During early recovery your body can use all of the nutritional support it can get. That’s because a steady diet of alcohol and drugs can rob your body of vital vitamins and nutrients. Plus, when you’re in active addiction a healthy diet is definitely not a top priority.
According to the National Institutes of Health, alcoholism is among the major causes of nutritional deficiency in the United States. Chronic alcohol use can lead to deficiencies in vitamins A, B, C, D and K as well as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Cocaine abuse can lead to deficiencies in the B vitamins and vitamin C and long-term use of marijuana can lead to zinc deficiency as well as problems metabolizing omega-3 fatty acids, according to Psychology Today. What’s more, digestive issues experienced during withdrawal and recovery can also cause trouble with absorbing nutrients.
While there’s no magic diet to reverse all of the damage, eating a well-balanced diet can help speed the healing process. Here are a few key nutrients and vitamins for early recovery – along with the best foods to fit into your diet.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is very common for those in recovery from a substance use disorder. Vitamin D helps with brain function, cardiovascular function, immunity, muscle functions and respiratory functions.
Best food sources: salmon, eggs, tuna, mushrooms, beef liver, fortified juice and milk. Sunlight is the perhaps the best way to get vitamin D, so aim to spend 15 minutes per day outside without sunscreen.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: So-called “good” fats can help with mood, cellular pair and your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients. A deficiency of essential fatty acids can also lead to depression.
Best food sources: walnuts, pumpkins seeds, ground flaxseed, salmon, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and eggs.
- Protein: Provides energy and helps repair damaged cells. Protein can also help keep you full, so you don’t mistake hunger for cravings.
Best food sources: lean meats, beans, eggs, peanut butter, low-fat dairy products and nuts.
- B vitamins: Studies show that people with substance use disorder have low levels of B vitamins.
Best food sources: B6, B12 and B9 (folate) include leafy greens, cantaloupe, oranges, poultry, whole grains (rice, pasta, bread), beans, soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Fiber: Addiction can wreak havoc on your digestion, leading to constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. Slowly adding fiber-rich back into your diet can help minimize these effects.
Best food sources: Fruits and vegetables (including the skin), brown rice, oatmeal, berries, beans, and dark leafy greens.
Healthy Meal Prep at Makana Path
Our Intensive Healing Program takes a holistic approach that utilizes a combination of clinical and complementary therapies, including healthy meal preparation. For more information about how our Intensive Healing Program can help your recovery, call today: 866-922-0776.