Reversing Malnourishment in Recovering Addicts

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Alcohol and drug abuse take a toll on the physical body. As you recover in addiction treatment in Agoura, you will need to learn how to eat healthy again. While there are supplements that can boost your recovery, most of your nutrients should come from the foods you eat. This process will be gradual, as most recovering addicts do not jump into eating nutritious foods. It takes time to gain back the taste for foods like vegetables and fish.

Why Addicts are Often Malnourished

It’s not unusual for addicts to be malnourished while they are using drugs and alcohol. Addicts tend to consume less food when they are using drugs, and the foods they do choose are often less nutritious. Some drugs, like alcohol and cocaine, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, causing the body to lose even more nutrients.

Furthermore, food influences the way the brain functions. When your brain isn’t producing the proper chemicals due to drugs and alcohol, it’s normal to have food cravings, anxiety and sleep problems. All of this contributes to poor health and exacerbates the cycle of drug addiction.

Complications of Poor Nutrition

Malnutrition during drug use appears in various ways. The first signs are usually fatigue and a weaker immune system. You may notice that you’re more susceptible to getting sick, and when you do get sick, it lasts longer than usual. Other symptoms of malnutrition include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Dental problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Changes in taste preferences
  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight loss

Long-term malnutrition can lead to more serious side effects, such as nerve damage, liver damage and heart problems. The only way to turn your health around is to quit using drugs and alcohol and start drug rehab in Agoura Hills.

How Food Boosts the Recovery Process

A recovery diet is intended to balance the chemical levels in your brain to keep you feeling full and relaxed. It’s important to eat small, regular meals so that you do not feel hungry. Hunger cravings can sometimes be confused for drug cravings.

Eating the right foods also provides your body with the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive. Some of the most important vitamins for recovering addicts include B-complex vitamins like thiamine, folate and B12. If you are a recovering alcoholic, your doctor may also recommend zinc, magnesium and calcium.

A healthy recovery diet will include the following:

  • Complex carbohydrates. Fill your plates with colorful grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Dairy products. Opt for low-fat dairy products or calcium-fortified foods like tofu, kale, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Fish and chicken are low in fat and high in protein. Also try beans and nuts.
  • Healthy fats. Use canola, olive and flaxseed oils to flavor your foods. Herbs and spices are also excellent choices.

The Awakenings Treatment Center is an intensive outpatient treatment center in Agoura Hills that offers individual dietician sessions with a Registered Dietician. We recommend this service to clients who have eating disorders or are deficient in vitamins and minerals that could put them at risk for relapse. Call us today at 855-717-3268 to start your journey to better health and wellness.