Why optimum nutrition is so important in recovery
A common bi product of addiction is lack of self-care and motivation to look after oneself. Eating a balanced diet, obtaining enough sleep and even consuming enough water can come bottom of the list. With countless studies looking at the correlation between nutrition and mental health, nutrition can play an essential role in recovery. Eating the right foods can repair physical and internal damage caused by substance abuse, increase energy, lift mood and help to ease cravings.
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters responsible for our ‘feel good factor’ giving us that sense of achievement, raising our level of excitement and making us feel alive. A dopamine deficiency however, can give you a feeling of hopelessness, a lack of motivation and take all the joy out of life. It can be a contributory factor in the deterioration of numerous health conditions including addiction. Diet plays a major part in dopamine deficiency, eating heavily processed foods high in sugary carbohydrates and hydrogenised fats only exacerbate this. In early recovery keeping blood sugar levels stable is essential as sugar spikes could cause anxiety and depression therefore increasing the chances of relapsing. Sugar cravings are prevalent in addicts as sugar has a similar effect on raising the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward centre similar to drugs and alcohol, which can cause a transfer or cross addiction.
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and mood stabilisation, it relaxes, enhances our mood, suppresses pain, regulates appetite and sleep. A serotonin deficiency can be caused by many factors including stress, poor diet, metabolism, digestive issues and substance abuse. This can lead to depression, anxiety, pain and cravings. When serotonin levels are low this increases the effects of dopamine in the brain causing increased cravings and resulting in a person becoming more vulnerable to addictive behaviours.
The gut or ‘second brain’ as it is known, isn’t just responsible for our digestion but fundamental to our well-being. The guts microbiome contains good bacterial, fungi and viruses that affect our digestion, weight, immunity, vitamin absorbency, eliminating toxins and our overall mental health. Up to 90% of our bodies serotonin is made in the digestive tract so if your gut health isn’t maintained the results can be detrimental to our overall well being.
8 Ways To Aid Recovery Through Nutrition
You may not be able to turn back the clock and reverse all the damage caused by your addiction but nutrition is an integral part of the road to your recovery. At Ibiza Calm we take an integrative approach to recovery, understanding the importance of the mind and body connection and placing a great deal of emphasis on nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet and routine to aid recovery and influence the chances of relapsing. At the same time assisting your body in repairing the damage caused by addiction. As well as stabilising your mood, increasing your self-esteem and maintaining your mental and physical energy to assist you on the road ahead.
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