Proper and healthy nutrition involves a balanced combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and sources of trace minerals and vitamins that strengthen a person’s immune system and facilitate complex metabolic processes. For example, foods that contain certain types of fatty acids can help a person’s memory while staving off depression and other psychological disorders that are often seen in addicts. Wild-caught salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds are rich sources of these nutrients. Conversely, products that are high in the saturated fats that are commonly found in processed foods will reduce healthy fatty acids in a person’s body.
Low-fat proteins such as chicken and turkey are good sources of amino acids that a recovering addict will need to rebuild stores of amino acids that may have been depleted as a result of drug addiction. Recovering addicts who are suffering from inflammation problems can use plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, that have more neutral acidity profiles. An addict who has stressed his liver with alcohol and other toxic substances can eat broccoli, kale, and other green, leafy vegetables for liver detox. Darker, leafy vegetables, like spinach, are also effective sources of nutrients that combat inflammation and other side effects of addiction.
Eating habits are potentially as important as the types of foods in a recovering addict’s diet. Frequent snacking and eating on the go can undermine an addict’s diet and nutrition. Recovering from any addiction will be difficult and an addict might be tempted to reward himself with an indulgence from time to time, but he can help himself more effectively by eating regular meals away from work, television, and other distractions that can derail his diet plans. Addicts who are tempted to snack should focus on healthy alternatives such as fruits or unsalted nuts that will satisfy their hunger without exposing them to nutrient-sapping fats, sugar, or salt.
Addiction counselors can give customized suggestions for foods and diet plans that can help a recovering addict to feel good and to stay on a healthy eating schedule. Addiction recovery often requires consideration of personal circumstances, and diet is a critical part of those circumstances. Certain abused substances will affect an addict’s metabolism differently than others, and a recovering addict may need larger amounts of certain types of nutrients in the early days of his recovery to achieve a healthy balance.
Castle Craig has served Scotland, the UK, and Europe for over 25 years, bringing over 10,000 patients to optimum health of mind, body, and spirit. Addiction is a fatal relapsing and remitting disease. Recovery is possible. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 231 4787. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | September 8, 2017