AUSTIN, Texas - As millions of people struggle with addiction, there may be a new way to help with recovery. Surprisingly enough, it has to do with food.
The way you eat, can change your life. That's something that Liz Winchell, the former Director of Admissions at Malibu Beach Recovery Center, has experienced first-hand.
"I know that was true for me. In my addiction, I thought that it was all there was. You know, I thought I was having so much fun but I didn't know that there was so much more out there. That life was so much easier and happier without it," says Winchell.
Dr. Kenneth Blum with the University of Florida has studied all types of addiction. He says that behavior is often caused by a low level of dopamine in the brain. About one-third of the U.S. population is affected by this.
"What we're really saying is that if you have low dopamine function, you may have a higher risk for addiction; either in drugs or even non-drug addiction. Sexual addiction, gambling, sugar addiction; you can just go on with certain amounts of addiction. It's the low dopamine that's a problem," says Dr. Blum.
Studies have shown that if you raise the level, you can reduce craving behavior, have better cognition, to where you make better decisions, and have less of a chance of relapsing.
"Certain foods carry the possibility of increasing dopamine. In fact, protein, meat for example can increase the number of dopamine D2 receptors in the brain. Fish omega can do the same thing," says Dr. Blum.
Joan Borsten is the former owner of Malibu Beach Recovery Center that treats people with alcohol and drug addictions. She is the author of "Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook" and says with the help of wonderful chefs, they were able to offer food that substantially helped their patients.
"Pine nuts are dopamine boosting," says Borsten.
Along with whole grains, vegetables and dark chocolate.
For that reason, Borsten wrote the cookbook.
"We use a lot of what we call dopamine boosting ingredients in the food, which gives people a sense of well-being as they continue along their path to sobriety and then to long-term sobriety," says Borsten.
She says after about seven days, the person begins to change.
"Their skin color improves, their eyes are bright, their hair is shiny and they start to walk taller. The most important thing is that the fog that they come in with, begins to lift," says Borsten.
Helping them get through the process of recovery.
For more information about the cookbook you can go here.