Key nutrients: A place to start
Good nutrition plays an important role in recovery and building health. Why take care of yourself nutritionally? People in recovery have, and may always have, special nutritional needs. Addictions cause physical damage, and while the body is able to recover and heal in some ways, other damage can be permanent. Nutritionists believe that food is medicine and it has the power to heal one meal at a time.
Vitamins A, C, and E, B-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids
These vitamins play an important role in our immune and nervous systems by helping us cope with stress, and also help us maintain energy levels.
Vitamins A, C and E help lower harmful substances in our bodies called free radicals. Free radicals cause damage, illness and aging in our bodies.
B-vitamins increase energy by helping you use the carbohydrate, protein and fat that you eat. B-vitamins can also help brain function and rebuild neurotransmitters (that send signals all over the brain).
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats we need to eat. Research has shown that they can help reduce heart disease, and improve conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain use serotonin hormone and may improve mood fluctuations.
Mixed dishes help cover your bases
Making a stir-fry with chicken, spinach, red peppers, cooked in a little bit of sunflower oil or topped with nuts will fulfill many food groups. Add a little brown rice or wild rice on the side for fiber and energy. This is a nutritious, recovery friendly meal.
Make use of foods from the local food pantry. If you pick up or receive canned tuna, broccoli, and whole grain bread -mix tuna with a little mayo (often made with soybean or olive oil for a little vitamin E), scoop onto bread, and have raw or steamed broccoli on the side. Don’t forget snacks (usually 1-3 items). Strawberries and yogurt and almonds, for example, can offer a lot of nutrition in just one serving.
Each meal doesn't need to be perfect. These foods can happen over the course of a week – be flexible and do the best you can. A combination of foods, over time, can provide you with the nutrition you need.