The deep work of rehabilitating yourself from the ravages of drug or alcohol addiction can be an incredibly stressful experience. Reopening and addressing old emotional wounds is never easy, and requires every ounce of one’s attention and willpower. It is important to remember that there are a number of ways that you can alleviate the stress and anxiety in rehab that will inevitably arise during the course of your treatment.
One of the most beneficial-and often overlooked-things that you can do for yourself during the process of rehabilitation is maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. Eating nutritious meals might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but there are actually a number of foods that have been shown to help relieve anxiety in rehab and promote a sense of calm when eaten regularly.
10 Foods That Help With Anxiety In Rehab
Below, we’ll take a closer look at 10 foods that can help keep you calm, while going through a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.
Eggs, and egg yolks in particular, are packed full of nutrients that have a beneficial effect on mood and cognition. The compounds lecithin and choline are necessary for proper central nervous system function, and are found in abundance in lightly cooked egg yolks. Choline is metabolized into the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the body, which plays a major role in both decision-making and the formation of memories in the brain.
Tea is a great alternative to coffee for people in a rehabilitation program. Green tea has about 1/3rd of the amount of caffeine compared to coffee, and is loaded with L-theanine. L-theanine works synergistically with caffeine, giving you the same energy boost, but without any of the edginess. L-theanine works by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, and has been shown to bring about changes in brainwaves that indicate relaxation.
Blueberries may be small, but they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. In times of stress our bodies undergo oxidative damage, but the extra dose of vitamin C and antioxidants from blueberries help our bodies to repair and protect vulnerable cells. These compounds are damaged by heat, so skip the blueberry pie and stick to only fresh or frozen berries.
Zinc plays a vital role in healthy immune and central nervous system function, and there is no better source of zinc than oysters. Stress and anxiety cause our bodies to use up a lot of zinc, making oysters a must-eat food to reduce anxiety in rehab.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are a rich source of dietary magnesium, a metal utilized in over 300 different biochemical processes. A deficiency in magnesium in one’s diet has been shown to correlate with anxiety in numerous scientific studies, so make sure to include at least one leafy green salad in your diet every day to help keep stress at bay.
6. Coconut Oil
A large percentage of the fats found in coconut are medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs, unlike other fats, are quickly converted in the liver into ketones, a wonderful source of energy that does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. The MCTs found in coconut oil have even been shown to have a beneficial effect on numerous cognitive functions as well, making them a great way to fuel your recovery efforts.
7. Bone Broth
Bone broth is truly a superfood when it comes to healing intestinal damage. How does this help promote stress relief? Recent research is beginning to show that good gut health goes a long way towards alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition to being a great source of collagen, bone broth is high in glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to have calming properties.
Cold water fish such as salmon is perhaps the best source of omega-3 fatty acids you can find in nature. These fatty acids can help stop both adrenaline and cortisol levels from spiking when we are feeling stressed. Try to include four ounces of salmon in your diet three times a week. It may not sound like a lot, but that is all your body needs to help mitigate the effects of damaging stress hormones.
Raw garlic has been shown to stabilize cortisol levels, thereby stopping harmful stress responses before they have a chance to damage the body. And the sulfuric metabolites found in garlic, such as allicin, are associated with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
10. Dark Chocolate
Recent research has demonstrated that the various compounds found in dark chocolate can be helpful for reducing cortisol and catecholamines levels in the body. In one study, test subjects who self-identified as being highly stressed experienced a statistically significant reduction in stress hormone levels after two weeks of dark chocolate supplementation. Aim for dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cacao, as these varieties are much lower in refined sugar, which carries its own set of potential health risks.
Nutritious And Delicious Meals
At The Dunes, we know just how important proper nutrition is to the recovery process, which is why our head chef works closely with fully accredited dietitians and nutritionists to craft meals that are both delicious and nourishing.
We truly believe that the cuisine we craft at The Dunes East Hampton rivals that which is served at five-star restaurants. Our dishes are inspired by culinary traditions from across the globe; from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, from the Old World to the New, each and every meal is crafted with care and is sure to delight the palates of our guests. These healthy meals also take a holistic approach to recovery and seek to alleviate anxiety in rehab.
Treating Dual Diagnosis At The Dunes
While maintaining proper nutrition can help moderate stress levels for most of our clients, some require a more intensive, specialized approach.
At The Dunes, we offer dual diagnosis treatment program for those battling mental disorders like chronic anxiety and depression. Our goal is first and foremost to help you achieve lasting recovery from your issues with substance abuse, and to do that, we’ll work to address any underlying psychological conditions that may have led you down the road to addiction in the first place.