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Nutrition and Addiction Recovery

individuals in addiction recovery eat balanced and nutritious meals to support them

Drug and alcohol use disorders take a toll on your physical health. Even short-term addiction and withdrawal can deplete your body of essential nutrients and leave you feeling fatigued and unwell. That’s one reason why a nutrition counseling program is an integral part of a comprehensive treatment program.

For more information on the need for good nutrition during addiction recovery, call Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989.

The Connection Between Nutrition and Addiction Recovery

Every substance has a specific set of effects on health, but most behave similarly in the body when it comes to robbing you of nutrients. Some of the broad effects of drug and alcohol use include:

  • Loss of Appetite – Some substances cause the person to forget about eating
  • Organ Damage – Many drugs damage the organs that process nutrients
  • Poor Food Choices – Being under the influence leads to poor decision-making
  • Digestive Problems – Damage to the digestive tract reduces nutrient absorption
  • Accessibility – Lacking money to purchase healthy food affects a person’s diet
  • Skipping Meals – Some people purposefully skip meals to prolong intoxication

Even if individuals do eat healthy meals most of the time, drugs and alcohol can prevent the nutrients from being fully absorbed. Excessive alcohol use can cause deficiencies in folic acid, thiamine, and vitamin B6.

The Benefit of Good Nutrition During Addiction Recovery

A comprehensive treatment program that includes nutritional counseling helps patients in the acute stages of recovery and the long term. Repairing neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to build new connections, is a vital part of recovery. Nutrition plays a major role in brain repair.

Exposing the brain to drugs and alcohol damages neuroplasticity and inhibits neurotransmitters from moving freely through the brain. Re-stabilizing brain function is possible with proper nutrition.


According to UC San Diego Health, carbs are not only the body’s primary energy course, but they also help the brain produce serotonin. Serotonin is partly responsible for getting restorative sleep, maintaining mood, and reducing drug and alcohol cravings.

Dietary Fat

Research shows that healthy dietary fat reduces brain inflammation and supports neuroplasticity by promoting neuronal signaling.

Amino Acids

The brain relies on amino acids to produce dopamine. Dopamine helps reduce cravings and stabilize the mood.

Omega Fatty Acids

Omega-3s and Omega-6s both work to increase brain function, reduce inflammation, and increase neurotransmitter uptake.

Entering treatment is exciting, but it is also stressful. During this time, over-production of the stress hormone cortisol may also play a role in depleting nutrition. A diet that is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B-family, as well as minerals, fatty acids, and electrolytes, combat the overproduction of cortisol.

What Kinds of Foods Are Included in a Nutritional Program?

Each patient’s preferences and nutritional needs are considered before a nutritionist develops a specific nutrition plan. In general, you can expect a diet filled with a variety of nutritionally dense foods, including:

  • Whole grains
  • Berries
  • Yogurt
  • Vegetables
  • Poultry, fish, and other sources of lean protein

Your nutritionist will work with you to develop an eating plan that works for you and the way you like to eat. Experimenting with healthy foods and learning new ways to prepare them is part of an overall self-care program that is necessary to maintain sobriety for a lifetime.

Learn More About Nutrition and Addiction Recovery at Woodland Recovery Center

Recovery is about more than stopping drug use. It’s about recovery in every aspect of your life, including your physical health. The nutritional counseling program at Woodland Recovery Center is designed to help patients feel better faster and maintain their health in the future.

Call Woodland Recovery Center today at 662.222.2989 for more information, or fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you.