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Nutrition, Addiction, and Recovery

Posted on :  June 29th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

The old adage, “You are what you eat,” seems to be especially timely in 2015. Social media, blogs, and traditional new outlets have been inundating readers with the importance of making good food choices. From buying locally grown produce and organic produce to avoiding foods that are heavily manufactured, nutrition is a hot topic right now. Nutritionists and food experts know that eating a diet of unprocessed food can help people fight disease and when good nutrition is paired with regular exercise, health only seems to improve. People who are recovering from their addictions to drugs and alcohol can help themselves by making wise food choices.

Poor Food Choices Create Health Problems

The choices we make with food can help fight addiction, and it can help fuel it, too. One of the most common triggers for addicts in recovery is anxiety. Unfortunately, most people who have anxiety are not diagnosed until they have lived with it for a long time. When anxiety and addiction are paired, it is more likely that addiction will become the salve for anxiety. Interestingly, anxiety can be triggered by certain foods, too. Men and women with anxiety should avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and eating foods with caffeine. This commonly used drug will create more anxiety, increase irritability, and change moods.

People with anxiety should also avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages. While they might seem calming at first, they will cause more irritability as the alcoholic beverages are digested. An anxious person will appreciate the calming sensation at first, then will want more of it once the irritability increases.

Avoiding Self-Medicating by Drinking Water

Instead of self-medicating with alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs, it is better to look at the foods that can actually help with anxious feelings. Experts found that the best beverage for people with anxiety is actually water. Along with drinking plenty of water, anxiety can be calmed by eating complex carbohydrates, like quinoa and oatmeal, as well as healthy proteins, too.

Good Foods to Fight Anxiety and Speed Up Recovery

When people who are fighting addiction and/or anxiety eat simple carbohydrates, they are likely to have mood swings and irritability. These sensations are caused by the glucose spike that occurs after eating refined sugars and grains. While foods like pasta, sandwich bread, and candy taste good, they do not help the body in any way other than providing calories. The last thing that anyone who is working to fight addiction needs is food that can create more problems, especially with mood. Simple carbohydrates can actually cause more cravings that can lead to physical problems like diabetes due to obesity along with heart and/or gastrointestinal issues.

Work with a Nutritionist

What you eat can either help or hinder your addiction recovery. Since anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with addiction, it is helpful to create a nutritional program that will ease both problems. Working with a nutritionist is the best way to develop a healthy eating program that will help you avoid falling into unhealthy traps. A low glycemic diet will ease anxiety and help prevent relapse. The proper diet will reduce cravings, balance brain chemicals, and create healthy sleep and wake cycles. Along with eating good, clean food, many nutritionists will suggest supplements that will help with digestion.

Add Exercise and Meditation for More Benefits

Succeeding in addiction recovery does take more than just clean eating. It takes a clean lifestyle. Along with a healthy diet, it can be helpful to meditate and exercise regularly. The physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of meditation and regular exercise will help end anxious feelings and provide a positive outlook on life.

If you have any questions about the benefits of diet with your recovery, contact the addiction counselors at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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