Want to Become Healthier? Eat This.
In my last blog Want to Ditch The Anxiety I wrote about the role of our mind and emotions in our overall wellbeing. Our thoughts create the life we live in. Everything starts with what and how we think.
In my daily meditation practice, my guru often talks about how thoughts come first, followed by words, and eventually actions — that we start living our lives first and foremost in our minds. While we can’t stop thinking, we can be aware of our thoughts and choose — do I want to keep creating this image or not?
While our creativity gives us wings to fly and the ability to aim for the impossible, food and lifestyle are the fuel to get it done.
My mom used to say that an empty sack cannot stand upright. Well, I would add that even with a full belly, without the right nutrients, we cannot stand upright and function well.
Food is fuel for our bodies and minds – it feeds our soul, gives us pleasure, and brings people together. While this fact is so essential, many of us take it for granted.
Nutrients and Health
Our diet dictates the quality of our life. All the nutrients we need to be healthy are available in Nature. It is on us to find the right elements to help the major functions of our bodies work well and in balance.
Some things are well known to cause inflammation. Gluten, dairy, and sugar are among those to blame. Inflammation can cause all sorts of symptoms, and one of them is affecting our gut. When our digestive system is inflamed, our body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs to be healthy and for the brain to function well.
For people with an autoimmune condition, this is even more dangerous. While the autoimmune disease is in part hereditary, some people develop it, and others don’t. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 24 million Americans suffer from a type of autoimmune disease. The number varies depending on the conditions included. The numbers keep growing. While there are some well known autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Celiac, etc. , not many people understand the role the food we pick has in our quality of life.
Looking for Answers
As I was trying to find alternative ways to control flares and the progression of my condition, I learned that eating a healthy, balanced, organic diet, rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids could help diminish the pain and the number of flares.
One of the complications of an autoimmune disease is that while we may help control the rise with medicine and other complementary lifestyle choices, our organs’ damage is irreversible. Therefore, adopting a healthy style sooner rather than later is critical to prevent and control the damage’s progression.
Thinking about the Menu
“About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn’t exist 100 years ago.” ― Dr. Larry McCleary, Author and Brain Surgeon
I included some ideas of little changes you may make to your daily food choices. While quitting sugar, gluten, and dairy is a big step for anyone, we all can include a few items in our pantry that can help make the jump.
- Fish: add fish rich in Omega-3 fats to your diet. Some options include salmon, sardine, halibut, and tuna. If you can, choose fresh-caught possibilities to avoid any allergens the fish may have had in their diet. Try adding cod fish oil in your daily intake. Some supermarkets such as Whole Foods have great brands available – and they come in pills or liquid. Avoid options that may be known to have mercury. Check this Healthline article about Omega-3 rich foods and try this recipe.
- Nuts and Seeds: Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help tune in the immune system. Some nuts such as almonds and pecans are great to help prevent and control the inflammation. Seeds such as chia and flax are super nutritious options as well. Try this recipe.
- Eat Your Greens! Adding broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts in your diet is an easy way to include an antioxidant called glutathione, which helps with chronic inflammation symptoms. Try this recipe.
- Turmeric: also know as curcumin, this healing spice helps regulate inflammation in the body. It’s better absorbed when heated and combined with black pepper. It’s been prevalent in India centuries as a home remedy. Try this recipe.
- Fruits: choose low-glycemic options. Berries such as blueberries ( which is also a superfood rich in vitamin K), raspberries, cherries, and strawberries are great alternatives to a sugary snack. Try this recipe.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates, Greek Philosopher
Changing how we look and relate to food is a journey. Swapping habits is challenging but always start with the first step. Our health is the primary treasure each one of us has, and it is on us to take good care of it.
Talk to your physician before adopting a new diet. If you are not able to enjoy a sunny area, ask him/her about Vitamin D intake, as well.
Next week, I will be talking about exercises and how they have helped my mental and physical health.
“Food is really and truly the most effective medicine.” ― Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Plant Based Doctor