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How Eating Healthy Can Help You Cope with Drug Addiction

Maintaining freedom from addiction remains an on-going challenge long after the treatment and the initial phases of recovery.

During the process of addiction treatment, you were able to address and overcome your addiction with a structured program in place. The combination of individual and group therapy, 12-step group support, life skills training, and other conventional practices can all be practical tools for overcoming addiction. Maintaining recovery from addiction often requires a holistic approach to abstinence that includes the benefits of a healthy diet.

One of the most important ways to help you cope with the ravages addiction is eating healthy and adopting proper nutritional habits. A proper diet helps you regain your physical and mental health, and it enables you to restore confidence in yourself. This article will further explain the role of healthy eating and nutrition in coping with recovery from addiction.

Healthy Eating: A Powerful Healer

Years of substance abuse can rob the body of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to function at its best. When you are abusing drugs and alcohol, your diet may primarily consist of junk food—and you may go considerable periods without eating.  When the body goes long periods without healthy food, you will experience significant nutritional deficiencies that make the body more susceptible to organ damage and disease. Malnutrition also increases the chances of developing mental such as depression and anxiety.

During the recovery process, you learn the importance of proper nutrition and eating healthy. During your time in addiction treatment, your program may have ensured that you ate balanced healthy meals. Eating healthy helps you regain optimal body and brain functioning. Also, healthy eating decreases the risk of feeling the cravings that can lead you to relapse and back to active addiction.

In What Ways Does Healthy Eating Help Cope with Addiction?

The role of proper nutrition and healthy eating is often talked about in the recovery process. However, a healthy diet requires discipline—and it can often be forgotten about during the hustle and bustle of the day. While it can be challenging to maintain, you must maintain healthy eating habits during your recovery from drug addiction.

The main benefits are the following:

Healthy Eating Helps Regulate Your Mood

Engaging in healthy eating habits goes a long way in helping stabilize your mood and helps to reverse damaging psychological effects. When you abuse drugs and alcohol, the brain is unable to produce the neurotransmitters needed to help stabilize mood.

Certain foods can help minimize wild mood swings and help you regain emotional and mental balance. For example, consuming carbohydrates increases the production of serotonin, which will help you maintain a happy mood.  Likewise, eating foods rich in amino acids allows your brain to produce neurotransmitters that also regulate mood and prevents the wild mood swings that often accompany the recovery process. Additionally, fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids decrease brain inflammation and help ease depression.

Healthy Eating Reduces Cravings

Of all the factors that lead to relapse, cravings are near or at the top of the list. If you are craving your drug of choice, it is because you are experiencing low blood sugar and dehydration. It is essential to eat healthy during the early stages of recovery. As your body slowly heals from the effects of addiction, you will experience intense hunger that may be confused with feeling cravings. You may try to satisfy your hunger with sweets and processed foods, but your cravings will remain constant—and the threat of relapse looms larger.

When you eat several times during the day and eat smaller meals, you will get the nutrients you need to satisfy your hunger and mind. Be sure you eat foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. You also want to minimize your intake of sugar and fats. A considerable benefit of healthy eating is that it decreases the likelihood of emotional eating or binge eating. If these abnormal eating behaviors are not checked, it can lead to the development of eating disorders such as bulimia.

Take Care of Yourself

Healthy eating is a vital part of your daily self-care routine—especially if you are coping with drug addiction and are in recovery. When you eat healthily and keep proper nutrition in mind, you will begin to feel and look better. Along with other self-care regimens, healthy eating can give you the confidence and empowerment you need to sustain the recovery you worked hard to achieve.