VegitablesMany factors contribute to lasting recovery from addiction. St Joseph is dedicated to helping our residents improve their overall health and wellness,and that includes physical well-being. You may be surprised to learn that other aspects of a healthy lifestyle—such as good nutrition and exercise—can be powerful tools in the fight to overcome addiction. Both scientific research and experience attest to the value of these practices:

Because alcohol is high in calories, drinking can make one feel full even if he or she has eaten very little. As a result, many addicts suffer from malnutrition. Alcohol and drugs also make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, which can lead to a host of other health problems. Many people who abuse drugs and alcohol have chronic gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion.

Recovery is about replacing negative behaviors with positive ones. Both during their time at our center and throughout recovery, residents are encouraged to include healthy eating habits in their journey to optimal health and wellness. In fact, because of the plethora of health problem associated with abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s particularly important for those in treatment to eat a diet that is high in nutrients and can help rebuild damaged organs and tissues. A diet with the right types of high protein and carb-rich foods can even ameliorate some of the symptoms of withdraw.

For example, drugs and alcohol prevent the body from processing tyrosine and tryptophan, two amino acids that are responsible for the production of neurotransmitters that control mood. Tyrosine is related to alertness, so eating protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, seafood and tofu can help those in recovery replenish helpful neurotransmitters and feel more active and alert. Tryptophan can have a calming effect and makes it easier to sleep; it is found in bananas, milk, turkey and sunflower seeds. On the other hand, both sugars and caffeine contribute to mood swings and should be avoided.

This site offers tips and healthy meal plans for those recovering from addiction: