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How Diet Aids in Addiction Recovery

How Diet Aids in Addiction Recovery

Prolonged substance abuse invariably has a significant and negative impact on mental and physical health.  Since nutrition and health are so intricately aligned, it is not surprising that diet plays a key role in the addiction recovery process. As such, any drug or alcohol rehabilitation program will always defer to the importance of diet in the quest to restore or achieve optimum health for people in recovery.

Undernourishment typically occurs as the shift from a normal appetite for food is supplanted by the obsessive and uncontrollable desire for drugs or alcohol.  Studies show, the longer the addiction last, the greater the damage to the entire physiology.  Recognizing that nutritional deficiencies can result in certain pathological and physiological changes, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has highlighted nutritional replacement therapy as an important area for study.  Nutrition is described by the staff at the Mayo Clinic as a variety of wholesome foods that support physical and mental health.

NIDA scientist explains that while all addictive drugs act in the brain to produce their euphoric effects, some can cause direct toxic effects on brain cells. When they cause damage, people in addiction can experience seizures, stroke and certain brain disorders.  A common effect of these changes is that the individual loses the pleasure response to food. In order to address neuronal and other damage caused by addiction, some individuals may need to go beyond the nutritional basics.  For this reason, nutritional experts are almost always a part of your addiction recovery team.  Their work personalizes your dietary needs based on variables such as; your current health status, cultural influences, lifestyle as well as food aversions or preferences.

Benefits of Diet in Addiction Recovery

The effects of addiction can mask serious nutritional deficiencies. Using diet as an aid in addiction recovery entails identifying the most severely depleted nutrients in the individual and designing a diet plan aimed at restoring nutritional balance.  An effective diet aid in addiction recovery by…

  • Replenishing vitamins and mineral deficiencies that are necessary for the proper function of vital organs as well as the immune and nervous systems.
  • Limit the effect of drugs on neuroplasticity. (The brain’s ability to change)
  • Aid in cleansing or removal of accumulated toxins from the body.
  • Restore energy, strength and a sense of vitality to the body.
  • Stabilize mental imbalances by reducing mood swings.
  • Enhance or enable better stress management.

Although an addiction recovery meal plan will include the basic elements of a balanced diet, it must of necessity be designed for the individual based on the specific nutritional deficiencies caused by the type of drugs they habitually consumed. These are usually identified as a result of a thorough analysis.

Key Elements of an Addiction Recovery Diet

  1. Include foods such as fruits, nuts and vegetables that help stabilize blood sugar and minimize mood fluctuations.  Studies show that certain foods help to increase the production of mood enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin.
  2. Healthy protein provides nutritionally dense support that aid in cell and organ repair.
  3. Dietary fats found in certain foods like fish, nuts, coconut, flaxseed and avocado that are derived from reputable sources go a long way in the detoxification phase of recovery.
  4. Fiber rich foods can aid in restoring a digestive system hijacked by substance abuse.
  5. Certain nutritional supplements may be recommended in addition to specific foods in cases of severe malnutrition or nutrient depletion.
  6. Sufficient intake of clean water.

An appropriate addiction recovery diet that enhances functional capacity in the brain has important implications for the drug rehabilitative process. It should, therefore, be so designed that even after the rehabilitation program has been completed, it becomes a natural part of the relapse prevention plan or sobriety maintenance activities.

Drug Treatment Center West Palm Beach


We at Ebb Tide Treatment Centers believe alcoholics and addicts can, and do recover. Recovering from active addiction does not have to be a long, painful process. With the help of Ebb Tide’s caring and experienced staff, you and your loved ones will learn, and take proven steps necessary to achieve success by maintaining lasting sobriety. The goal of Ebb Tide Treatment Centers is to restore lives and families. With our help, you can regain control of your life from addiction and start living happily again. Your new life is just a phone call away. Call us today at 561-508-8330 or visit us at


Ebb Tide Treatment Center
400 Executive Center Dr. Suite 209
West Palm Beach, FL 33410


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