Fitness & Nutrition


How Nutrition and Fitness Help Addiction Recovery

Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to nutritional deficiencies and bad gut health. People with substance use disorders often have inadequate levels of good fats, essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. In other words, they lack a balanced diet. Some rehabilitation centers overlook the importance of good nutrition.

Comprehensive addiction treatment includes assisting clients in correcting their nutritional deficit. Individuals with substance abuse disorders are also at risk of eating disorders. This can result in health issues as well as dietary problems.

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Effect of Nutrients On the Body

Nutrition treatment helps clients learn about balancing calories, minerals, and vitamins for better health. The two groups of nutrients include:


The body requires such nutrients in larger quantities. They include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Provision of energy is part of their key roles.


They’re not small nutrients, but the body requires them in smaller quantities. Minerals and vitamins, which are the components of micro-nutrients, are essential to bone development. Micro-nutrients help in the regeneration and growth of organ tissues. They play vital roles in the production of blood and its clotting.

Nutrition and Addiction

Effect of Substance Abuse on Appetite

Drug addiction has a long-term effect on nutrition and health. Although the severity of the impact varies from one substance to another, most drugs disrupt physiological operations. Substance use disorders make it hard to absorb and retain vitamins and minerals. Alcohol and drugs may interfere with an individual’s diet and nutrition in many ways, including:

  • Malnourishment – Results from the body’s inability to absorb the necessary nutrients for physiological processes.
  • Poor eating – When a person has a substance use disorder, they often don’t care about how they eat. Hence, their diets lack sustenance. Hypoglycemia may be the outcome.
  • Failure to eat – Some drugs suppress appetite.
  • Low immune system – Opiates and alcohol are known to suppress the immune system making it easier to develop an illness or infection.

Substance abuse may lead to the destruction of the intestines, pancreas, stomach lining, and liver. Interference with these organs disrupts food digestion, absorption, and nutrient storage. Besides, regular alcohol abuse can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, acid reflux, a fungal infection in the intestines, and overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

Over time substance abuse causes micronutrient deficiencies. Plus, bad dietary habits influence productivity. Addiction makes it easy to lose sight and interest in staying healthy. A good diet is key to good health, which is why we emphasize it during detox and rehabilitation.


Alcohol dependence is associated with severe nutritional deficiencies that make addiction worse. Dietary deficiencies result from various processes such as interference with the stomach lining. Pancreas releases pro-enzymes and enzymes that play a crucial role in the digestion of hormones and macro-nutrients.

The strain on vital organs leads to an electrolyte, fluid, and calorie imbalance. Long-term alcohol consumption disrupts the absorption of thiamin, vitamin B6, and folic acid. Research reveals that 80% of alcohol addicts have thiamine deficiency. Nutrient-rich foods can combat this.

Note that the above vitamin deficiencies may predispose people to neurological disorders and anemic conditions. People suffering from an alcohol use disorder may experience Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. The disease disrupts memory and learning abilities.


Diarrhea and vomiting are withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids. Such withdrawal symptoms may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and depletion of nutrients. Although it may be challenging to eat during withdrawal, addiction recovery specialists may recommend complex carbohydrates to minimize such symptoms.


Cocaine and amphetamines are known to suppress appetite, cause euphoria, and increase energy. Prolonged use of stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines can lead to malnutrition and severe loss of weight.

Malnutrition is associated with reduced body temperature, sleep problems, impaired wound healing, and a compromised immune system. A sudden halt in the use of stimulants often causes an appetite spike. An individual may eat excessively, which can cause them to rapidly gain weight and can disrupt gut health.

Our experienced Wellness Team crafts individualized comprehensive nutritional plans for all clients . This includes portioned meals and a balanced diet that reintroduces food over time. Good nutrition heals damage from drug abuse.

Benefits of a healthy diet include:

  • Elevated mood
  • Increased energy
  • A boost in the immune system
  • Helps the body repair damaged tissues and organs
  • Can relieve digestion issues

Note that some clients crave junk food while recovering. But junk food hinders effective recovery. It’s tough to resist the temptation in an outpatient program. Residential treatment makes it easier for recovering addicts to eat well.


Regular exercise is critical in maintaining sobriety. When combined with other programs such as nutrition therapy, exercise lowers the chances of relapse. Fitness can boost an individual’s self-esteem and mental health. Physical and mental health are interrelated.

Physical activities, such as yoga, help strengthen muscles and bones. Additionally, exercise helps people maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can also reduce the chances of chronic illness.

Studies reveal that exercise curbs cravings among individuals with cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis, and opioid addiction. Workouts improve blood circulation and oxygen supply to the tissues. Increased energy from consistent exercise makes it easier to perform tasks and helps individuals resist the urge to use drugs.

Exercise Boosts Mood Levels

Apart from increased serotonin, regular exercise leads to the release of both dopamine and endorphins. These hormones play critical roles in mood regulation. Mood swings are common among clients in the recovery phase because the body needs to readjust.

Relieves Stress

Stress relief is essential for every individual recovering from drug abuse. Withdrawal symptoms put the brain and body under stress. Exercise is known to reduce anxiety and overall stress. Physical activity also acts as natural painkillers when done correctly.

Also, routine exercise can curb cravings and teach clients about accountability. The sense of responsibility lays the foundation for a healthy, drug-free life.

Fitness and Nutrition Are a Part of Comprehensive Care

For effective recovery, other programs such as sub-acute detoxification and residential treatment are essential. Sub-acute detoxification is the first step in the recovery process, and it entails getting rid of the drugs from the body.

Also, Key to Recovery provides a residential treatment program where the clients are cared for 24/7. Residential treatment can help clients recover in a stress-free environment. Plus, it provides residents with delicious, nutritious meals. Our Wellness Team weaves fitness and nutrition into every day.

For a recovery plan that sticks, contact us now. We’re ready to walk with you through your recovery journey and assist you or your loved ones in living a drug-free life.

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The Key To Recovery

At The Key to Recovery, our mission is greater than initial sobriety. Our goal is to empower our clients with the tools and motivation they will need for the rest of their lives. We operate 24/7. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible with the information that you need.

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