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The Importance of Nutrition in Early Recovery

One of the building blocks for a sober lifestyle is learning the importance of nutrition in early recovery. Addiction can take a significant toll on the body because it must work extra hard to eliminate the toxic, addictive substance. Nutrition can be the critical element to repairing the mind and body. Learning healthy nutrition life skills will carry through the future sober lifestyle. 

How Substance Abuse Disrupts Nutrition

Substance abuse can disrupt any benefit a nutritious diet can afford the body. Vitamin deficiencies, an imbalance of electrolytes, and a suppressed immune system can cause muscle weakness and inconsistent heart rate. Depression thrives in this weakened physical state. Nutrition in early recovery can begin to mend the damage. Addicts may experience any of the following symptoms of addiction:

  • Loss of appetite because a broad range of drugs suppress appetite
  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, from an improper diet
  • Poor diet due to poor decisions, living on readily available fast food and sweets
  • Gastrointestinal disorders can become chronic because of drugs and alcohol
  • Organ damage can occur, which breaks down nutrients and processes foods 

Drugs and alcohol each have their effects on the mind and body. It’s important to realize that when drugs and alcohol combine in addiction, it’s an additional hit to the body. The following information describes how each addiction affects the body. The descriptions emphasize the importance of nutrition in early recovery.

Addiction to Alcohol

Alcoholics are prone to diseases of the liver and pancreas. Alcohol prevents the nutritional value of the food from being absorbed by the body. The pancreas produces enzymes that digest fats, proteins, and carbs and produce hormones for balancing blood sugar levels. Anemia, lethargy, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath can result from a lack of folic acid, vitamin B6, and thiamine. The liver is a filter for breaking down toxins in the body. Good nutrition in early recovery can reverse some issues. 

Addiction to Opioids

Opioid addicts tend towards gastrointestinal problems due to chronic constipation. Overuse of laxatives can cause additional issues. Vomiting and heartburn plague the opioid addict. Disordered eating patterns, because of the side effect of appetite suppression, can initiate malnutrition. Increasing fiber and good nutrition in early recovery can help with constipation. 

Addiction to Marijuana 

Marijuana addiction breeds cravings for food rife with saturated fats, sugar, and salt. Side effects of marijuana include increased appetite. Diets including large amounts of these foods can increase cholesterol and lead to heart disease and failure. What’s more, diabetes is another issue common with marijuana addiction. A balanced diet with good nutrition early in recovery can begin to reverse these effects. 

Addiction to Stimulants

Stimulants with appetite-suppressing properties can lead to dehydration, vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, and malnutrition. Malnutrition in itself can cause tooth decay, sores on body limbs, hair loss, and low weight. Depression and anxiety can affect mental clarity. Muscle wasting, low body temps, and irregular heart rhythms can reverse once proper nutrition early in recovery begins. 

The Importance of Nutrition in Early Recovery

Nutrition study seems complicated and lengthy to absorb; six nutrient groups come from the food we consider essentials. These six nutrient groups divide into micronutrients and macronutrients. Treatment plans include nutrition early in recovery to teach the addict how to live a healthy, sober lifestyle. Macronutrients are essential for the body in large amounts to maintain function. Also, micronutrients are consumed in smaller portions but are just as crucial. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Our bodies need thirteen vitamins for good nutrition in early recovery. After all, these vitamins support the immune system, help calcium absorption, aid in protein and carb metabolizing, develop strong bones and teeth, and support brain and nervous system functions. In addition, major and trace minerals are responsible for proper hydration levels, healthy hair and bones, good blood pressure, blood clotting, oxygen transfer, and prevention of tooth decay. 

Protein and Carbohydrates

Proteins contribute to muscle building and exist in every cell in the body. The body needs various protein sources to supply amino acids only absorbed through food. Carbs address the needs of the central nervous system and brain. However, bleached flour and sugar are carbohydrates to be avoided. In short, nutrition in early recovery requires a high percentage of complex carbs in the diets of recovering addicts. 

Fats, Fatty Acids, and Life-Saving Water

There are two types of fats; healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are responsible for hormone production, blood clotting, muscle function, blood sugar regulation, brain function, vitamin absorption, and immune system support. Water is critical for brain function, mood regulation, toxin attacks, and moving nutrients through the cells.  

Top Foods for Addiction Recovery

Nutritional intake during detox and nutrition in early recovery is highly monitored and planned. The addict’s body works overtime to remove the drugs and alcohol from the system during detox. Therefore, as soon as possible, professionals use a solid nutritional plan to aid in the process. As treatment ensues after detox, patients learn how to provide a balanced diet for a sober lifestyle. 

The following foods provide the nutritional components for a healthy diet:

  • Poultry and fish
  • Tofu
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Blueberries
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

Discovering the connections between the foods we eat is a journey in wellness. Building physical and mental strength through a balanced diet is a goal for sober living. Also, experimenting with foods to provide a balanced diet can improve self-esteem and confidence. In other words, the journey began with using good nutrition in early recovery. 

Find the Importance of Good Nutrition in Early Recovery in Tennessee

When searching for addiction recovery centers that believe good nutrition can be instrumental in successful detox, check into Tennessee Valley Recovery. Our staff offers nutrition and life skills to carry our clients onto a successful sober life. We offer positive and successful experiences with addiction treatment. Contact us to discuss your concerns and implement an assessment.