The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

In this post we look at the importance of nutrition in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We aim to provide holistic nutritional advice and suggestions which are proven for aiding recovery. If you are someone you love is struggling with addiction, we urge you to find support and contact professional services.

Alcohol and drug addiction takes a great toll on the body. Recovering from substance addiction is a slow, gradual and multifaceted process with good nutrition being one of the key ingredients that increase the odds of success.

Alcohol is especially difficult to recover from since the detoxification is fairly complex and requires monitoring and support, often aided by medication.

Typically, alcohol is also much harder to keep away from compared to other drugs given that is an integral part of everyday socializing. Overall, whether for drug or alcohol addiction, nutrition is vital.

The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Alcohol and drug addiction takes a great toll on the body. Recovering from substance addiction is a slow, gradual and multifaceted process with good nutrition being one of the key ingredients that increase the odds of success.

Alcohol is especially difficult to recover from since the detoxification is fairly complex and requires medication, monitoring and support. It is also much harder to keep away from compared to drugs given that is an integral part of everyday socializing. Overall, whether for drug or alcohol addiction, nutrition is vital.

How Addiction Affects Nutrition and the Body

Substance abuse is characterized by low food consumption, skipping meals, craving for junk or under-nutritious food, faster body energy use, frequent diarrhea and vomiting, and poor nutrient absorption due to damage along the digestive tract.

Food controls how your brain works. When your body isn’t creating the required quantities of brain chemicals or if the chemicals are out of balance, you can suffer from stress, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, paranoia, fatigue, depression, dissatisfaction and food cravings.

Symptoms and Results of the Malnutrition

Alcohol-caused malnutrition appears in several ways. Initially, the addict will feel constantly tired and, thanks to a weakened immune system, be increasingly vulnerable to infections. Over time, one experiences more symptoms such as dental problems, skin conditions, distorted sense of food taste, and various problems with the digestive system (gas, constipation and diarrhea).

If the alcohol addiction continues for a long time, there’s a substantial risk of liver disease, pancreas problems, heart disease, brain and nerve damage, as well as several types of cancer.

What Should the Recovery Diet Contain?

Importance of Nutrition in Recovery:

During addiction recovery, your diet should contain elements that will normalize the levels of serotonin (the relaxation hormone) in the brain.

This includes eating meals rich in complex carbohydrates such as breads, pastas, carrots, potatoes, peas, lentils and beans. These foods when combined with protein to keep your body functioning at its best.

Deficiency in B-complex (such as folic acid, folate or thiamine, B12 and C vitamins is fairly common with alcohol addiction.

Chronic alcohol addiction also accelerates the loss of calcium, magnesium and zinc minerals in the body.

Interestingly, alcoholism can actually increase iron levels in the body. That’s because alcohol degrades the stomach lining.

The importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Above-Normal Nutritional Requirements

During the first 12 months after you walk away from drugs or alcohol, your nutritional requirements will be above normal levels. If you were to adhere to a normal varied and healthy diet, much of the nutrients would go toward detoxifying your body.

You must arm your body with sufficient good food every day that delivers the requisite quantities of nutrients that will restore health, immunity and hormonal balance.

Gradual Transition

Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction

In the first weeks and months of detoxification, food should be introduced in measured and gradually increasing quantities. Since the addict’s body isn’t accustomed to digesting food, small yet frequent meals will do the trick at the early stages.

Some people will experience weight gain and may require weight management and more detailed nutrition advice from a health professional or a rehab center like Transitions Recovery.

Finally, watch out that food doesn’t replace alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism for the underlying cause of addiction. To make the path out of substance addiction smoother, caffeine and sugar are common substitutes since they deliver high and lows.

Whereas they are preferable to the addict falling back into drug and alcohol addiction, they shouldn’t be used in a way that prevents the individual from consuming the healthy food their body so badly needs.

I hope this article has helped give greater understanding about the importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

Ashley Lipman

Ashley is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.


In this post we look at the importance of nutrition in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We aim to provide holistic nutritional advice and suggestions which are proven for aiding recovery. If you are someone you love is struggling with addiction, we urge you to find support and contact professional services.


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