Substance abuse is a major crisis in the world right now. Many people are struggling with addiction to various drugs. Long periods of drug and substance abuse take a toll on the victim’s body at some point. They start getting weak and looking frail and emaciated.

Drugs will gradually eat away strength and muscle. One of the outcomes of drug addiction is the loss of appetite. It is, therefore, virtually impossible for someone who’s addicted, to stay healthy. Even if some of the victims might not lose appetite, they may end up with unhealthy eating habits. A number of them will end up becoming overweight or obese.

Therefore nutrition education has to take center stage in any efforts to fight drug and substance abuse. The victims have to be enlightened about nutrition so that they can regain their strength, and make their bodies more resilient to the effects of the drugs.

What the victims put into their bodies will determine how fast their bodies bounce back. Good nutrition will certainly hasten the process of recovery, and significantly reduce any chances of relapse. This can only be achieved through proper nutrition education. The victims need to know how to keep their bodies well nourished.

Recovery Diet

First Phase

The first phase of a diet for recovering addicts should involve foods that can help the victim fight infections, and build the immune system. Usually, if the victim has been abusing substances for a long period of time their immune system has already been negatively affected. Due to this, it is likely that they will have a string of infections as well. Sometimes, taking prescription drugs to suppress the effects of the infections may be necessary. However, a diet that addresses these conditions will help reduce dependency.

Nutrition education is the best way to get those in recovery to start with the recovery diet. At first, it can be difficult for them to get started as the body’s systems are quite dependent on the drugs. One motivator can be an understanding of how a proper diet can positively affect the body.

Good nutrition education should outline their body’s weaknesses and the need for a particular diet. It also needs to appeal to the willingness to become healthy to cope with the withdrawal challenges that come after they stop abusing the drugs.

These early stages involve detoxification as well. Foods need to be introduced slowly since the body will react to the new conditions. The digestive system of some who are recovering from addiction is quite weak at this point, and may not digest heavy foods properly. During this point, the victim should be taking small portions of soft foods.

Nutrition education for addicts who are starting out on their recovery journey should clearly outline their daily diet regimen. This will ensure they stick to it and maintain the right mindset. This will hasten the recovery process.

Second Phase

The next phase of the recovery diet should involve building strength. The recovery diet in this phase should include the following;

  • 50-55% of the calories taken daily should be complex carbohydrates. This means the diet should have a lot of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

  • Dairy products, vegetables, and all other foods that are rich in calcium. Calcium helps improve bone strength and restore stability. People who have been abusing substances tend to have frail bones.

  • 15-20% of the calories should be proteins. Small portions of high protein foods such as beef, mutton, or fish are ideal.

  • Fats and Oils. These should make up 30% of the calories. Canola oil, olive oil, and all types of oils extracted from fish are ideal.

Third Phase

Once the detoxification and strength-building phases are done, the next phase is just about ensuring there are no relapses. At this point, nutrition education should focus on enlightening the individual about making their own daily food regimen. They should be able to plan a healthy diet for themselves at this point. This will help them maintain healthy eating habits, even outside of the recovery program. If they can stay healthy, the chances of relapsing are reduced. Sadly, other factors play a role in incidences of relapse that have nothing to do with nutrition. Thankfully, there are other forms of self-care that can be utilized to combat relapse.

Below are some nutrition tips for recovering addicts, that will ensure they stay on course.

  • They should ensure they always eat a healthy breakfast. They should avoid skipping meals.

  • Foods that are high in fiber are quite essential for them. They will help in digestion. Legumes, grains, and cereals are quite ideal

  • They should drink plenty of water every day.

Nutrition education for recovering addicts is essential. Proper nutrition is the only way to give them the energy they need to deal with the addiction. Any nutrition education program should aim at empowering the victims to be able to make the right nutrition choices on their own.

If you are recovering from addiction on your own, it is important that you seek the advice of a nutritionist. Good nutrition can help you deal with issues such as stress and depression. The bottom line: your body will function and feel better if it is well nourished.

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