Healing Addiction Damage with Good Nutrition

Updated on 2/3/2023

Eating your way to good health is possible, particularly when overcoming an addiction as you make your way through recovery. Our diet can heal us, give us energy and even build our self-confidence. We eat to nourish our bodies and our spirit. Proper nutrition is essential to our physical and mental well-being. With healthy food, we can repair months or years of damage we inflicted on our bodies because of alcohol or drug addiction. Read more about how substance use disorder damages the brain and the body, and how good nutrition can help you heal the damage.

Damage to the Brain

Individuals with a substance use disorder are at an increased risk for lung cancer, liver cancer, heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Mental health conditions are also affected by alcohol or substance addiction. We don’t think about how we hurt ourselves, especially our bodies, when we seek to escape from our stressors or feelings with substances.  When you have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, it changes the way the brain receives and sends signals. Your brain tells you how to eat, act, create, breathe or perform other organ functions essential to life. The brain has billions of cells called neurons, which act like computer chips. They send and receive signals that aid in keeping you alive. Repeated alcohol or drug use prevents the brain’s neurons from sending and receiving signals as they are programmed to do. All this activity hurts the brain and making poor decisions about what you put into your body—including foods—continue as you keep using substances.

Damage to the Body

Our brain isn’t the only organ affected by continued alcohol or substance abuse — it also damages the liver, lungs and heart.

In particular, alcohol increases health problems in these organs:

  • Heart – Continued use of alcohol increase the risk of:
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Arrhythmia
    • High blood pressure or
    • Stroke
  • Liver– Heavy drinking can cause several different liver issues. Two of those issues are:
    • Cirrhosis
    • Alcohol hepatitis
  • Pancreas – Alcohol leads to the production of lethal substances that will prevent the absorption of nutrients.

How a Healthy Diet Can Heal Damage from Alcohol and Drugs

Despite harmful behaviors, our body is resilient and can heal. Proper nutrition repairs the damage inflicted by alcohol or drug addiction. Repeated use of alcohol or other substances establishes malnutrition and sensitivity to sugar. Biochemical imbalances, nutrition deficiencies and digestive problems are addressed in treatment programs that include nutrition education with traditional therapy. 

Foods high in protein and fatty acids like Omega-3 help repair neurons. Amino acids are also essential to repair the neurotransmitters in the brain. Incorporating foods such as almonds, pork, beef, shrimp, chicken, tempeh, tofu and bananas, along with other foods rich in amino acids, will increase serotonin levels.

Many natural, unprocessed foods are high in protein and low in sugar and fats that help your body heal itself. The harm your body was exposed to with extended alcohol or drug use is oftentimes repairable. A treatment center focused on your mental and physical well-being will incorporate a healthy diet into your treatment program. Ask your therapist to aid you in building a personalized nutrition program.

A healthy diet is essential to our mental and physical well-being. The inclusion of nutrition classes, healthy dining and a nutrition plan based on your personal needs is integral to how your body responds to addiction treatment. There is hope for a successful recovery process when we focus on our individual needs. Cliffside Malibu focuses on your requirements while you are in therapy. We provide nutritious meals in a serene setting. Our belief is that you are unique, and so is your treatment. For more information, call (855) 403-5641.