When you think of an addict or alcoholic, you certainly don’t envision someone who is a picture of good health –far from it. People with drug and alcohol problems are notorious for poor lifestyle choices caused by their substance abuse. Personal hygiene goes out the window and a decline in health inevitably follows, one that includes malnourishment, dental mishaps and chronic health problems.
Addiction Wreaks Havoc On Mind and Body
Proper nutrition provides much-needed sustenance to the brain to repair the damage caused by drugs and alcohol, which helps the recovery process on every level. This is especially true in the early days of recovery. However; practicing healthy habits and learning everything there is to know about a proper diet can feel overwhelming. Many people in sobriety avoid the topic altogether simply because they feel intimidated by it.
To keep things simple in the beginning, the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends the following suggestions:
- Eat nutritious meals and snacks. Drink plenty of water. Eat healthy proteins like lean meats, nuts and whole grains. Also, getting lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is important. Fruits and vegetables also help to keep you hydrated.
- Staying away from coffee and soda as much as possible works wonders for the mind and body. Most 12-Step meetings serve coffee. Opt for a bottled water instead.
- Get some kind of physical activity. You don’t need to commit to an extensive workout program just yet. Try walking around the block three times a week.
- Get plenty of rest. Eight hours isn’t enough for some people. The body and mind need to replenish every night. Don’t underestimate the value of good sleep.
- Seek help from counselors and support groups on a regular basis. Plenty of resources are available for recovering people looking to better themselves. This includes nutrition.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements. These are especially important. A multi-vitamin once a day is a good rule-of-thumb.
Remember, nutrition is an important element of your new life. It must become a priority. Just for today, make nutrition a part of your day. Make at least one small change and you’ll feel the difference.