Going through drug withdrawal can be tough, both mentally and physically. Practicing good nutrition during this time can ease the detoxification process and help your body begin to heal from the damaging effects of the drugs. Here are three foods you should add to the menu that may benefit you while you're in recovery.
The liver is a powerful organ that's responsible for cleansing the body of environmental and ingested toxins. Everything you consume is processed by the liver, including the drugs. This is why chronic use of drugs such as heroin can lead to liver damage.
Garlic contains several components that can improve liver health, such as:
- Arginine – This amino acid causes blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
- Selenium – This mineral assists the liver with the detoxification process.
- Vitamin C – This immune system booster also reduces liver cell damage by protecting the organ from cellular oxidation.
- Vitamin B6 – This vitamin reduces inflammation in the liver by decreasing the amount of homocysteines in the body.
- Allicin – This powerful antioxidant also has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology involved feeding rats lead for 7 days to induce liver damage. They then followed up with feeding the rats water with fresh garlic extract. The researchers found garlic was able to decrease the amount of liver damage suffered by the rats. All of these benefits make garlic a good addition to meals.
Flaxseed, Nuts, and Seeds
Chronic drug use also damages the brain. In fact, it's one of the reasons why addiction forms in the first place. Drug use causes changes in the brain structures that negatively affect a person's decision-making processes and self-control. Repairing these broken structures is important to helping you overcome the addiction.
Flaxseed, nuts, and seeds are important foods for brain health, because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. This essential fat has neuro-protective properties that help increase brain volume, boost tissue development, improve cognition, and possibly reverse some loss of brain function. These foods also contain protein, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, which help nourish your central nervous system. Flax seeds and walnuts in particular may also boost mood, which can help alleviate the depression many people experience while going through rehab.
Nutritional therapy is just one tool that can make getting through detox easier. Consult with a drug addiction counselor at a local detox center for more tips or information about incorporating beneficial foods into your diet.