The Benefits of Proper Diet and Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

Debra Riley


Though often ignored, nutrition is an important aspect of alcohol addiction recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction interferes with the body’s nutrition levels, exposing you to severe physical ailments, mental issues, and emotional distress.

The brain and other body organs need certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to function well during recovery.

While there’s a lot to learn about sober living from, below are a few ways proper diet and nutrition help promote alcohol addiction recovery.

nutrition and addiction recovery

Helps the Brain Relearn Healthy Habits

Most people unknowingly learn unhealthy habits alongside their alcoholic behaviors. Unsurprisingly, addiction conditions the brain that it needs alcohol to function normally. Fortunately, you can unlearn and change these unhealthy associations.

Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change and learn new behaviors, helps those recovering from addiction change their habits. However, you can’t fully achieve this without a balanced diet.

Nutrition supports the brain’s recovery in the following ways:

  • Carbohydrates: Stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, which lessens alcohol cravings. As cravings reduce, the brain focuses on growing new neural connections. Moderate amounts of carbs also stabilize your mood and promote healthy sleeping.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats reduce inflammation and protect the neural cell membranes.
  • Amino acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help balance dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is behind the brain’s change and learning of new healthy habits. Diets with chicken, red meat, fish, and seafood contain good amounts of amino acids.

Remember, restoring brain health during recovery is a lengthy and multifaceted process.

Help Re-establish Physical Health

Alcohol addiction significantly wears the body down. Addictive drugs affect nearly all body organs and increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases. However, healthy eating can restore your physical health.

While it may take time to restore your body to its state of pre-addiction, maintaining a diet full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals can help remediate damages caused by alcohol addiction.

The following food choices can help improve your physical health:

  •  Proteins promote muscle and bone health
  • Zinc and vitamin C promote faster healing
  • Calcium and vitamin D are associated with healthy bones
  •  B vitamins boosts energy levels and tissue repair
  • Potassium and magnesium regulate fluid levels and nerve functions and stabilize hormonal functions.
healthy diet

Improves Mood and Mental Health

Addiction recovery takes a toll on your mood and overall mental health. Detoxing from alcohol addiction often triggers withdrawal symptoms, ranging from paranoia to mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

Fighting alcohol cravings also makes you irritable and moody. Fortunately, eating healthily can balance your mood and improve mental health.

A previous study found that traditional Japanese and Mediterranean diets reduce the risk of depression by 25% to 35% compared to American diets. Similarly, healthy diets help ease anxiety, depression, and mood issues. You should focus on these diets during addiction recovery.

addiction recovery


Recovering from alcohol addiction goes beyond abstaining from drinking. You should also nurture your overall health and well-being. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring your body recovers from the damage of addiction.

A balanced diet provides the body with sufficient nutrients to heal, repair, and thrive.