A healthy diet sets the foundation for a healthy body and mind. According to Psychology Today (1), a well-balanced diet improves cognitive function, reduces the symptoms of certain mental health disorders and supports healthy organs.
When substance abuse harms your physical and emotional well-being, a healthy diet that consists of organic and fresh foods provides the nutrition that your body needs to start healing.
Substance Abuse and Nutrient Deficiencies
Substance abuse and addiction harm your body by limiting the way you absorb or use nutrients. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2), alcohol abuse inhibits or limits the breakdown of nutrients in your body and causes poor absorption of specific nutrients.
In particular, alcohol abuse causes folic acid deficiencies and harms your body’s natural defense systems.
The National Institutes of Health (3) report that opiate abuse also contributes to nutrient deficiencies and poor health. In the case of opiates, the deficiencies often stem from poor dietary habits. Individuals do not eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. In some cases, individuals avoid eating after abusing an opiate drug.
Drugs and alcohol impact the lives of individuals in different ways, but the risk of nutrient deficiencies and related health concerns increase when you regularly use or abuse a substance. Furthermore, the drug or alcohol abuse contributes to poor habits that harm your health and overall well-being.
Advantages of Organic and Fresh Foods
Following a well-balanced diet plan provides key benefits in the recovery process. The Mayo Clinic (4) explains that studies have not yet determined if organic foods have a greater level of nutrition when compared to conventionally grown foods, but it does provide certain advantages that improve your health and well-being.
The benefits of organic foods include:
- Lower exposure to pesticides or chemical products
- Limited exposure to food additives
- Better maintenance of the environment
- Greater health
Since substance abuse harms your body’s natural defenses and overall well-being, you want to eat organic and fresh foods as often as possible. Since organic farming does not spray the food items with pesticides, the limited exposure to harmful chemicals offers a chance for your body to heal and recover. Furthermore, a well-balanced diet sets a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Making Positive and Lasting Changes
Substance abuse recovery requires active change in your diet, exercise habits and your lifestyle. Psychology Today (1) says that a healthy and well-balanced diet actually reduces the symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, which allows you to focus on your long-term goals. By changing your dietary habits, you also ensure that your body obtains appropriate nutrients and heals.
The National Institutes of Health (5) suggest that you focus on eating regular meals that include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean sources of protein and complex carbohydrates. For example, eat a salad with chicken for a meal or opt for grilled fish with steamed vegetables.
Small and Frequent Portions
Eat meals at regular intervals and in small amounts so that your body properly absorbs the nutrients and you improve the way that your feel physically and emotionally.
Your diet plays an essential role in the way that you feel. An unhealthy and irregular diet contributes to substance abuse because it makes you feel unhealthy. By making changes to your eating habits, you improve the health of your physical body and reduce the symptoms of depression or similar complications.
A healthy diet gives you the energy to focus on recovery and the foundation to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
- Carolyn C. Ross, M.D., M.P.H., Healthy Gut, Healthy Mind: 5 Foods to Improve Mental Health, Psychology Today, January 29, 2013, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201301/healthy-gut-healthy-mind-5-foods-improve-mental-health
- Alcohol and Nutrition, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, October 1993, http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm
- Sepideh Nabipour, Mas Ayu Said, Mohd Hussain Habil, Burden and Nutritional Deficiencies in Opiate Addiction – Systematic Review Article, The National Institutes of Health, August 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4411899/
- Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious?, The Mayo Clinic, June 9, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880?pg=2
- Diet and Substance Use Recovery, The National Institutes of Health, February 24, 2014, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002149.htm