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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Five Nutrients Important for Recovery

nutrition addiction recoveryWhen you’re in recovery for substance addiction, it’s important to treat the body and the mind. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you sort out the psychological side of why you turned to drugs or alcohol for comfort. Nutritional therapy and healthy meal planning help you return to a physically healthy way of living.

Starting with just five essential nutrients can help your recovery immensely.

Why Nutrition Therapy?

Addiction is often associated with poor nutrition, for a variety of reasons. Many stimulant drugs cause you to lose your appetite or lose weight. Other substances may increase the risk of binging on junk foods, which offer little to no nutritional value. Some addicts simply can’t afford to both use and eat, and their addiction leads them to choose drugs or alcohol over nutritious food.

Even after you stop using, your body may be malnourished. Withdrawal can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which doesn’t allow your body to absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Recovery calls for every bit of strength you have, emotionally and physically. Healthy meals, and—when needed—vitamin supplements (prescribed by your doctor), can give you extra strength. This combination can help you gain healthy weight and replenish the vitamins and minerals you may be lacking. Top-ranked CA rehab centers that focus on an integrative, holistic approach to treating addiction should include nutritional planning as part of their treatment regimen.

Five Nutrients to Include for Addiction Recovery

A well-rounded diet is necessary for everyone, but especially for recovering addicts.  Knowing what to eat and how to include all the essential nutrients in your diet can be overwhelming. To simplify the process, choose just five basic nutrients to start. They can play an invaluable role in your recovery, as well as benefiting any co-existing mental health conditions you may have, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been shown to protect the brain of people who are addicted to methamphetamines. Most people can safely take vitamin D supplements, but check with your doctor first. Food sources include salmon, eggs, tuna, mushrooms, and beef liver. Milk is also fortified with vitamin D.

Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, so a walk in the sunshine can help too. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help boost your mood, which is critical during drug or alcohol addiction treatment. If you also suffer from depression, getting enough omega-3 can be enormously helpful in your recovery. Snack on walnuts and pumpkins seeds or sprinkle ground flaxseed on your breakfast cereal. Omega-3 is also found in salmon, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and eggs. Or, take a fish oil supplement.


Protein is found in meats, beans, eggs, peanut butter, dairy products, and nuts. Protein gives you energy and helps repair damaged cells, both of which are important during the recovery phase. Choose low-fat milk and cheeses, and lean meats such as poultry and pork for a heart-healthy diet.

B Vitamins

Research suggests that people suffering from addiction have low levels of B vitamins. Boosting these nutrients through diet or a B-complex supplement can help get you back on track without the threat of anemia or neurological problems. Foods that contain B6, B12 and B9 (folate) include leafy greens, cantaloupe, oranges, poultry, whole grains (rice, pasta, bread), beans, soymilk, and breakfast cereals.


Addiction can wreak havoc on your digestion, particularly in the form of constipation. Adding fiber to your diet can aid digestion naturally. Fruits and vegetables are go-to foods for fiber, especially when you eat the skins (i.e. apples, pears, potatoes). Oatmeal, berries, beans, and dark leafy greens are also chock-full of fiber.

As you progress down the road to sobriety, you’ll start feeling stronger—especially if you’re following a healthy diet. Remember, though—always remember to run any significant dietary changes by your doctor or counselor first.

Non-12-Step Recovery at our CA Rehab Facility

Complete Harmony offers a range of non-12-step, holistic addiction treatment programs for men and women of all ages. Our individualized approach helps drive healing, sustained sobriety, and peace of mind in a way that’s right for each client. Call 866.930.4673 to learn more about our facility, staff, and programs or inquire about insurance coverage. 
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