How Your Diet Influences Addiction Recovery

The foods we eat have a major impact on how our bodies feel and function. Your addiction recovery journey is no exception: Eating foods with nutritional value has been proven to aid in the recovery process.

When you’re detoxing from drugs or alcohol, you need to eat foods that will help you to replenish some of the nutrients your body lost. And as you build a healthy, sober lifestyle during or after your drug rehab program, proper nutrition will be key to finding physical and mental health.

Here are a few ways your diet may impact your drug or alcohol addiction recovery process.

Depleted B12 Supply

During drug or alcohol use, your body will be starved of nutrients. For example, people who are addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs of abuse have been found to have lower levels of B12. Research suggests that a decrease in B12 may impact meth addiction recovery and that B12 treatment can help with recovery.

Low levels of B12 have been connected to psychological and mental health issues such as depression and personality shifts, both of which can hurt a person’s chances of maintaining sobriety. Mental health issues are often triggers, distracting a person from their recovery and introducing more chances of relapse.

By increasing your B12 intake, you can help to ward off these concerns. Foods rich in B12 include:

  • dairy products such as milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • chicken
  • beef

Getting Enough Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

If you’re overcoming an alcohol addiction, your body may have been depleted of thiamin (vitamin B1). Alcohol inhibits the absorption of thiamin, which is responsible for turning your food supply into usable energy.

Usually, you get plenty of thiamin from the foods you eat, such as breakfast cereals, pork, yogurt, fish, nuts, and peas. But someone who’s consuming larger quantities of alcohol may not be able to absorb these nutrients properly.

During your addiction recovery process, find foods that contain higher levels of thiamin and incorporate them into your diet. This will help you to feel stronger, healthier, and more energized (which will aid in motivation and desire to pursue recovery activities).

Folic Acid For Improved Moods

Folic acid is another B vitamin that’s often found in chickpeas, citrus fruits, beets, broccoli, and dark leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. This vitamin is key for serotonin production, which boosts moods.

Researchers have found that people with folic acid deficiencies are at greater risk of developing depression. Additionally, lower levels of folic acid may worsen existing symptoms of depression.

A few of the most common co-occurring disorders with drug or alcohol addiction include depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Studies have shown that each of these mental health disorders can be treated with folate formulations.

Taking care of your mental health is essential when recovering from alcohol or drug abuse. After long periods of deficiencies, you need to replenish your body’s supply of vitamins like folic acid and start to improve your mood on a chemical level.

With better moods, and fewer mood swings and symptoms of mental illness, you’ll find that you struggle with cravings less, feel a greater sense of self-worth and fulfillment, and connect better with others in recovery.

Taking Care Of Your Physical And Mental Health

As you watch the foods you eat and attempt to incorporate more nutritious foods — such as those rich in B12, B1, and folic acid — remember your end goal. This is just another step in the healing process to aid you in finding long-term sobriety. Take care of your physical health by cultivating a healthy diet and watch how your mind and body can thrive in addiction recovery.

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