Opioid Addiction Treatment and Nutrition
Nutrition is not usually considered when a person is thinking of going through opioid or heroin detox and recovery. Good nutrition gives the body the nutrients it needs to help the body and mind recover.
We know that effective treatment for opioid addiction consists of medication-assisted treatment, combined with counseling and support. According to the US National Library of Medicine, a person with substance abuse is more likely to relapse when they have poor eating habits. Studies have also demonstrated severe nutritional deficiencies in opiate abusers with behavioral, physiological, and cognitive symptoms. In considering all this, it is important to make healthy choices because the body will feel better overall if it is getting the nourishment it needs.
Staying on a healthy structured meal plan and drinking plenty of liquids is important during detox and recovery. Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at scheduled times (don’t skip meals) along with 2 – 3 healthy snacks per day. The right foods throughout the day will help the brain to function so that it can learn and concentrate on the essential individual and group therapy sessions. Saying this, don’t force food if it is making you sick.
Opiates affect the digestive system. Individuals addicted to these substances deal with constipation, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, which causes electrolyte imbalance. Focus on plenty of liquids to stay hydrated and a diet high in fiber will help with gastrointestinal issues. If there are certain foods that aren’t tolerable, obviously substitute them for other healthy choices.
Good Sources For Hydration
Drink plenty of water. Coconut water is great if suffering from vomiting. Low fat milk and low sugar sport drinks are also good alternatives. Avoid drinks high in sugar. Strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe also have a high water content.
A high fiber diet is needed for digestion. Whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, nuts, carrots and tomatoes are all good choices.
If the body isn’t getting enough protein, it probably is lacking in amino acids, which lowers hormone production. Low hormone levels affect mood; making a person feel sad and anxious. Healthy sources of protein are chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts. Low fat yogurt is also high in protein and great for digestion.
Try to eat more dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, and collard greens. These provide folic acid, vitamin B6 and beta-carotene. But all in all, vegetables are a good choice and it is great to have them a part of every meal!
Consuming vitamin C rich foods is especially important because vitamin C deficiency is found in about 58% of people with opioid addiction. Citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapple, grapefruit are high in vitamin C along with strawberries. Lemons and limes are also high in Vitamin C and are great for flavoring water.
People addicted to opioids often have a current diet high in refined sugar. It is important to limit sugar, however a few chocolate squares with a high percentage of cocoa can stimulate the production of endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Remember limiting sugar does not mean that you can never reward yourself with a treat!
A multivitamin is important to take every day, but talk to your doctor about the nutrients and vitamins YOUR body needs to start functioning smoothly again.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Keeping the body healthy and nourished during detox and recovery can help prevent relapse. Be aware of replacing good habits with the unhealthy habits common with addiction. Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising makes the body feel better, giving a better opportunity for successful recovery.
Get Started Today
AMC wants you to detox safely with limited withdrawal symptoms. Led by our experienced and caring team, we offer a comprehensive, medication assisted treatment (MAT) plan and counseling that will best serve your individualized needs. Today is the best day to take your life back!