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Young and happy woman eating healthy salad sitting on the table with green fresh ingredients indoorsSuccessfully recovering from an addiction is an empowering process that leads to a healthier and more fulfilled life. However, in order for recovering addicts to maintain sobriety and live a healthy lifestyle, they must replace the drug toxins with a nutritional, balanced diet. Incorporating a healthy diet and exercise not only helps individuals replenish and restore their bodies with beneficial vitamins and nutrients, it also strengthens their willpower to maintain abstinent.

It is important for individuals recovering from drug addiction to learn how to buy and cook healthy and nutritional meals to get back on the right track. Recovering from drug addiction is only one component in helping individuals take back control of their lives by restoring their mind, body, and soul. Recovering addicts need to make changes in multiple parts of their lives to maintain their health and avoid a relapse.

How the body suffers from addiction

Drug toxins in the body act as a harmful manipulator to a person’s main organs and have detrimental effects on a person’s health. Many addicts entering the treatment center may either be malnourished, dehydrated, or overweight based on how the prolonged use of the drug has affected their body.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes the following are the effects drugs can have on a person’s health:

Opiates. Individuals addicted to opiates may be malnutritioned due to the absence of essential vitamins, nutrients, and electrolytes. Opiates are a hard drug that create a chemical imbalance in the body’s system and make it difficult to absorb the proper nutrients needed to maintain homeostasis.

Alcohol. When individuals consume alcohol, it negatively impacts the body’s main organs, such as the liver and pancreas, and ultimately causes an imbalance of fluids, calories, protein, and electrolytes. Additionally, prolonged uses of alcohol can cause deficient levels of important b vitamins such as B1, B6, and folic acid.

Stimulants. When individuals are addicted to hard drugs such as cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine, they tend to eat less and may lose weight as a result of their loss in appetite. Stimulants may also cause dehydration which consequently, causes an imbalance of electrolytes.

Marijuana. Using marijuana over a long period of time may result in an increase in appetite that can lead to weight gain. Weight gain caused by the intake of processed foods high in fat and sugar can increase the individual’s risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Benefits of nutrition in addiction recovery

The body is a vessel that you must take care of in order to live a long, happy life. Healthy food is fuel for the vessel and makes people feel energized and happy in daily life. Learning how to make nutritious meals can be an empowering experience for recovering addicts because they find it builds community with loved ones and connects people closer together.

When individuals go through the detoxification process, they are battling with the emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the drug. The proper nutritional balance helps to replace the cravings for the drug by enhancing the recovering addict’s mood and by nourishing the body with essential vitamins and minerals that were previously insufficient. Individuals will feel reinvigorated from learning how to make healthy and delicious recipes in their daily lives because it serves as a coping strategy to replenish their mind, body, and soul.

Changes in diet

How can the recovering addict make changes in their diet to enhance their mood and restore their energy?

  • Go fresh. Stay away from processed foods in cans and boxes because these are often loaded with sodium, unhealthy fats, and other preservatives. Instead, make meals and snacks that emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables as the main component.
  • Incorporate healthy fats. Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil help to reduce bad cholesterol and make individuals feel fuller, longer.
  • Eat more protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Having the proper balance of these essential diet components help to restore the nutrients in the body that were hindered by addiction.
  • Check for added sugar. Checking the label is a helpful tip in staying away from unnecessary added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients. Foods that contain natural sugar, such as fruits, are a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth.

Creating new, healthy recipes and having fun cooking with supportive friends and family can help the recovering addict maintain sobriety.

Changes in exercise

With the addition of exercise to their healthy diet routines, recovering addicts will feel unstoppable. Exercise boosts essential neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, that make people feel happy and energized. Not only will individuals get the opportunity to look and feel great, but they will also build a sense of community by joining a gym and meeting new people. Building social connections and doing things that they enjoy will motivate recovering addicts to avoid a relapse and continue living a healthy lifestyle.

What are some exercises individuals can incorporate into their routines?

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Cycling
  • Zumba class
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Crossfit
  • Strength training
  • Joining a community sports team

A comprehensive treatment approach

Covenant Hills emphasizes a whole person approach to faith-based treatment recovery in which recovering addicts refuel their bodies with the proper nourishment needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Individuals work with a medical staff, therapists, and counselors to create a meal plan and to learn how to buy and cook nutritious meals to replenish their bodies and maintain a nutritional balance.

Therapists make individualized treatment plans that incorporate using exercise and cooking nutritious meals as a coping strategy to encourage individuals to live a healthy lifestyle every day. Teaching clients the skills needed to replenish their mind, body, and soul and to restore them into a healthy human being through the Word of God are the foundational components of the treatment recovery process.

To learn more about the treatment programs at Covenant Hills and to receive a free evaluation, please call (800) 662-2873.