The Importance of Healthy Nutrition in Recovery

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Unpacking the importance of healthy nutrition for our minds, bodies, and recoveries.

Healthy nutrition is one of the essential healthy habits. Oftentimes, in our focus on sobriety and recovery, we can forget just how vital it is to be getting proper vitamins and nutrients and to be eating foods that make us feel our very best. In recovery, we need all of the physical and mental support we can get and healthy nutrition offers a foundation for greater physical and mental health. In this article, we’ll look at how healthy food choices can help us combat some of the physical effects of addiction. We’ll also examine the link between healthy eating and our mental states, as well as the importance of finding balance and knowing what works for you. Lastly, we’ll get into some of the nutritional specifics — vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and other important factors.

Healthy Nutrition Helps Combat the Physical Effects of Addiction

Drugs and alcohol have negative effects on our minds and bodies. As toxic substances, they actually slowly start to break down our bodies’ organs and systems. We can find ourselves depleted of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, not only because we didn’t prioritize healthy nutrition during active addiction, but also because our substances of choice did some serious damage to our bodies. The good news is that the body is actually eager to repair itself. The body wants to be happy, healthy, nutrient-rich and energized. When we give it a chance to repair itself during recovery, we start to see really wonderful results. We feel more energized, less sluggish, and we can feel our bodies rejuvenating. However, sometimes we need to help them a little by adding in lots of nutritious foods. While eating properly is always important, it can be especially important during early recovery, as our bodies are often depleted and tired.

Hydration is an extremely important part of a healthy body and mind. When using drugs and alcohol regularly, our systems can quickly become chronically dehydrated. This impacts our electrolytes, minerals, and energy levels. Make sure you’re drinking adequate water, especially if you’re exercising a lot. Additionally, eating foods that are naturally hydrating, like fruits and vegetables, will ensure proper hydration and high energy. To restore electrolyte imbalances, drink more water while also consuming foods with lots of minerals like potassium and magnesium. These include bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, vegetables, beans, and grains. Unhealthy nutrition can also deplete our immune system, which can lead to increased sickness. Ensuring high immunity means eating lots of fruits and veggies, as well as foods rich in vitamins C, E, D, and B6. 

The Connection Between Our Food and Our Mind

When we eat lots of sugar or processed foods, we feel sluggish, drained, and depleted. These foods tend to give us a quick burst of energy followed by an inevitable crash. In recovery, we want our food choices to support our recovery and life goals. We want to feel balanced and have sustained energy, positive minds, and energized bodies. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals will strengthen our state of mind and mood, improving our overall recovery journeys and laying the groundwork for healthy habits in the future.

Back to Basics

Oftentimes, the media makes dieting or healthy nutrition seem very complicated. There are tons of supplements, powders, bars, and fad diets out there. The truth is, getting back to basics is the key to lasting health. Remember that old piece of wisdom, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it’s not far off. We want to eat foods that come from nature, like fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy protein sources. Foods high in fiber, vibrant in color, and with a variety of nutritional properties are wholesome, sustainable, inexpensive, and will leave us feeling our absolute best. You don’t have to get complicated or fancy with your diet in order to eat healthfully. In fact, some of the healthy foods on the planet are found in abundance.

Finding Balance

As with most things, healthy nutrition is all about finding balance. If you find yourself obsessing over your food choices or being severely vigilant, you might want to examine your relationship with your food routines. Healthy nutrition should increase your mental health, not decrease it. If you want to treat yourself to sugary cakes or processed foods once in a while, that’s fine. Just focus on laying the groundwork for healthy daily nutrition. In recovery, it’s easy to trade one addiction for another. Let healthy eating be an area of calmness and reprieve rather than stress. 

What About Caffeine?

Caffeine can increase stress and anxiety and should be used sparingly. This is a personal choice. Take notice of how you’re using caffeine and how it’s impacting your life and your recovery. Typically, small amounts of caffeine like a cup of coffee or tea per day, shouldn’t have a negative impact. However, if you’re noticing a dependence on caffeine or you’re drinking coffee as your only source of energy, it might be time to examine your intake. Remember that your energy should come from good sleep and healthy nutrition.

Find What Works for You

Most importantly, find what nutritional program works best for you. Listen to your body and ask yourself what foods make you feel happiest, healthiest, and most energized. Some of it is simply a process of trial and error. Over time, you’ll fall into a healthy eating routine that’s sustainable, supportive of your recovery, nutritious, fun, and tasty. Additionally, you may want to consult with a nutritionist for your own specific nutritional needs and profile.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.

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