Last Updated on October 25, 2021 by Morris Green
20.5 million American adults who have a substance use disorder (SUD) report that they are in recovery, states the latest finding of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This proves that SUD is a treatable disorder and can be managed successfully. Medical professionals have been focusing on the relationship between mental and physical health in the last few decades. A well-balanced diet, sufficient rest and sleep, and staying active are significant factors in the improvement of mental well-being, while enhancing mental health through therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication substantially improve physical health. Learn more about how nutrition plays a role in supporting recovery from SUD.
Importance Of Nutrition
Food has an important function to make the body and brain function efficiently. The body needs carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins to thrive. Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial to stay mentally and physically healthy. While in active addiction, proper diet is often neglected. Those who have SUD may eat poorly, fail to eat, or binge eat. These behaviors lead to malnutrition. Substances also affect metabolism and organ function which makes it difficult for the body to absorb, digest, and use nutrients properly. Making healthy eating habits will greatly aid recovery as these will steady mood, enhance focus, and increase energy. Poor nutrition may make one susceptible to depression, distraction, fatigue, and cravings, which are counterintuitive for healing.
What’s On The Menu
Eating good carbohydrates together with protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, essential fats, and lots of water have been shown to aid in reducing withdrawal symptoms for those on the first steps to recovery. This combination of food helps balance the level of serotonin, a hormone that helps with relaxation. Eating foods that contain healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates, amino acids, folic acid, and B-complex vitamins will help reduce cravings. Studies have shown that eating foods with omega-3 and omega-5 decreases the risk for relapse. Research also shows that for alcoholism, a ketogenic diet changes the brain metabolism of people with alcohol use disorder. It also decreases the need for medication and lessens withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings. The keto diet is high in good fats, very low in carbohydrates, and low to moderate proteins.
More Good Habits
Having a well-balanced diet is just the first step to proper nutrition. For a successful recovery, it will be extremely beneficial to eat meals and snacks regularly. Do not wait until famished before eating and eat until full, not gorged. Practice mindful eating. Avoid processed foods, soda, chips, and fast food. Join a cooking class and strive to make good nutrition a part of everyday life.
A healthy diet is not the only factor in recovery from SUD. It is undeniable though how good nutrition is the backbone of both physical and mental well-being. Tied together with therapy, medication, and other lifestyle changes, these will all bring balance to mind, body, and spirit to achieve sobriety.