When you hear the term “healthy eating,” what do you think of? Do you roll your eyes, assuming it means endless salads, leafy green juices, and smoothies? Maybe your mind immediately thinks about all of the treats to be missed out on – no cakes, cookies, brownies, or ice cream. What a miserable way to live, right?
The truth is, healthy eating doesn’t have to mean cutting out all things sweet or being on a strict diet of only certain foods. There are many ways to ensure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet. You can find health books, ads, and information everywhere you turn. What is really important, however, is making sure you eat what your body needs to function well so you can perform and feel your very best.
Benefits of Good Nutrition
There are endless benefits to eating healthy and choosing nutrient-dense foods. You’ll not only feel better but should see improvements in overall functioning. By avoiding eating excessive amounts of certain foods, such as refined carbohydrates and sugars, you can improve both your physical and mental health.
You hear all about crash diets and quick-fix diets these days, but developing healthy habits to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods in your diet can be more beneficial long-term. Things such as focus, mood, digestion, blood pressure, and even sleep can improve drastically just by maintaining a healthy diet. (Learn more about the advantages of healthy eating here.)
Physical Health Benefits
It can be assumed that a poor or nutritionally lacking diet can take a toll on your physical health. Studies conclude that a diet high in refined carbohydrates results in an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. This is due to the rate at which these foods are absorbed and their effect on blood glucose and insulin levels.
Let’s talk about what you should eat instead. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy (or substitutes) into your diet daily is key. Foods that fall into these categories can help boost your immunity, aid in maintaining strong bones and muscles, and improve your digestive function.
By choosing foods with fewer sugars and more nutritional value, you will have more energy, better focus, and better sleep. Not to mention it can be easier to manage your weight, blood pressure, and insulin and glucose levels. Maintaining your physical health during treatment is very important. Feeling your best physically during this time can benefit your overall experience and keep you on track to recovery.
Mental Health Benefits
Consuming an abundance of sugary, simple carb-filled foods can also impact your psychological well-being. Because of the way these foods are processed by the body and the impact they have on insulin and blood sugar levels, you are more likely to experience symptoms related to anxiety or depression. The rapid increase and decrease in these levels creates an imbalance in hormones, ultimately affecting your mood.
Instead, opt for a balanced diet that supports your mental health. Fruits and vegetables along with foods high in omega-3s are excellent brain foods. Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables (including those leafy greens!) can leave you feeling better mentally and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. A healthy, balanced diet can help stabilize your mood and promote a more consistent, optimistic outlook during treatment and recovery.
Implementing Good Nutrition
Learning what to eat and how much of it is needed to achieve optimal health can be daunting. Even if you have a very specific diet, or consider yourself to be a picky eater, there are ways to get the nutrients you need. Using resources such as MyPlate can help you identify what foods to eat, how often to eat them, and in what amount.
Keeping a food journal can also be beneficial. This allows you to track what you eat, and how you feel in response. Everybody is different and can react differently to different foods and diets. Tracking your nutrition and personal responses to what you eat can help you narrow down foods that may not be suitable for you, as well as what works best.
Meal planning and prepping is also an excellent way to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to feel your best. Whether you choose to prepare meals for the week ahead of time or just plan out your menu for the week or month, you are more likely to avoid eating poorly. A lack of planning can often lead to impulse eating or grabbing what is most convenient. During treatment and recovery, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet can support your efforts to stay on track by helping you feel great mentally and physically.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet can benefit your health in many ways. Many physical health challenges can be avoided or improved with good nutrition. Mental health components such as mood, anxiety, and focus can also be improved and managed by making good diet choices daily. Feeling your best during treatment is important to your immediate and long-term success. At Renaissance Ranch, we take a holistic approach to treatment and prioritize treating the whole person through our various programs and services. Let us help you achieve overall health and sobriety by creating a plan to address your specific needs. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, consider reaching out to us for help. We offer an array of options from residential treatment to support groups and therapy. Make the choice to seek help today! Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.