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Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant and water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can be found in fruits and vegetables. Essential because it aids the body form and maintains connective tissue, blood vessels, skin, and bones; medical professionals agree that vitamin C is one of the most accessible and safest nutrients. While it may not completely cure a common cold, it can reduce the risk and symptoms of contracting one. Other perhaps lesser-known benefits include protecting eyesight, protecting against skin wrinkling, prenatal health issues, and even cardiovascular disease.  

The Benefits of Healthy Eating

If you have engaged in substance abuse or dealt with the ups and downs of mental health issues, you might recognize that maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult. When we attempt to satisfy an urge related to substance abuse, prioritizing healthy eating may be challenging. If your priority is to meet a quick fix, you are more likely to spend what money you have on the substance rather than shopping for groceries.

When you are engaged in a rehabilitative program and trying to rebuild your life, begin paying attention to your nutritional intake. Throughout your addiction, your body will have compensated for nutrition loss. For example, you may have been more susceptible to colds, skin rashes, and open sores. All of this causes inflammation within our body as our white blood cells spring into action, deployed as soldiers to tackle the infection. The nutrients we put into our body via vitamins and minerals help develop our healthy response to infection.

Think of your immune system like a bank. Every time you deposit into the bank, you build up your reserves to save up for a rainy day. It’s the same with food; the healthier the food you consume, the more nutrient-dense deposits you have within your body. When you get sick, your body will withdraw from that deposit, depleting resources as it tackles a cold, flu, or skin infection. Over time, if those resources are not put back with quality food, the body begins to run on empty, leaving nothing for a rainy day to help with stress and illnesses.

Eventually, when you are abusing substances, the body uses all its resources. Like with a cough, a cold, or some other infection, the resources will wear down if you don’t put good food and nutrition back into your body.

What is Good Food?

Good food refers to quality food that is dense in nutrients. Nutrients are deposited into the body from food in the form of vitamins and minerals. You may recognize the more common vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin E, Vitamin B, and of course, vitamin C. If you were handed an orange when you were a child, chances are you were told to eat your orange to get your vitamin C.

You might recognize minerals in the form of magnesium and potassium. Essential for muscle function and heart function, magnesium is vital for heart health. Among other things, potassium is necessary for regulating healthy muscle contractions. You may recognize a potassium deficiency if you’ve ever had a cramp in your leg after running or swimming.

The Effects of Carbohydrates

During addiction recovery, it may be necessary to rethink your approach to food. During the consumption of substances, it might have become a habit to eat lots of pre-made, quick to prepare foods high in sugars, starches, and simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are high in starches. Think of that white burger bun or hot dog roll, or the open packet of potato chips; all are high in simple carbohydrates.  In other words, super-refined flour. Simple carbohydrates are packed with starches; when starches breakdown, they convert to the same sugar as a chocolate bar. The sugars and starches produce inflammation as our body attempts to get rid of all that “junk.”

How Vitamin C Can Help

Vitamin C helps in the reduction of inflammation within our bodies. This is not to say that you can have lots of fast food followed by an orange. It means we need to incorporate as much healthy food into our diet as possible.

Vitamin C is necessary to grow and restore tissue in our bodies. It also helps absorb iron, heal wounds, form collagen, maintains healthy gums, and maintain cartilage and bones. Sugar, present in alcohol and the mixers you may have poured into your glass, breaks down collagen, which, over time, will lead to inflamed skin, in addition to joint issues. Collagen, acting as nature’s natural lubricant within our joints, is essential to continue walking without knee and ankle pain.

Antioxidants and Cell Division

Cell division occurs when our bodies are under stress, either from our lifestyle factors or illness.  When your cells are placed under pressure, the body produces free radicals through cell metabolism. This is particularly true when we introduce alcohol or other toxic chemicals into the body. Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, helps protect against free radicals, and over time, may help repair damaged cells caused by this free radical activity.

How to Get Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the easiest and least expensive supplements to come by; the body cannot store the vitamin in the body, making it very difficult to overdose on this supplement accidentally.

As you progress through recovery, speaking with your health care professional about dietary and nutrition needs is essential. As a guide, you should get sufficient vitamin C through a healthy, balanced diet.

Easily accessible foods may help keep you on the path to wellness and recovery, including:

  • Bell peppers – Red, Green, Yellow, and Orange
  • Citrus fruits – Oranges, Lemons, and Limes
  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Berries – Strawberries, Raspberries
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Pineapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Fortified foods – Cereal, Bread, Grains 

Continued health improvement may be a secondary goal to the initial reason you chose to live free from substance abuse. However, once you begin to feel the physical benefits of removing toxins from the body, you may want to learn more about the role vitamins play in overall health and immunity. Vitamin C, often lacking in our bodies when we engage in substance misuse, is crucial for more than preventing colds. Located within the beautiful Ocala National Forest, Florida, The Guest House provides residential and outpatient programs to treat all forms of addiction, trauma, depression, in addition to other mental health and substance abuse issues. Set amongst peaceful, elegant surroundings teeming with wildlife, become inspired to grow beyond your addiction and live a life of wellness and recovery. Individualized treatment options include psychodrama, meditation, equine therapy, art, music, and group support. The Guest House Ocala prides itself on providing a holistic and supportive approach to long term wellness and support. Tired of waiting to live the life you deserve? Call Guest House now at (855) 483-7800. Our staff looks forward to meeting you.