When in recovery, we can implement healthier habits in many aspects of our lives. Adapting a healthy lifestyle can help keep us in sobriety. It can also help us feel better about ourselves physically and mentally.
Certain foods have been shown to improve our brain power. It can be an especially good idea to incorporate them more into our everyday diet.
Food for the Brain
Certain types of food can improve different parts of our brains. One of them is the plant pigments in berries like strawberries. In a study published in 2014 in Neural Regeneration Research, researchers found that fruits, strawberries included, have a positive impact on our brains. They help delay memory loss, making our ability to remember situations stronger. This can be beneficial not only for our performance at work but also for our ability to socialize with others.
Those who drink tea and coffee regularly may also benefit from overall mental function. Long-term consumption of these caffeine liquids has been linked to a better attention span and memory. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine, which exists naturally in foods such as matcha tea, has been shown to be especially beneficial for cognition.
Vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are dense in beta carotene, folate, lutein, and vitamin K. These greens can slow the decrease of cognitive function. This can help promote a better quality of life by encouraging people to participate in activities that may be challenging for those whose cognitive function has already started to decline.
Our Brains Work Hard
Our brains never stop working. They allow us to perform throughout our days, and at night they create the dreams we experience. Our brains are always making decisions, enabling us to move our bodies without giving them a second thought and helping us to communicate with the world around us.
With the amount of work our brains are constantly doing for us, the least we can do is give them the fuel they need to function at their fullest potential. We can do this by eating healthy foods, getting some form of exercise at least a few times a week, and staying sober once we have completed treatment.
Living Sober and Healthy
When we can keep these promises to ourselves and live a healthier lifestyle, we are more open to the positive situations that come our way. After all, when our healthy lifestyles help us avoid exhaustion, we have more energy to spend engaged in work, hobbies, or social events that can lead to opportunity. We invite the good into our lives by staying optimistic and giving our bodies what they need and deserve.
We can take the good habits we learn from treatment and practice them consistently in our lives. One of those good habits could be to find a therapist and continue to talk about our substance abuse or mental health issues. Therapy can help us learn healthy coping skills that can help us prevent making bad decisions in the future. We can process our traumas and receive clarity on issues that may have left us questioning ourselves and those around us. Other good habits to incorporate can include prioritizing self-care, including relaxing activities that give us joy. Sleeping well and eating well are also vital components of the sober lifestyle.
Food Guides Our Emotions
About 95% of our serotonin is produced from our gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it makes sense that what we eat affects our mood and energy levels.
Our digestive tract is lined with millions of neurons, which relay messages from other parts of our nervous system to our brain. Certain foods will produce good bacteria that signal our neurons to communicate positive messages to our brains. Other foods can produce bad bacteria, which in turn makes us feel bad.
Highly processed foods and those that are high in sugar have the potential to deplete our energy and mood in the long run. It is okay to have these types of foods in moderation. However, the more we build our diets around fresh and nutrient-rich foods, the better our bodies will likely feel, and the better they can perform.
We decided to become sober to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. This mindset can help us make smart decisions about the food and drinks we put into our bodies. We all deserve to live long, healthy lives with limited health issues. We can do that preventative work now, and our future selves will thank us. We still have so much life and energy left in us; why not take advantage of this time and maximize our quality of life?
Feeling Good in Our Sobriety
We should feel proud of ourselves for completing treatment, and we deserve to feel the best we can in our new lifestyle. Undergoing a new way of life without the presence of substance use and addiction may feel strange and overwhelming at first because it is our new norm.
Adding in a new diet, along with more exercise than we are used to, might feel like too much. However, once we ease our way into it and become accustomed to this way of life, it will become natural for us. The short- and long-term benefits of eating healthy are more than worth it.
Seeking treatment for substance use disorder or other mental health conditions is a huge life decision. It can change our lives for the better. Once we are living in sobriety, we can make decisions to further take care of our minds and bodies. We can implement healthier food choices into our regular diets and be more mindful of the foods that improve brain health rather than compromise it. Exercise is another great option to add to our everyday lives. Regular exercise can keep us physically healthy as well as improve our mental health. Going for a walk can facilitate positive emotions, and getting fresh air can positively guide our thoughts. We can see a therapist consistently to help us process our trauma and past struggle with substance use and addiction. We can live our lives to the fullest. Call 449 Recovery today at (949) 435-7449.
Dr. Warren Taff MD, graduated from the University of Birmingham, England School of Medicine, with a BA from Rutgers University. He then went on to UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles Health and Human Services and received an MPH. He also attended an internship in internal medicine, with the Veterans Administration. Dr. Taff’s residency includes General Psychiatry at USC, with elective residencies at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and Royal College of Psychiatry. Board certifications include American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Taff has extensive experience in both psychiatry and addiction medicine, extending from 1979 to present. He has held professional titles that include Chief of Staff and Medical Directorship in both hospitals and private sectors.