Managing cravings can be a daily struggle but some foods can help. Choosing foods that improve digestion, promote steady blood sugar during the day and support brain chemistry can fight cravings. Learn what types of foods to eat and how to fit them into a healthy recovery diet plan.
Why Eat Healthy
Healthy digestion optimizes the absorption of amino acids, vitamins and minerals which reduce cravings. Steady blood sugar can normalize insulin and leptin, hormones responsible for regulation of hunger. Getting enough lean protein ensures optimal levels of neurotransmitters associated with reward and feelings of well-being. Food which helps mitigate cravings must be part of a balanced diet.
The following foods are great for getting rid of drug or alcohol cravings in recovery. A balanced diet includes complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat and fiber. This may include:
- 100% whole grain bread. The body will crave sugar which requires complex carbs to metabolize slowly and kill sugar cravings for longer. Whole grains also provide nutrition with protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals. Examples: rice, quinoa, oats, barley
- Raw spinach is very good as part of a balanced diet. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, spinach can help regulate metabolism.
- Peanut butter is a great source of fiber and protein. This is essential for the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with mood and feelings of well-being. Examples: tofu, dairy products and beans.
- Salmon is a great source of protein and vitamin D, shown to decrease depression and stabilize mood. Coldwater fish are very healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids, shown to decrease depression and regulate mood while also increasing cognitive function. Examples: tuna and Atlantic mackerel
- Plain organic yogurt has healthy probiotics to improve gut health. Cheese and dairy are also good as well as fruits. Examples of other types: cow, soy, almond milk
- Bananas and sunflower seeds can help raise dopamine levels naturally in the body after depletion from addiction. B vitamins in bananas increase serotonin levels which helps reduce depression and anxiety.
Mindful Eating Habits
What a person puts in the body is just as important as how a person sees food. Adopting strategies for healthy eating can help reduce cravings, known as ‘mindful eating.’ The practice involves slowing down, eating regularly and practicing healthy dietary habits. Meals should be eaten within four to five hours with snacks in between. Do not skip meals, cut food groups or eat at fast food restaurants. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and do not make major food changes to the diet without consulting a treating physician. Exercise is also a healthy part of a daily plan to stay fit and craving free.
The Villa supports families and individuals struggling with addiction. Diet and nutrition are important components of a recovery plan. If you or a loved one are looking for programs which focus on the whole person, call us. We can help you find just what you’re looking for to quit addiction and get healthy.