The Importance of Health and Nutrition
Health and nutrition are critical in the recovery process and can increase your chance for long term sobriety. The connection between the mind, body and spirit plays a critical role in reinventing yourself.
Alcoholism and drug addiction deprive the body of the essential vitamins and nourishment that your body needs to function properly. Long periods of restricting and neglecting your diet causes an imbalance and can lead to serious gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea, an inability to properly digest foods, as well as a suppressed appetite.
Learning how to properly nourish the body is an important and beneficial tool for your personal recovery. Following a healthy diet can reduce cravings and decrease mood swings. Eating properly teaches a recovering addict how to care for and respect their body.
What does a healthy diet consist of?
Balanced meals at regular times daily are extremely important for a person new in recovery. Your diet should consist of foods with dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein.
Recovering individuals have a difficult time focusing, or concentrating on a particular thought or idea. This is because drug use and alcoholism depletes dopamine levels in the brain. Eating foods high in protein can improve concentration and memory capacity.
Foods high in tyrosine, an amino acid used in synthesizing protein, are crucial for mental preparation. Foods such as meats, poultry, seafood, and tofu are high in tyrosine. These foods promote alertness and mental activity.
Healthy Nutrition Tips:
Caffeine and sugar can intensify mood swings, so reduce or eliminate both early in recovery
Consume different types of vegetables
Enjoy plenty of fruit
Eat wholegrain or sourdough breads
Use breakfast cereals that contain bran, oats and barley
Eat less starch, especially potatoes
Take a multi-vitamin, recovering addicts lack many essential vitamins (find a supplement that includes: vitamins A and C, B-complex and zinc)
Establishing and maintaining a balanced diet, along with regular exercise and relaxation aid in restoring an addict to health.
Importance of Exercise in Recovery
Exercise detoxifies, as well as strengthens the body and mind. When your heart rate is elevated your body release endorphins, which can reduce stress.
Drug abuse involves negative thinking and a distorted perception of reality, so changing these thoughts into healthy ones involves positive action. Physical activity focuses your energy and quiets urges to use drugs and alcohol.
When we are physically active we have more energy throughout the day, and our thoughts are more positive and optimistic. We start feeling better about ourselves, which in turn creates positive thinking and an improved perception of ourselves.
The Mind and Body: A Balancing Act
The disease of addiction involves an obsession of the mind, so it is important to find a healthy balance in fixing both the mind and the body. Individuals who are early in recovery should be careful not to focus too much on fixing the outside, as it is easy for a drug addict to transfer addictions.
Look at your recovery as a pie chart. Consider the mind, body and soul as equal pieces of the pie. Anytime one piece is too big or too small, it’s time to do something different. Finding this balance will enhance your recovery and increase your overall well-being.