When you are misusing substances or are struggling with addiction, you will suffer many physical body symptoms. One of the most important but little cared for is your nutrition. Healthy nutrition prioritization falls to the wayside as you spend time and money differently, and your entire body suffers the effects. That’s one of the reasons a prioritization of nutrition in addiction recovery is critical.
Food Fuels Your Body
You likely learned it in health classes in school: food is fuel. It fuels your body, and it fuels your brain. A calorie is a unit that measures energy, and not only do you need energy, but you also need the appropriate type of energy and calories. Your body breaks food down into glucose to be used for energy or stored for later use. You also need good carbohydrates for short-burst energy needs and proteins and healthy fats to fuel your cells molecularly. The right food fuels your brain as well, ensuring you can function at your best.
When you’re struggling with addiction, nutrition and health are your last priority. You’re probably not spending your money on healthy groceries, and you’re probably not spending your time or energy on cooking healthy meals or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As you continue to neglect your nutrition in addiction, your body’s function and overall well-being will suffer.
How Does Addiction Affect Nutrition And Diet?
When you’re struggling with addiction, your eating habits may change. You may find you have a poor appetite because of the substances you’re using, or you may find you don’t have the money to spend on food, much less healthy food. You may find you don’t even want to eat at all anyway because your appetite is suppressed. Or you may find you binge eat—when you’re coming off a high, you may find you have an insatiable appetite, and you eat even though you are full. But, you may not feel like regularly eating for a significant amount of time after that binge.
These poor dietary habits will mean you’re just not getting the nutrition you need. Your body cannot work at its basic cellular level because it’s not fueled correctly. This can even affect your mental health. Research continues to show the connection between good gut health (a product of proper nutrition) and your brain. It’s often referred to as the gut-brain axis.1 A healthy gut means a healthier brain, and without proper nutrition, your body suffers in many different ways. 2 Over time, as you get deeper into your addiction, your lack of adequate nutrition will lead to your malnourishment. This can result in physical issues including:
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Heart inconsistencies
- Muscle degeneration
- Suppressed immune system
The Role of Nutrition In Addiction Recovery
Just as your body suffers when you’re not giving it proper nutrition, the right food can make a huge difference in addiction recovery. When you’re fueling your body and its cellular functions, it can begin to heal itself from the inside out. Research continues to show the positive effects of proper nutrition in addiction recovery 2 and the importance of prioritizing proper nutrition when you’re working through recovery. Taking the time to learn how to fuel your body appropriately and work toward that goal is self-care, an essential function of long-term recovery. When you’re eating correctly and fueling your body, you’ll also be supporting gut health. When your gut is more robust, your natural immunity is stronger, but so is the gut-brain axis.3
This means you’re more prepared to battle not only the physical effects of misuse and addiction but the mental ones as well. Eating right and ensuring your body gets what it needs to function at its best level are just as important as therapeutic or pharmacological approaches to recovery. Your neural connections will begin repairing themselves, helping you to make better long-term decisions. Lastly, you will be strengthening your gut health by eating healthier.
Learning How To Focus On Nutrition In Addiction Recovery: The Spring Gardens Recovery Difference
At Spring Gardens Recovery, we don’t just focus on your addiction. We focus on your whole self—your mind, body, and spirit. Our holistic approach to helping you find the healing and life you deserve is one where we help you learn how to take care of yourself holistically. We know that a holistic approach will help you heal both body and mind, including fueling your body appropriately. Our trained and compassionate staff will offer several holistic approaches to assisting you in your journey to long-term sobriety. It will focus on ensuring you have the nutritional education you need to be your best, healthiest self.
You don’t have to walk this path alone. We’re here for you and want to help you heal from the inside out. Contact us today so you can get started on the you that you were meant to be.