Fueling recovery: Top Nutrients For Addicts

Nutrition and Recovery: An Overlooked Relationship

When people think of recovery from addiction, they often think of meetings and counseling. While this is the cornerstone of rehabilitating addicts, there is an aspect that often goes overlooked. Lifestyle.

Both research and popular practice of many recovery centers of America focus only on psychological aspects of rehabilitation. The exception to this is the use of prescription drugs to ease recovery and help week off users of addictive substances.

But, there may be easier and more holistic ways to help addicts recover. Including certain nutrients in a holistic diet may help speed up recovery and prevent relapse. It can also help improve general health and mood while detoxing.

So, improving an addict’s nutrition during recovery can help a rehabilitation program be more effective and enjoyable.

For this reason, we laid out a few nutrients that can help with recovery from substance abuse and addiction. We also outline what foods these can be found in so you know which ones to include in a rehabilitation diet program.

Top Nutrients For (Recovering) Addicts


This is the most general nutrient on the list. Carbohydrates can take many different forms. Sugars like fructose (found in fruits) or sucrose (found in table sugar), and starch found in grains are all carbohydrates.

But, regardless of which type you prefer, carbohydrates may play an important role in rehabilitation for addicts. A study found that rehabilitating addicts who ate more carbohydrates had a better mood and greater sobriety (pdf document) . These positive effects may have come from the relationship carbohydrates have with some hormones, like serotonin.

In any case, including carbohydrates in an addicts diet may make staying sober easier.

Foods where you can find it:

Whole-wheat pasta, rice, and other cereals, or fruits


Glutathione is an amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein. Its created from three other amino acids that for this one. So, what makes this particular amino acid so special?

It’s a strong antioxidant. This means it can be very effective in fighting inflammation. This is beside a number of benefits the amino acid can have, from improving blood flow to helping liver function.

It can also help the immune system function. On there own, these would all be good reasons to include glutathione in your diet. But, it’s especially beneficial for addicts. This is because inflammation, blood flow, and liver function are all impaired in addicts. While some may be more affected than others, all of the above will be impacted in some way.

So, make sure you take in enough foods rich in glutathione is key to improving health and helping repair any damage done by substance abuse.

Foods where you can find it:

Kale, spinach, broccoli, onions, and garlic


One of the amino acids that makes glutathione, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this nutrient made the list. The reason this one is singled out though is that of its standalone benefits when taken in.

On its own, cysteine can also help fight inflammation and aid liver and kidney function. It can also have a protective effect on mental health and male fertility. The final two factors are also health aspects that are affected by substance abuse. So, glutathione and cysteine are two amino acids that you will want to include in the diet of addicts to help in their recovery process.

Foods where you can find it:

Eggs, chicken, peppers, and garlic


Substance abuse and rehabilitation can cause a massive loss of muscle mass. This not only affects their quality of life and makes recovery harder, but also leads to lower metabolism and health. By keeping protein high, metabolism can be maintained and recovery can be made easier.

Foods where you can find it:

Meat, fish, poultry, and quinoa

Omega-3 fats

fats are vital in maintaining a healthy immune system
, mental health and can even directly impact recovery. Taking in healthy fats like Omega-3s can help reduce symptoms associated with recovery and maintain sobriety thereafter. It can also help maintain muscle mass and heart health. So, much like carbohydrates, healthy fats are a key part of any rehabilitation diet.

Foods where you can find it:

Salmon, cod, tuna, and walnuts