Proper nutrition during the detoxification process is very important. During this time, your body is trying to balance itself after all the time you’ve abused drugs or alcohol. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), medical detox done properly is the first step to achieving lasting recovery:
Medical detox safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.
If you have been abusing substances for a long period of time, such as alcohol or drugs, that lifestyle can end up drastically damaging both your short-term and long-term health. Many addicts do not eat nutritious food, or much food at all, and the vitamins and minerals from any food they do eat are often not properly absorbed.
The Toll Taken on the Human Body
Alcohol and drug abuse take a major toll on the human body. Recovering from alcohol or drug abuse is a gradual process, and nutrition is one of the many issues that require attention. Food is vital in helping the body rebuild itself and maintain health.
When you abuse alcohol and drugs, you:
- Consume less food (except with marijuana use)
- Choose foods that are less nutritious and/or may skip meals
- Increase the speed at which your body uses up energy
- Increase the loss of nutrients through vomiting and diarrhea
- Damage your gut so that it can’t absorb the nutrients in food properly
Food and Your Brain
Food influences the way the brain functions. When your body isn’t producing enough brain chemicals or the chemicals are out of balance, you can feel irritable and anxious. You can suffer from food cravings, anxiety and an inability to sleep. The resulting stress can also affect memory and/or make people paranoid, tired, dissatisfied or depressed.
Once you’ve started detoxifying from substances, consuming certain foods can help your body and mind to heal in the best way possible. Particular foods are able to repair physical damage, lift your mood, decrease withdrawal symptoms and ease cravings.
What and How to Eat During Recovery?
In the first year after you stop using alcohol or drugs, your nutrition needs are higher than normal. You need to make sure you’re feeding your body good food on a daily basis. Even if you eat a healthy, varied diet while using drugs and alcohol, fewer nutrients are available to satisfy nutritional needs since a lot of those nutrients are being used to detoxify your body.
In the early stages of detoxification and recovery, you need to introduce meals slowly, since your body might not be used to digesting food. It’s a good idea to start off with small and frequent meals. Some people may start to gain weight. If you want weight management advice, see a nutritionist. If, however, gaining appropriate amounts of weight bothers you or your eating behavior seems out of control, you may need professional help for body image and/or eating disorders.
Food shouldn’t replace drugs as a coping mechanism. Sugar and caffeine are common substitutes used during recovery because they produce highs and lows. These low-nutrient foods can prevent you from consuming enough healthy food and they affect your mood and cravings. However, these foods are preferable to starting alcohol or drug use again.
A diet for recovery should include:
- Complex carbohydrates (50% to 55% of the calories you consume), which means plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetable
- Dairy products or other foods rich in calcium (calcium-fortified beverages, tofu, kale), two to three cups per day
- Moderate protein (15% to 20% of calories): two to four ounces twice a day of meat or fish (or another high-protein food such as tofu)
- Fat choices (30% of calories), preferably good oils such as canola, olive, flaxseed and those found in fish
Allure Detox is the New Way to Start Your Life Again
Allure Detox can help. We are a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. We can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. We offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact us today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.