How the Diet at Your Rehab Center Is a Part of Your Recovery
When you are about to enter a rehab center, you have a lot on your mind. You have employment issues. Your relationships are compromised. You may have legal problems. You are juggling a number of concerns and it is all you can do just to get into the rehab center and start the process. One element of recovery that you probably aren’t giving any thought to is your nutrition.
Clearly, diet is an important component of your overall health. A body nourished on processed foods and without fresh fruits and vegetables does not function as well as a body with a balanced diet. You start at a disadvantage because you are American. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition reports the usual American diet exceeds the recommended levels or limits in 4 categories:
- calories from solid fats and added sugars
- refined grains
- saturated fat
In addition, addicts tend to be so preoccupied with drug use that they neglect what is already a less than ideal diet. For example, the US National Library of Medicine notes: “Alcoholism is one of the major causes of nutritional deficiency in the United States.” Alcoholics are deficient most often in:
- pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- folic acid
Deficiencies of these nutrients may cause:
- nervous system problems
- Korsakoff’s syndrome: chronic memory disorder
When you enter a rehab center, the facility will make a strong effort to provide you with nutritionally sound meal offerings. Though you may not realize it, these meals are a component of your overall treatment and subsequent recovery.
It’s not enough to quit using at home and to eat more salad; you need help. RehabCenters.com can help. Give us a call at 800-481-6320Who Answers? and speak with an expert who will discuss funding, recommend rehab centers, and answer all of your questions. Get started now.
Addiction’s Toll on Your Body: Malnutrition
To understand how a rehab center helps your body recover from the damage of addiction, you need to know what addiction does to your body. What follows is a partial list, but be aware there are other problems as well.
Malnourishment is often the result of addiction. In the case of alcoholics, the empty calories in liquor, beer, and wine give the body the sensation of being full. Because of this, many alcoholics fail to consume enough, and when they do, they aren’t consuming a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Drug abusers simply fail to eat because they are preoccupied with their drug use. In addition, their poor diet puts a great strain on their systems, which are generally already compromised by indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. Opiate users, in particular, face a score of digestive problems.
By the time people with substance use disorders make it to rehab, they are often suffering clinical malnutrition, which impacts every one of the body’s systems. For example, your immune system will be compromised, and that can lead to the development of a variety of cancers.
How Rehab Aids Nutrition
Rehab centers take a number of pains to ensure that you have access to the diet you need for your body to recover. They will:
- Adhere to regular meal times
- Lower your fat intake
- Offer more protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber
- Perhaps, give you vitamin supplements
- Maintain nutritious snacks
- Encourage you to drink a lot of water
- Stick to decaf beverages
- Increase your intake of antioxidants
- Limit refined carbs and sugar
Often, as you recover your appetite will return and this can lead to overeating. This is another reason that your rehab center will keep the calorie count of all of its food in a healthy range.
Benefits of Proper Nutrition
People who feel healthy are less likely to return to drug and alcohol use because balanced diet improves overall health and mood. However, a strict diet can feel like you are giving up everything that feels good and that may make you relapse. Therefore, it is best that you eat healthy, but in a way that meets your nutritional needs and feels good.
Regular meals help you learn to feel full again. Irregular meal times creates cravings that you may confuse for drug cravings. But, a healthy diet can enable you to understand hunger cravings and to appease them without resorting to drug use.