The brain relies on fatty Omega Acids to function. Omega acids can only come from our diets. Specifically, the brain needs Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omegas help with the production and maintenance of cell membranes, which is important for ensuring the longevity of our minds. Omega rich diets have been closely linked with the prevention of deteriorating diseases. Alzheimer’s and dementia are partially due to a lack of Omega acids in the brain. Fish with fat and oil like salmon are protein rich sources for omega acids. Eating the skin on fatty fish is like taking a high dose of Omega supplement. Nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds are also good sources of Omega acids.
Omega acids and fatty acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters, the communication devices in the brain. Dopamine, the neurotransmitter for pleasure, is infamously imbedded deep in the addiction process. Dopamine production is critical for successful recovery as well. Addictive substances produce a surplus of dopamine, which causes a surge in the reward center of the mind. In a ripple effect, other areas of the brain are altered, which ultimately causes tolerance and then dependency. Becoming dependent on an addictive substance means the brain can no longer produce dopamine on it’s own. Take that addictive substance out of the picture and the brain is struggling to experience pleasure. Depression, cravings, and withdrawal in the first 90 days of recovery frequently lead to relapse. Eating a diet rich in healthy Omega acids will help with reproducing natural dopamine.
Mistakenly, people believe that all fat is good fat and that it should be good for the brain. People also tend to disregard their diets entirely. Omega fatty acids are different from the other fats humans consume. Saturated, monounsaturated, and trans fats are unhealthy fats that can have a damaging effect on the brain. During active addiction when dopamine is ruling the brain, impulsive food choices based on bare necessity or craving are given priority. That can lead to an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. Without giving the brain the essential support it needs to produce it’s own dopamine, addiction is exacerbated and without defense. Thus, it is critically important to create a holistic meal plan for recovery.