The Role of Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

At Elevate addiction treatment centers, we believe that good nutrition is a vital component of addiction recovery. It is not uncommon for people entering treatment programs to have continued a poor diet for a prolonged period of time. They may also have a suppressed appetite, malnourishment or gastrointestinal issues as a result of substance abuse.

When the body is well-nourished it has the strength to fight infection and disease and provides the bones, muscles, skin and all the body’s organ with the nutrients they need for healthy function. When used as part of a program at a treatment center, good nutrition goes a long way to repairing some of the damage done as a consequence of substance abuse.

It is also well-documented that addiction is a brain disease and a healthy diet makes a big contribution in redressing any chemical imbalances in order to restore wellbeing. Regularly maintaining a nutritious diet also replenishes dopamine levels naturally, which helps to restrict cravings for substances and prevent the mood swings that can lead to relapse.

A diet that contains the following nutritional components is extremely beneficial to the physical health of patients at addiction treatment centers:


These powerful nutrients are found in what are known as “superfoods” such as berries, apples, broccoli, carrots, and peppers. Antioxidants support a person’s immunity and boost its natural ability to protect them from the kind of cell damage that leads to cancer.


One of the side effects of consistent substance abuse is poor digestion, often marked by chronic constipation. Fiber in foods like pulses, grains, fruit, and vegetables are vital in restoring digestive health.


Certain foods like almonds, bananas, avocados, and eggs boost dopamine production in natural ways. Dopamine is produced when using substances by affecting the reward center of the brain. Good nutrition enables this process to take place naturally.

Healthy Proteins

Protein is essential in helping the body repair damaged cells and making new ones. The kind of protein found in fish, poultry, and pulses is a very important component of a recovery diet.

Nutrition Supported by Physical Fitness

Although eating a nutritious diet is essential for people overcoming addiction, getting enough physical activity is also important. Elevate incorporates components of physical exercise and outdoor activities in all treatment programs as an important part of holistic healing in drug treatment centers.

Physical exercise builds muscles and reduces fat to achieve a healthier BMI. While nutrition deals with the internal functions of a person’s body, physical exercise strengthens muscles, joints, and bones while improving cardiovascular and circulatory health.

Good nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand with each other, combining to significantly boost a person’s overall well-being. When used in rehab programs, holistic therapies such as exercise and nutrition work with others like meditation and yoga to heal a person overall in terms of emotional, physical and mental health.

The Ways Nutrition Therapy Aids Addiction Recovery

  • When patients enter Elevate centers, they are first assessed and evaluated to determine the state of their health. The nutritional aspects of this assessment will review any eating disorders or poor dietary habits resulting from addiction. Some people experience extreme weight gain or weight loss when they’ve been abusing substances, which need to be addressed in alcohol and drug treatment centers.
  • Good nutrition is important in the detox process as it helps soothe some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced. Although many drugs suppress the appetite, when a person abruptly stops using, they can suddenly feel ravenously hungry. During Elevate detox, patients are provided with nutritious meals to strengthen the body against the effects of withdrawal.
  • Nutritionists at Elevate analyze individual patient’s nutritional needs at the outset of treatment in order to develop a well-balanced dietary strategy for rehab and recovery. A nutritionist is able to assess a patient’s stress levels as the program progress and make any adjustments to their diet to help them cope.
  • Patients following a nutritional plan devised by Elevate are introduced to new ways of eating and enjoying food. Meals will be planned for the patient throughout their stay that can be adapted for them to prepare for themselves in recovery.
  • Nutritional therapy also introduces patients to another form of goal-setting which is an important aspect of working through rehab and achieving recovery. This is a powerful tool for motivation for people who have gotten very out of condition due to excessive alcohol or drug use. When people see the physical changes they have achieved through simple adjustments to their diet, they are more likely to continue with healthier eating habits going forward.