The Role of Nutrition in Recovery

Substance Use Dnutrients and substance abuse recoveryisorder (SUD) and poor nutrition often go hand-in-hand. Nutrient imbalances can intensify the cravings for alcohol and drugs. Poor nutrition can also have an effect on co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. According to an article in Today’s Dietitian SUD is known to lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that threaten physical and mental health, damage vital organs and the nervous system, and decrease immunity.

“A well balanced diet rich in nutrients is needed for cognitive repair, processing and critical thinking; which are all compounding factors to a healthful and lasting recovery,” said Jayne Chatzidakis, Gateway’s dietitian consultant with Cynthia Chow & Associates.

The recovery process at Gateway Foundation includes encouragement for proper nutrition through collaboration with the dietitians from Cynthia Chow & Associates. The dietitians provide the highest standard of dietary consultation for the specialized needs of Gateway clients.

Proper nutrition aids in ridding the body of toxins and restores the nutrients that have been lost as a result of substance use. What does proper nutrition look like? “Eat more nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish,” encourages Jayne Chatzidakis. “Stay away from overly prep
ared, frozen, processed, or prepackaged foods. Also, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is vital to hydrate the body and assist in the detoxification process.”

“Overall, it’s about achieving a healthy lifestyle that is drug free, nutritious and active,” said Jayne Chatzidakis.

Rejuvenation through Nutrition

nutrients and substance abuse recoveryDid you know that alcohol and drug abuse prevents the body from properly absorbing and breaking down nutrients and expelling toxins?

Consequently, people in recovery have a special need for foods that are high in nutrients to rebuild damaged tissues, organs and regain appropriate functioning of the various systems, including the nervous and gastrointestinal systems.

For example, substance abuse prevents the body from processing essential nutrients, such as amino acids like tyrosine and tryptophan. These amino acids are important for production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters responsible for emotional stability and mental clarity.

Substance abuse also inhibits the absorption of vitamins, such as B vitamins and vitamin C. The benefits of B vitamins are many. They bring your body into balance and help with stress, energy levels and disease prevention. Vitamin C is a vital nutrient required by the human body for the growth and repair of tissues and is an antioxidant.

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