One cause, Many Symptoms, One Cure - eating away your Autoimmune Disease!
Before we dive into autoimmune diseases, let’s first talk about diseases in general. All diseases, including autoimmune, have one root cause, chronic inflammation. Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. A range of factors can contribute to chronic inflammation, such as:
When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. All of these are linked to the development of several diseases, including:
neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease
So, now we know that inflammation is the culprit, let’s define what is an autoimmune disease. First, there are over 100 clinical syndromes considered autoimmune diseases, with the most common ones being rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative syndrome, Chrons, Type 1 diabetes, Graves, and Hashimoto’s syndrome. Though the symptoms for each syndrome differ, the principle of how autoimmune affects the body is similar, in that the immune system has become overactive and actually attacks healthy tissues and organs in one’s own body. Medical treatments don’t include any cures for any of the autoimmune diseases, yet try to slow down the over-active immune system with drugs. The problem with this is that the side effect is now a weakened immune system, disabling your body’s ability to fight off real infection and other bad stuff. The nutritional approach is to actually fix the immune system and has shown much promise in reducing the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, allowing the reduction in medications, and in many cases, to actually reverse the effect of the diseases. With that stated, never reduce or stop taking your medications without first consulting your doctor. Nutritional protocols should be utilized in conjunction with your medical treatment, working together to get you the best healing results.
So where does nutrition come in? Okay, this is exciting. It’s all about eating more of the healthy anti-inflammatory foods and eliminating pro-inflammatory foods. A variety of plant-based foods have anti-inflammatory properties and are also high in healthy nourishing antioxidants and polyphenols. The chart below shows just a few of the high nutrient density foods that you want to be filling your plate with daily. Go to the link for more information on nutrient density foods. https://www.drfuhrman.com/elearning/eat-to-live-blog/128/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods. Also, to ensure adequate protein intake, want to ensure that you are getting several servings of beans and nuts daily, and for your healthy fats, nuts as well are good, as are avocados. In a nutshell, you want to focus on 90% of your nutrition from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans, with a limited daily intake of animal products. Not only are these plant-based foods anti-inflammatory, but they are also superfoods for building a healthy immune system. Furthermore, plants have lots of healthy fiber, which is a very powerful prebiotic and builds hearty gut microbes. Fermented foods such as kimchee, miso, and sauerkraut are also great for the gut, encourage all to include as a regular part of their nutrition. Also, to reduce exposure to toxins, try to buy organic whenever possible, refer to the Dirty dozen and Clean 15 list. https://www.producebluebook.com/2019/03/20/dirty-dozen-clean-fifteen-lists-released/
Alright, so if that’s all the good stuff, what should one avoid. Okay, not saying that you can’t ever have any of these items, yet focus should be on eliminating them from your daily diet as much as possible. A common theme...crucial to limit your intake of animal products. Again, not prescribing total elimination, yet should be no more than once a day, and less than 4 ounces (about the size and thickness of your palm). Here are some guidelines to help you in making your daily food selections, again, work towards minimizing consumption:
Coffee and chocolate, avoid in excess, go for dark chocolate if you must, and black coffee
Fast food, should be on your never list. Most menu items are not even close to real food, completely empty calories, extremely pro-inflammatory
Stay away from saturated fats, best to stick with olive and avocado oils
Meat promotes bad bacteria in the gut and promotes inflammation. Go for grass-fed, organic, wild-caught versions when you do consume animal products.
Dairy, to include yogurt and cheeses
Wheat products, to include pasta
Sugar, be sure to read food labels, hidden sugar is in many unsuspecting products
Cured and picked products
Filter your water, reduce toxin exposure
Not food products, yet avoid NSAIDS (eg: Motrin, Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, etc) and unless a life-threatening bacterial infection, avoid antibiotics, both protocols will destroy your healthy gut microbial flora and with it, crash your body’s ability to support a healthy immune system.
In reducing your consumption of animal products, there are certain mineral and vitamins that one may not get adequately from a more focused plant-based diet, so recommend adding these supplements to your daily intake:
B12 (1000 mcg)
Zinc (11 mg)
Vitamin D (500 mg)
Iodine (15 ug) - (Avoid if you have Graves disease or any other thyroid condition)
K2 (100 mcg)
Omega-3 (3,500 EPA)
In summary, not only is this focus on increased consumption of nutrient-dense foods instrumental for addressing prevention and healing of autoimmune diseases, is a solid approach to preventing all diseases, and/or to heal chronic metabolic disorders from which one may already be suffering. Furthermore, in conjunction with a healthy nutritional plan, critical that one gets adequate quality sleep, reduce daily stress, and stay active. If you are interested in learning more about how to treat autoimmune disease through nutrition and lifestyle changes, please visit www.SynEnergy Coaching.com or send me a direct message and we can discuss a coaching program best suited to fit your needs and to set your course in 2020 for a healthier you!