Why Nutrition is an Important Part of Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

A woman in rehab participates in a fitness class to help maintain physical health and nutrition during drug and alcohol rehab.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation can be a long and complicated journey. Understanding what to expect during recovery and rehabilitation is an important part of maintaining sobriety. Rehabilitation teaches many different strategies for recovery. One element of recovery that can play a vital role in a healthy lifestyle outside of treatment is nutrition. Here are some of the ways that nutrition can contribute to the recovery process.

Strengthening Your Body After Withdrawal

Drug and alcohol withdrawal can have many different effects on your body. Enrolling in a treatment program can help ease this process and provide support while the body detoxes. Medically supervised withdrawal can ensure that a team of professionals is available to guide people suffering from addiction through the process. During withdrawal, nutrition can play an important role in strengthening the body. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending upon the level of addiction and the substance that is being addressed. A proper diet can help restore the body with vital nutrients when going through withdrawal.

Protecting Against Disease

Having an addiction can cause other types of health and medical problems. For example, if you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you might be more prone to brain damage or liver disease. A healthy diet can help protect the body against disease. Treatment facilities can educate patients about the potential medical issues that they might face during recovery. Working with a professional to craft a diet geared toward addressing those issues can be an important part of a prolonged recovery.

Restoring Serotonin, Essential Vitamins, and Minerals

A major part of rehab for drug and alcohol abuse is learning how to create healthy habits. Addiction can take many different forms. While eating junk food regularly and having an addiction to a serious drug are certainly not identical issues, they do have some similar traits. Both things can cause damage to your body. Establishing healthy habits means taking a comprehensive approach to healing. In addition to implementing strategies for removing drugs and alcohol, integrating healthy eating habits is also important.

During recovery, it is helpful to eat a diet that helps balance the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin aids relaxation. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates found in beans, peas, and lentils, can help balance serotonin levels.

Deficiencies in vitamins such as thiamine, folate or folic acid, and B12 are common with alcoholism. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause the body to lose minerals like zinc, magnesium and calcium. During recovery, it is essential to follow a diet that can help replenish these things in the body.


Learning about healthy foods and healthy food habits is a valuable part of maintaining a strong body during recovery. Fitness is also a great way to create a healthy lifestyle. Joining a group sport or setting routines like walking or jogging can assist in forming habits that coincide with recovery. Athletic activities can provide an outlet for some of the emotions that come along with recovery.

Replacing unhealthy habits with healthy habits is a lifelong journey. Recovering from addiction can be hard to navigate but having a healthy diet can be one step in sustaining a healthy body that is free from addiction.