Diet, Nutrition and Substance Use Disorder

Research shows that a healthy diet with plenty of nutrients can boost your recovery from addiction

March 2, 2022
Chopping vegetables

Looking for research on nutrition and recovery?

We found Utah State University’s fact sheet on diet, nutrition and substance use disorder very helpful. The university’s research concluded that:

While nutrition interventions are not regularly utilized in treatment and recovery resources, they have been shown to produce positive impacts on various aspects of recovery. People with an SUD should consider reviewing the role that proper nutrition can play in SUD treatment, and advocate for its inclusion in their own recovery journey.

One of the key takeaways highlighted in the fact sheet about recovery and nutrition:

Food provides “fuel” for the body and mind, with different nutrients impacting mood and overall health in various ways (Jensen, et al., 2019). Increasing consumption of healthy “fuel,” such as fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants can increase neurotransmitter signaling in the brain (Du et al., 2014). Depressed neurotransmitter signaling is associated with depression and suicidal thoughts that sometimes occur with SUD, so increasing the consumption of these healthy nutrients can reverse these negative symptoms (Du et al., 2014). Furthermore, with adequate nutrition to power the brain, a person in SUD recovery may experience fewer cravings and prolonged abstinence (Jeynes & Gibson, 2017; Martinotti et al., 2010). The benefits of adequate nutrition can be key during recovery and treatment, so learning about improving nutrition can aid a person’s recovery journey.

Here’s a link to the full Utah State University fact sheet and recommendations.

Source: The article was produced by Utah State University’s Health Extension: Advocacy, Research, and Teaching Initiative, also known as HEART. This cutting-edge, four-year pilot program is aligned with the National Cooperative Extension’s recently instituted essential focus area in health and wellness. HEART serves as a model of how the extension can join community partners to better address the health and wellness needs in Utah. HEART brings unique academic resources into the community, partnering locally and nationally to address the opioid epidemic and other pressing public health issues.

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