Superfoods are commonly believed by many to only be fruits and vegetables, but they are also proteins and healthy fats. Filling your diet with a variety of these foods can be an incredibly colorful, exciting and creative venture, one that makes you both look and feel better.
For those who are actively going through the process of recovering from addiction, regularly consuming superfoods can be an especially beneficial practice. Addiction takes a serious toll on both your body and your mind, regardless of how long the addiction was present, and superfoods are one of the ways you can amplify your healing efforts.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at superfoods while providing you with a comprehensive list of the best superfoods to fuel your body during this phase in your recovery journey.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods are foods that are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other beneficial compounds that have been proven to have a significant positive effect on our health.
Some of the top benefits of superfoods include:
- Protecting the body against infection, illness, diseases and other radicals
- Boosting the overall function and strength of the body
- Reducing inflammation in the body (which has been linked to nearly every health issue, including depression, anxiety, cancer, diabetes and bipolar disorder)
- Balancing blood sugar levels
- Improving heart health
Everyone can benefit from regularly consuming superfoods, but there are certain superfoods that are best for people facing specific health conditions or lacking specific vitamins.
Top superfoods for health in recovery
When you’re recovering from an addiction, nutrition is essential, but not everyone is provided with a well-rounded education on nutrition. They may not have been given practical advice about what eating healthy actually looks like on a day-to-day basis.
Below are some of the best types of superfoods to benefit those in recovery:
High antioxidant foods
Berries are a highly antioxidant superfood with several benefits for the body. In addition to being super high in antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber, berries also help alleviate any inflammation and internal stress caused by withdrawals.
Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods in the world and one of the best choices, but strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are all beneficial, too.
Citrus fruits are one of the purest ways to repair and strengthen your immune system, primarily because of their extraordinarily high levels of vitamin C and zinc. Together, these two vitamins form a powerhouse of immune-strengthening nutrients that will greatly assist in your healing.
Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes all play a role in improving cognitive function, boosting the immune system and even alleviating symptoms of depression.
Probiotics are microscopic living organisms (commonly referred to as “good bacteria”) that are essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Think of the microbiome as the “home” where trillions of microorganisms work every moment of every day, breaking down food, producing and processing essential vitamins and nutrients, as well as regulating the immune system. Without a healthy microbiome, the entire state of our health begins to deteriorate.
Some of the best probiotic-rich foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, greek yogurt and kefir; be sure to always choose the versions of these products that are in the refrigerated section. Because probiotics are alive, they require a “raw,” cool environment in order to live; products on the aisle shelves are going to be pasteurized (ultra-purified to remove all bacteria, good bacteria included), which means probiotics are no longer present.
Liver-cleansing foods are an important element for anyone recovering from an addiction, but especially for those recovering from an addiction to alcohol. The damage that alcohol does to our liver can be severe and sometimes irreparable, but sometimes the supplementation of certain superfoods can mean all the difference in the world.
Raw or freshly cooked garlic, raw or freshly roasted beets, lemons, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are all beneficial to your liver cleansing and overall function.
Natural, healthy fats
Without fat, our brain — which is primarily composed of fat — would not be able to properly function, our heart would be unable to sustain its efforts, and as a result of those two things alone, the rest of our body would struggle and ultimately cease to function.
The key is to choose healthy, nutrient-rich fats, such like:
- Butter and ghee
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flax seeds
- Grass-fed beef
- Full-fat dairy
The fats you want to avoid are the additive-filled fats like those you find in processed meats (hot dogs, deli meat), salty snacks (chips, most crackers), sweet snacks (baked goods), and the unhealthy oils commonly used to cook (corn, canola, vegetable).
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