Importance of a Healthy Diet in the Journey of Recovery

 “You are what you eat”. Many people underestimate the crucial role of nutrition and physical activity in the journey of recovery. What we put in our bodies has a strong effect on our mood. Even what we crave is depends on how we feel inside. Have you ever had a “butterfly” in your stomach when you are worry or nervous about something? why do you feel that in your stomach? because there is a connection between the brain and your guts feeling. All nerves in the digestive system are connected to the brain. Long-time use of alcohol or drug causes damages to the digestive system, and the addicted person may not get all the needed nutrients from food. That is why a nutritious diet plan is very important in the recovery process. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) (as cited in Miller, 2010), drug addiction is considered a brain disease because many studies have already shown how drugs and alcohol can physically change the structure of the brain, and ultimately how it functions. In fact, researches on brains suggest that addiction has physical roots that often lead to severe biochemical imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and digestion problems. aside from nutritional deficiencies cause by physical and biochemical changes triggered by substance abuse, others are caused by poor dietary choices which may be attributed to the unhealthy coping skills which addicts adopt (in relation to the negative psychological effects of substance abuse), such food patterns include not having breakfast, high consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as processed foods, low consumption of proteins as well as of fresh fruits and vegetables (Stitt, n.d. as cited in Miller 2010). From such point of view, it shows that addiction is not just a psychological problem or disorder, but ultimately a health concern or problem needing the assistance of not just professionals in the social science field but of course from other health fields; such as help of professional dieticians to ultimately help addicted individuals to successfully recover. Recovery from addiction can also be ultimately addressed by considering nutrition, and dietary plans since food ultimately provide the vast majority of metabolic co-factors in correcting irregular brain functioning.

Anahita Heidari

 

References

Miller, R.P. (2010). Nutrition in Addiction Recovery. Retrieved from mhof.net/sites/default/files/Addiction%20and%20Recovery%20Report.pdf

Salz, A. (2014). Substance Abuse and Nutrition. Today’s Dietician, 16, 44. Retrieved from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/120914p44.shtml

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