The Importance of Nutrition in Addiction Treatment & Long-Term Recovery
When overcoming addiction, learning how to implement a healthy diet may sound overwhelming. But the truth is that nutrition is one of the most important parts of recovery. A healthy diet can help you get through every stage of your recovery journey because the food we eat has a major effect on our mental and physical health. A balanced diet can even reduce the chances of relapse. Let’s review more about the importance of nutrition in addiction treatment and long-term recovery.
Nutrition and Addiction
When you are suffering from a substance abuse disorder, you often neglect to properly take care of yourself. You may forget to eat, forgo food for drugs, or eat a largely processed diet. This type of unbalanced diet can leave your body in a constant state of nutrient deficiency. In fact, many people who enter treatment for substance abuse are significantly malnourished. 1
One of the major negative impacts of alcohol abuse is that it decreases the absorption of vital nutrients, which can contribute to health issues down the line. This is just one reason why a holistic approach to recovery is vital. Your body is severely lacking in nutrients it desperately needs in order to operate properly, especially when you begin a long and stressful journey such as addiction recovery. With the right balance of macro and micronutrients, your mind and body will be able to more easily handle recovery.
How Does Food Affect My Mental Health?
More and more research is showing a significant connection between your gut health and your mental health. In fact, the gut has its own nervous system, located in the lining of our intestines. This is commonly referred to as our ‘second brain’ and has two-way communication with our brain and central nervous system. This communication actually links emotional and cognitive function with our intestines. 2 Since the food you eat majorly impacts the health of your gut, it also impacts the health of your central nervous system. It contributes to our levels of anxiety, happiness, even our mood, learning, and memory abilities.
Additionally, about 95% of Serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. The ‘good’ bacteria in your GI tract are what influence the production of your Serotonin. 3 Since serotonin is responsible for helping your body regulate your sleep, moods, appetite, and even pain, the importance of a nutrient-rich diet can’t be understated.
The Importance of Nutrition During Addiction Treatment During Detox
A balanced diet during detox is extremely important. When the food you consume is packed with nutrients, your body has all it needs to function most efficiently. Staying properly hydrated and nourished can dramatically reduce the discomfort you experience during detox.
Improved Mental Health and Nutrition
As previously stated, the food you consume has a major effect on your mental health. And that’s why it’s so important to maintain a healthy diet during addiction recovery. When you eat a balanced diet with all the nutrients you’ve been missing, you will feel less anxious and depressed, which can give you more hope and energy to start and continue your new, sober lifestyle. Additionally, with your Serotonin levels increased, you’ll feel happier have more predictable and regulated moods.
Better Nutrition = Better Sleep
Since the food you eat can influence your sleep habits, you’ll be able to sleep better. When you improve the quality of your sleep, you reduce the amount of anxiety and depression you experience.4 This can have a major effect on how motivated you are to stick with addiction treatment.
Overall, the food you eat has a major impact on your chances of success during addiction treatment. When your body is properly nourished, your sleep is improved, your mood is stabilized, and you will have a much easier time in recovery. With all these factors combined, you will have fewer cravings and bad moods that trigger your substance cravings, so your chance of relapse is significantly diminished. 5
Contact Spring Gardens Recovery Today
A holistic approach to addiction treatment will ensure life-long sobriety for anyone who has been struggling with addiction. When you finally begin giving your body the nutrients it needs, you will succeed. At Spring Garden Recovery we focus on healing the body and mind in unison so that you have the greatest chance at success. If you are ready to get started, please contact us today.
Samantha Nettleton, CCTP, CMHIMP is the Chief Operating Officer and Clinical Director for Spring Gardens Recovery. After completing and receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Services (Concentrations in Mental Health & Addiction Counseling), she became licensed for the State of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor. She has also been a recovery coach since 2012. Samantha specializes in Trauma, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse, Process Addictions, and Other Mental Health Disorders.