“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”
Since 1980, March has been celebrated as National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I know what many of you are thinking... “Great, just what we need - another article telling us to eat right. Let me guess – we should exercise too?” I know it’s a topic that’s been in every health magazine and website but I hope to offer a fresh perspective on diet in relation to addiction. Neurotransmitters are made daily according to the foods we eat. If the foods we eat are deficient, we are going to be deficient as well. These deficits can cause psychological impairments such as depression, anxiety, and aggression. All of these mood disturbances are triggers for an addict and oftentimes he or she will turn to their drug of choice.
The foods we put into our body DIRECTLY influence our mood. Just think about it. Have you ever felt optimistic or energetic after wolfing down an entire plate of nachos? Many people report feelings of lethargy, fatigue, disgust, and even depression after consuming a fat and carb laden meal. Not only will a healthy diet help with overcoming addiction, it will aid in restoring overall health. Drugs and alcohol fill our body with toxins and prevent us from absorbing necessary nutrients we need to function properly. Moreover, malnutrition usually occurs in drug and alcohol users because they fail to eat healthfully when using. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals will help reverse the damage that has been done such as restore organ functioning and repair our bodily systems.
The bottom line is that a healthy diet can improve our mood, reduce cravings, and replenish nutritional deficiencies. Addiction recovery is most effective when looked at from a holistic viewpoint. Nutritional education helps by teaching individuals how to take care of their bodies, manage stress, the vital role of physical activity, and healthy behavior patterns. Foods can be addictive as well and can send us in a spiral of bad decisions. Without proper treatment, individuals may substitute their substance abuse with a caffeine and/or sugar addiction. Sugar and caffeine are both highly addictive because they elicit instant rewards in the pleasure center of our brain, just like drugs and alcohol. They are also widely linked to mood swings and energy crashes so it is best to try and avoid these foods as much as possible. Remember we ARE what we eat. What we put into our body affects our brain and overall functioning. Drugs greatly impair and healthy foods will REpair.
If you would like to learn more about eating right visit www.eatright.org. To learn more about how a proper diet can assist you with your recovery, call CAN today at 281-427-4226! #CeaseAddiction #NationalNutritionMonth
-Brina “BJ” Cash, MA, LPC-I, CART
~For Cease Addiction Now~