Many drug addicts and alcoholics suffer the side effects of a poor diet and lack of exercise. Plus, the drugs and alcohol they abuse take a terrible toll on their physical fitness and general health, as well as their mental and spiritual well-being. The substances they abuse rob cells of nutrition while simultaneously compromising and damaging various organs, limiting their bodies’ ability to expel toxins effectively either. Good diet and a sensible exercise regime play a very important role in successful alcohol and addiction recovery.

The Damaged Body
Prolonged use of alcohol and drugs causes more damage to the body than any other illness. It affects the circulatory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems, as well as most organs, including the brain and liver. Skin, teeth and hair are affected as well as hormone levels and the immune system.

However, the body is capable of miraculous reversals and changes if it’s given the right nutrients to convert into the foundations of new health. In fact the body is constantly regenerating itself. It makes between 11 and 13 million new cells every second or nearly 100 million new cells in the time it takes you to read this sentence. The skin regenerates itself every 4 weeks, the liver every 6 weeks, and the blood every 16 weeks. Even the bones completely regenerate themselves. For people in alcohol and drug addiction recovery, whose bodies have been subjected to so much damage, they have an excellent opportunity to reverse the many physical ill-effects of their substance abuse, but it takes a focused plan of eating nutritional foods and exercising regularly.

The Right Food
The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a pyramid of six healthy food groups. Use this structure as a good foundation to start a new diet. Remove processed foods, sodas, cakes, candy and fast food from the diet and replace them with foods in the following list:

1. Fruits: grapes, apples, all kinds of berries, melons, pears, avocados, grapefruit and oranges
2. Vegetables: broccoli, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, beans, carrots and asparagus
3. Oils and Fats: olive, canola, safflower and corn oil. Almonds, peanuts and olives are good choices, too. Avoid trans fats
4. Healthy Whole Grains: oatmeal, 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, tortillas and bulgur
5. Lean Meat, Poultry and Fish: salmon, herring, mackerel and albacore tuna (fresh or packed in water), turkey and/or chicken (without the skin), eggs (sparingly), or egg substitute, and beans
6. Milk and Milk Products: low fat or skim milk, nonfat cottage cheese, yogurt, mozzarella cheese (instead of cheddar, Swiss or other high-fat cheeses)

The Benefits of Exercise
The steady build up of a regular exercise regime supports and maximizes the benefits of an improved diet as it enhances physical fitness. It helps release and removes residual toxins left in muscle and other tissues, restores the metabolism, reduces excess weight, improves circulation and heart health, builds strength and stamina, and helps relieve stress. Exercise releases natural endorphins, which help the recovering addict or alcoholic feel more optimistic, improving their self-image and their future outlook.

A good diet and regular exercise are vitally important tools for recovering addicts to make significant progress with their recovery and to help them maintain sobriety.

Albert Black

Albert Black is the founder and CEO of Recovery in the Pines, the premier Christian-based, extended-care, addiction treatment center, located in Prescott, AZ, offering holistic wellness for drug and alcohol dependency. For more information about Recovery in the Pines, go to its website at: http://recoveryinthepines.com/ or contact Albert Black by phone at: (928) 308-4311 or email at: albertblack@recoveryinthepines.com