Health is a huge component of recovery. What a person eats and drinks can greatly impact spiritual, emotional and physical health, particularly in recovery. Take a look at some of the foods to consider including in a dietary plan to improve health and sobriety.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids support improved learning and memory while also helping to fight against mental health conditions such as depression and mood disorders. Omega-3 deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of several disorders including: ADD, depression and bipolar disorder. Some foods such as walnuts and flaxseeds are excellent plant sources of omega-3’s but are harder for the body to use. Overconsumption of food can lead to cell damage caused by formation of free radicals-a natural byproduct of digestion and cellular respiration. Diets rich in saturated and trans fats can also adversely affect cognition. In moderation, Omega-3 rich foods such as salmon can have a long lasting, positive, impact on a person’s health.
Chicken and Turkey
Chicken and turkey contain complete proteins which have all the essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. In the brain, amino acids are turned into neurotransmitters (responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing) which are often depleted by substance abuse and addiction. Important neurotransmitters affected include:
- Dopamine: important in reward-motivated behavior
- Serotonin: known for ability to contribute to feelings of well being
- Beta-endorphin: responsible for ‘rush’ after exercise, excitement, pain, love, stress
Individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet in recovery should focus on pairing complementary proteins such as grains, legumes, nuts and seeds with brown rice and black bean bowl or walnut salad to provide essential amino acids to the brain’s neurotransmitters.
Broccoli, Cabbage and Kale
Broccoli, cabbage and kale support liver detoxification and health. Toxins can build up in the body over time and, with the help of superfoods such as broccoli, cabbage and kale, the body can rid itself of toxins to support:
- Increased positive mental moods
- Mood stability
- Balanced hormonal state
The palate may need time to adjust to eating broccoli, cabbage and kale. Start by incorporating a single serving into a daily diet. Saute broccoli, cabbage and kale in a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil with salt and pepper for better flavor. The better it tastes, the more likely a person is to keep eating it everyday.
The following leafy greens are an excellent source of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) while also functioning as antioxidants:
- Mustard greens
Dark leafy greens are the dirty little secret of the food world. Rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, the body can process toxins and heal tissue damage which may result of dietary and lifestyle choices (including addiction and substance use disorder).
Spinach and other leafy green superfoods, combined with exercise can support a healthy lifestyle in sobriety. Start slow, seek support and gradually work up to a daily diet that will benefit the body, mind and soul for long term, healthy, recovery.
A healthy recovery begins with the first step of admitting the need for help. If you or a loved one have come to a crossroads and need support, reach out to Hired Power. We will help guide you through the process of getting on the road to health and sobriety.