The path to addiction recovery isn’t always easy and some days, you’ll feel like you’re in survival mode. While it’s normal to crave sugary treats or fast food when you’re having a tough day, recovery is a time when your food choices matter more than ever. Drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on your body: Alcohol abuse can make it difficult for your body to properly break down nutrients, and opiate drugs can cause a variety of gastrointestinal problems. A balanced diet made up of nutrient-rich whole foods can keep you mentally and physically strong and lower your risk of relapse. Here are five best-bet choices you can rely on during your addiction recovery:
5 Go-to Healthy Foods for Addiction Recovery
1. Yogurt: When you’re recovering from substance abuse, you may still be dealing with lingering stomach issues. The probiotics found in yogurt can help get your digestive system running smoothly again. Not only are probiotics great for your stomach, but they’re also thought to have a positive effect on the immune system. Yogurt is one of the best sources of these helpful bacteria, but other foods that are loaded with probiotics include pickles and sauerkraut.
2. Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the healthiest fats around; in fact, they serve as the building blocks of our bodies’ essential fats. A diet rich in omega-3 fats will help your body restore itself from the ravages of addiction. Wild salmon is one of the best sources of these fatty acids, but walnuts, other types of seafood and soy products also provide moderate levels of omega-3s.
3. Eggs: Protein is an essential nutrient– it helps the brain release chemicals such as dopamine and various endorphins. Your body’s levels of these “feel-good” neurotransmitters are usually out of whack when you’re recovering from an addiction. Eggs are packed with protein and can help your body get back to its normal neurochemical levels. If you don’t care for eggs, lean meats, dairy products and fish are other good sources of protein.
4. Broccoli: Fiber is essential for your body’s well-being– it regulates your digestive system, keeps your weight in check and helps you manage your blood sugar levels. Fiber-rich foods like broccoli, cauliflower and apples are rich in nutrients and can help your body renew itself during recovery. Whole-grain breads and cereals also pack a significant fiber punch.
5. Strawberries: Vitamin C is important for building the immune system. Addiction can break down the body’s natural defenses; you can build them back up with vitamin C-rich foods such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruits and tomatoes. It’s possible to get this important nutrient through vitamin supplements, but your body can use vitamin C more effectively when you consume it in its natural form.
Addiction robs your body of the valuable nutrients it needs to thrive. A balanced diet is always beneficial, but it’s never more important than when you are in recovery. By choosing nutritious, unprocessed foods, you can help your body repair the damage caused by substance abuse and begin a healthy new lifestyle.