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Foods that could exacerbate an addiction include:
Caffeine- Consuming coffee has been shown to cause opiate receptor binding. This further explains why most people who drink coffee drink it daily and if they consume more than 24 ounces daily, they would have withdrawal symptoms if they stopped. Excessive consumption of coffee and caffeine can cause anxiety, autoimmune pain disorders, inflammation, and sleep disturbances. Eliminating coffee and other caffeinated substances from the diet will help reduce the opiate response.
Processed Sugars- Research on mice has shown that their body reacts to sugar through opiate receptor binding. The opiate receptors react to sugar just like it does to addicting substances, which also increase the opiate receptor binding activity. Those who are regularly exposed to sugar tend to consume 30% more calories daily then those who eat a balanced diet, that is not particularly high in sugar, this is measured specifically through opiate receptor binding. Aim for more complex carbohydrate sources like quinoa, steel cut oats, sweet potatoes, flax seed, to name a few.
Artificial Sweeteners– Also, avoid chemically based non-calorie sugar substitutes (except pure stevia), these include, saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. Non-calories sugar substitutes are typically found in drinks, and diet marketed foods like yogurts, nutrition bars, frozen meals and desserts. Although these sweeteners are not full of calories, our brain still recognizes that there is something sweet inside of our body and it instinctively sends a signal to the pancreas to secrete insulin.
Gluten has become a common intolerance both mild and more severe with those who suffer from Celiac Disease. Experts believe that the low nutrient over processed broken down wheat in our mainstream cooking flour has caused us to become intolerant to gluten, resulting from compromised gut function. The gut and gastrointestinal system is the body’s dashboard for good health, containing healthy bacteria that help keep unhealthy bacteria levels at bay. In reference to addiction, research has also revealed that gluten like sugar has a similar increased opiate receptor activity. The brain tissue in mice revealed an increase in opiate response, specifically when gluten was consumed.
A person with substance abuse is more likely to relapse when they are malnourished. This is why regular meals are important. Some research suggest drug and alcohol addiction causes a person to forget what it is like to be hungry and they may crave their addictive substance instead of proper food.
Essential Foods for Addiction Recovery Include:
Eat dark leafy green vegetables and dark fruits like berries– They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, (including Iron) fiber and water. All of these nutrients help maintain a metabolic balance resulting in decreased cravings and suppressed opiate receptors. The fiber and water help reduce hunger, resulting in better portion control and increase the ability to maintain optimal weight.
Salmon and other cold-water fish, extra virgin olive oil, and cold pressed coconut oil– Healthy fats reduce inflammation, nourish brain cells, and help improve satiety. A diet low in fat for a prolonged period of time can decrease the ability to focus while increasing inflammation resulting in stimulation of opiate receptors.
Optimal water– consuming water that promotes pH balance within the body will also decrease inflammation, promote optimal metabolism, while increasing energy levels and ability to focus.