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The Best Foods for Addiction Recovery

example of nutrition and addiction recovery

Healthy eating habits are important for everyone, but even more so for those in recovery from addiction. Nutrition and addiction recovery go hand in hand. One of the reasons healthy eating habits are so important for recovery is because they help the body eliminate toxins and begin repairing the damage caused by addiction. 

The addiction specialists at Midwest Center at Youngstown understand how food and rehab are intertwined. Our holistic therapy program can help you eat your way to better health and healing. Find out how a healthy, balanced diet can help you on your journey to recovery by calling 844.544.0502.

The Relationship Between Food and Rehab

Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is just one of the many parts of addiction recovery. Whole foods are crucial to recovery. Any fruit, vegetable, protein, grain, or dairy product that has not been processed or modified is considered a whole food. 

There are also several nutrients that are essential for overall health as you recover:


Tyrosine is an amino acid related to dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure. By eating foods high in tyrosine, you can combat the low energy levels associated with the beginning phases of addiction recovery. Foods high in tyrosine include:

  • Bananas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Lean beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Whole grains
  • Cheese 


L-glutamine is another amino acid known to assist addiction recovery with immune support and antioxidant benefits. In early recovery, sugar cravings may increase, which is problematic because sugar consumption is linked to anxiety, depression, and inflammation. Good sources of L-glutamine include:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Papaya
  • Protein-rich foods

Nutrition and Addiction Recovery: The Best Foods for Recovery

Now that treatment centers are more aware of the connection between nutrition and rehab, you will find that nutrition therapy is likely to be included in your treatment plan. A carefully planned diet at an addiction treatment center may consist of the following foods to support your recovery:

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, and omega-3s. They are beneficial for recovery because they promote lung health. It is important to think about lungs in recovery because often, there are lung problems from smoking, huffing, or lack of exercise. By improving lung function, breathing and blood flow also improve. Examples of leafy greens are:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Bok choy

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants benefit recovery because they help strengthen your immunity and detoxify the liver, which is responsible for detoxifying harmful chemicals and free radicals. Side effects of a poorly functioning liver include headaches, bad breath, allergies, skin problems, tiredness, and weight gain. Antioxidant-rich foods that support liver health include:

  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Prunes
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits

Flavonoids and Healthy Fats

Foods with flavonoids are recommended for addiction recovery because they help with cognitive impairment. Addiction has a negative impact on cognitive health, ranging from memory loss to the inability to perform skills. However, cognitive function can be restored with flavonoid-rich foods and healthy fats. You can find flavonoids in green tea, cocoa, and citrus fruits. Some great healthy fats for recovery are:

  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Salmon

Energy-Boosting Foods

Recovering from addiction can cause a lack of energy, resulting in sleep problems, stress, and weight gain. Some good sources of energy for recovery include:

  • Honey
  • Whole grains
  • Leafy greens


Water is essential to all functions of the body and overall health. However, water intake during recovery is important because it helps flush toxins out of the kidneys. 

Heal with Nutrition and Rehab at Midwest Center at Youngstown

The addiction treatment plan at Midwest Center in Youngstown includes nutritional counseling, wellness activities, and aftercare programs. While our programs have a foundation in science, we also have holistic therapies for a whole-person approach to addiction treatment. Call Midwest Center at Youngstown at 844.544.0502 to learn more about healing from addiction with the power of nutrition.