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Is Maintaining Good Nutrition Essential In Recovery?

Your diet directly impacts your physical and mental wellness. Offering your body as much nutrition as possible is vital, especially for someone in recovery. Not only does the use of drugs and alcohol impede your body's ability to function correctly but adding poor nutrition to that can lead to a myriad of health issues. 

When going through any stage of recovery, there are many steps — from detox to sober living. Each one of those steps requires a balanced diet of nutrition-dense foods. These foods aren't just better for your energy levels and mindset; healthy foods can help your body heal from the damage of substance abuse. 

Fruits and vegetables collected on a table.

The Impact of Substance Abuse on the Body 

Substance abuse affects your mind and body. Heavy use of drugs and alcohol can reduce your body's absorption of healthy and necessary vitamins, damage organs, and lead to other symptoms. When the body starts to deteriorate from the use of drugs or alcohol, a person can experience anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Such symptoms can make addicted individuals increase their substance use and put those in recovery at a greater risk of relapse.  

It is common for those with a substance use disorder (SUD) to have a poor diet. Drugs and alcohol can reduce your appetite and lead to malnutrition, decreasing your body's ability to function correctly. Also, spending a large portion of one's income on drugs or alcohol can lead to a struggle to afford healthy foods.  

Symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and malnutrition can distinguish themselves through cognitive impairment, muscle degeneration, irregular heart rate, poor immune system, and more. These effects can be long-term.  

The Benefits of Good Nutrition for Recovery 

Some of the damage that substance abuse can do is irreversible. Yet, if you can begin recovery early enough, you can also recover from these health issues. The benefits of good nutrition for recovery are numerous. Without a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and hydration, the body struggles to function at its highest level.  

When going through recovery from drugs or alcohol, your body needs all the energy at its disposal. Eating well doesn't just improve your physical wellness but also your mental and emotional state. Eating healthy and nutritious foods can even improve your mood.  

Your state of mind and positivity is a large part of your recovery. Without maintaining a level of hope throughout your journey, success isn't as likely. If proper nutrition can help you remain confident, why not try it? Along with affecting your mental outlook, having a well-balanced diet throughout recovery aids your immune system, helps your body's systems function and can improve damage done to tissue and organs from substance use.  

Your brain feeds on the rest of your body. When things in your body aren't working correctly and don't have the proper nutrients, some of the brain's abilities shut down. For example, your brain can struggle to adapt to sober living and understand recovery without certain nutritional elements. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association discusses how nutrition education is positively associated with the outcomes of substance abuse treatment programs. 

Man choosing nutritious food from the grocery.

How to Incorporate Good Nutrition in Recovery 

Good nutrition is about more than eating enough fruits and vegetables. Working with a physician to uncover what your body lacks can help you determine where to start. A nutritionist or other professionals can help you figure out a meal plan and how to afford what sort of diet you need on your budget.  

Following these guidelines and sticking to a healthy diet won't just improve your health and mental well-being due to the nutrients; the process of being responsible for your diet and maintaining your recovery will also help. Without nutrition education, recovery can become a lot less sustainable. Recovery is about more than not using drugs or alcohol; it is adjusting to an entirely new way of life. Your diet is such an essential aspect of your life, and therefore, is crucial to your recovery.  

Jumping into sober living and cutting out junk food and fast food can seem like a lot of change all at once, but you don't need to cut out all your favorite foods and eat straight kale and raw sunflower seeds every day. A healthy and nutritional diet can be vibrant and varied. You want to find foods you enjoy eating and offer nutritional benefits. Foods like fish, fruit, yogurt, and whole grains are great options when developing a healthy diet that you enjoy. 

Good Nutrition Is A Vital Part Of Healthy Living 

When you are going through recovery, you need to find a way to maintain your sobriety every day and feel good physically and mentally. Without the aid of a healthy diet, not only will you have lower energy levels, decreased immunity, and likely a negative mindset, but you could be putting your recovery in jeopardy. Also, relapse is more likely when you aren't getting the required nutrients your body needs to perform at its highest level. 

Drug and alcohol abuse wreak havoc on your body and its functions. Recovering from addiction and finding a way to live a full and healthy lifestyle includes developing sound eating habits. At, we have all the resources you need to work through every step of your recovery — from detox and treatment, to finding a healthy meal plan that works for you. 

Reach out to today to learn more.

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