treat minus all the calories!

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