Healthy Diet to Promote Mental Health After Addiction

A Healthy Diet Can Promote Sobriety for Recovering Addicts

A person’s brain needs specific nutrients to produce the chemicals that help us feel calm, relaxed and focused. A few of chemicals in the brain, also known as neurotransmitters, which are responsible for these feelings, are dopamine, serotonin, GABA and noepinephrine. It is especially important for a recovering addict to pay attention to good nutrition, because this is key to having a healthy body and mind. A good diet contains a variety of nutrients from natural sources, such as lean meat, low fat dairy products, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Most recovering addicts are deficient in key vitamins and minerals because most addicts neglect their nutrition for many years before deciding to get help for their addiction. Some addicts develop such a serious problem that, if faced with a choice between spending limited funds on their substance of choice or food would choose spend it on drugs or alcohol. Alcohol and drugs can also cause nutrients to not be absorbed properly. Alcohol in particular can cause a person not to absorb B vitamins, which are important for brain function as well as hair and nail growth.

The key to a healthy diet for a recovery addict is to eat a variety of foods that are as unprocessed as possible. When shopping for groceries, these items are mostly found around the perimeter of the store. It’s a good idea to focus on proteins, because these are the healthy building blocks for amino acids that are essential to brain function. It’s also a good idea to add cooked or raw greens to each meal, such as kale, lettuce, green beans and spinach.

Anyone wanting to make positive changes in their food consumption can benefit from keeping track of what they eat each day. A food log will help a person notice what their food patterns are and how they correlate to stressful events. A recovering addict may be tempted to eat fattening or sugary foods if they feel upset or stressed. However, these foods can cause a person’s energy levels to crash a couple hours later, making them feel much worse.

Eating healthy foods consistently is more important than absolute perfection. It is perfectly human to mess up sometimes and cave in to temptation. It’s a good idea to set aside a day each week when it’s acceptable to cheat. This can help prevent temptation during the rest of the week.

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