Does nutrition play a role in substance abuse recovery?

Apr 29, 2021

You probably remember your mom telling you to eat your veggies, but you didn’t really appreciate the wisdom of what she was telling you at the time. Years of medical research and study tell us Mom knew what she was talking about – good nutrition is key to a long and healthy life. But what if you’re recovering from substance abuse? Can good nutrition aid in your rehabilitation? We heard from several healthy eating enthusiasts. Here’s what they had to say:
Heather Hanks

Heather Hanks

Heather Hanks, M.S. Nutritionist at Instapot Life.

Proper nutrition is always important

Nutrition can most certainly play a role in helping you recover from addiction. Proper nutrition is always important. However, it’s especially important to feed yourself well if you are trying to get over an addiction and possibly recover from any associated health risks.

Foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber can help flush toxins and harmful substances from your body, which may help speed up the recovery process.

This may be a good time to perform a liver detox and focus on foods that support healthy neurotransmitter levels to decrease depression and support cognitive function so that you can stay strong both mentally and physically.

Lack of nutrition

Lack of nutrition because one consumes sugar is probably at the core of all substance abuse. When we are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and have a lack of nutrients, we will be less likely to think clearly. This causes us to seek comfort and can exacerbate existing substance abuse issues.

As it relates to recovery, nutrition has a large role to play. If we consume a lot of sugar while in early rehab, and we will, this can cause our bodies to continue to have cravings due to the sugar/alcohol connection (bacteria consume sugar and produce alcohol). But when addressing sugar, we have to recognize that it is a lack of nutrition. If we can consume a nutrient-dense diet, meaning for every calorie we ingest we are cognizant to be also ingesting vitamins and minerals. Those natural nutrients will aid us in repairing the system which we have been previously damaging as well as gain access to a clear-thinking mind much quicker.

Being hungry is never a recipe for making good decisions, so the advice, “Don’t eat sugar,” should be taken with a grain of salt. If all we can muster is a meal deal at McDonald’s, well sugar be damned. Just eat up. When options are available and we have the financial and emotional means to eat nutrient-dense foods, [we] will allow our bodies and minds to cope with withdrawal and cravings at a much better rate.

Martin Jon

Martin Jon

With over 20 years clean and sober MartinJon is putting his experience to good use and is focused on supporting caregivers. Bringing a wider conversation to the fore by focusing on “RecoveringTo,” he is including all of us into a previously closed conversation.
Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson, founder of Sawinery.

Healthy mind and body

Yes, nutrition plays a vital role in substance abuse recovery because it is an essential component of an individual’s mental health along with physical health. It has the elements that help in coping with one’s mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that most of the time lead to drug addiction. Proper nutrition results in a healthy mind and body, which is are great factors when it comes to self-care, good decision making, well-being, and self-healing from substance abuse.

Food plays a vital role

There are numerous research [studies] that link nutrition and substance abuse recovery. One factor that sparks relapse is the person’s cravings toward the substance and what they’re feeling. Food plays a vital role in one’s emotions. When someone’s trying to recover from substance abuse, it’s crucial to not just focus on the medical perspective of substance abuse, but also on one’s nutrition. This involves the person’s diet, sleep schedule, and exercise.

Matthew Grammer

Matthew Grammer

Matthew Grammer, Founder of Kentucky Counseling Center. He is also a Licensed Clinical Counselor in the state of Kentucky.
Charles McMillan

Charles McMillan

Charles McMillan, a businessman and founder of Stand With Main Street.

Balanced diet

Based on my past experiences with my previous employees and friends who have gone through this kind of situation, what we feed our bodies plays an important role in detoxifying ourselves from substance abuse. Proper nutrition and being well-hydrated are the key elements in recovering from the trauma that your body has experienced. Consuming a good amount of essential nutrients can and will help you to regain strength, rebuild muscles, and maintain overall health.

A balanced diet can be the smartest way to quickly recover from addiction.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.