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A Diet for Arthritis: Addressing inflammation

diet-for-arthritis-the-allergy-co-ottawa

When considering a diet for arthritis, both rheumatoid (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), and what foods are good and bad a great place to start it to address those that either create or reduce inflammation (histamine) in the body.

By reducing the overall level of inflammation arthritic conditions can be improved.

There are three important facts to remember when considering a diet for arthritis:

1. Anti-inflammatory diets are not a one-size-fits-all solution. We are all unique in our make up so what works for one will not work for another. This means it will take some trial and error to find what works for you as an individual.

2. When seeking natural ways to improve your condition it is not a quick, short term fix. It is a lifestyle change that will need to be maintained long term if you wish to continue to experience the benefits.

3. A diet for arthritis is only a part of the process, many also find that moderate exercise will increase the positive effect of diet on arthritis pain.

Toxins in food

It is well known that pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers are harmful to us. They interfere with our gut health, and in turn affect our immune system and overall well-being.

In addition, foods that are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized will contain toxins called “Advanced Glycation End Products” (AGEs).

These toxins damage certain proteins in the body. To address these AGEs the immune system secretes cytokines which are in themselves inflammatory messengers.

http://icahn.mssm.edu/about-us/news-and-events/study-shows-that-reducing-processed-and-fried-food-intake-lowers-related-health-risks-and-restores-bodys-defenses

High amounts of sugar in the form of processed grains (white flour, white rice, many breakfast cereals), candies, soda etc will also increase the amount of AGEs in the body. If you like sweet snacks try to use natural, fibre rich fruits such as dates and figs, or use stevia instead of sugars.

Fats and Oils: the Good and the Bad

Omega 6

This is found in corn, canola, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soy oils, and is healthy in small amounts. However, excessive consumption is detrimental as it is converted into pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes and prostaglandins.

It is important to be aware that many baked goods, commercial snacks and foods contain corn oil, canola oil and other sources high in omega 6.

Omega 3

Omega 3 has been shown by many studies to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in a number of ways. It inhibits the production of other inflammatory molecules and also triggers the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals.

In particular, Olive Oil contains Oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. It contains high amounts of Omega 9, along with some Omega 3 and 6.

Omega 3 can be found in fish, flax, hemp, chia.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are altered by the addition of a hydrogen molecule to increase stability and shelf life.

They are believed to impact inflammation, heart disease, and cause other health problems.

The dangers are becoming better known and they have been removed from many products, but they can still be found in some baked goods, fast-food items, processed snack foods, and many margarines.

Antioxidants

Free radicals will cause oxidative stress in our bodies when their number exceeds our ability to process them.

Creation of these radicals is a normal part of metabolism. However, production is increased by some activities such as smoking and consuming certain foods including alcohol, fats that have been heated to high temperature (including fat in meats) and chlorinated water (let your tap water stand for a while before drinking).

High oxidative stress is linked with arthritic conditions, both RA and OA.

The good news is that there are various antioxidants found in foods, these include those below (just a note that chocolate should always be at least 75% cocoa):

  • Allium sulphur compounds: Leeks, onions, garlic
  • Anthocyanins: Red and purple fruits – Eggplant, grapes, berries
  • Beta carotene: Pumpkin, butternut squash, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley, cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots, kale
  • Catechins: Tea, dark chocolate
  • Copper: Seafood, lean meat, nuts, legumes
  • Cryptoxanthins: Red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes, papaya
  • Flavonoids: Tea, green tea, dark chocolate, onion, apples
  • Indoles: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
  • Lignins: Sesame seeds, bran, whole grains, vegetables
  • Lutein: Leafy greens – includes spinach, kale, chard
  • Lycopene: Watermelon
  • Manganese: Seafood, lean meat, nuts, beans, oats, bran, dark chocolate
  • Polyphenols: Thyme, oregano
  • Selenium: Seafood, offal, lean meat, whole grains
  • Vitamin C: Berries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
  • Vitamin E: Cold pressed vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains
  • Zinc: Seafood, lean meat, nuts
  • Zoochemicals: Red meat, offal, fish

An anti-inflammatory diet cuts down or eliminates foods suspected of causing oxidative stress and encourages the consumption of foods rich in antioxidants.

Know what’s in your food

Many foods contain excessive salt (sodium) and other preservatives to promote longer shelf lives. For some people, excess consumption of salt may result in inflammation of the joints. It may be worth trying to reduce your salt (sodium) intake to as modest an amount as is reasonable.

When determining what diet for arthritis works for you, your local Naturopathic doctor, Functional Medicine practitioner or Holistic nutritionist will be able to help you work out which foods aggravate your arthritis and which help to reduce your symptoms.

One to try at home!

You may wish to sample this anti-inflammatory cocktail.. Enjoy!

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon grated turmeric

1 stick cinnamon, crushed

1 jalapeno or 1 habanero, diced

1 tablespoon raw honey

Directions:

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour into your favourite glass and let sit for 30 minutes.

Add ice or club soda, drink, and enjoy!

https://www.arthritis-health.com/video/video-best-tasting-anti-inflammatory-cocktail-youve-never-tried

Foods to Avoid for Arthritis

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Can foods really be a trigger for arthritic conditions? Are there foods to avoid for arthritis?

Absolutely!

The saying “We are what we eat..” holds a lot of truth…

Anything that adversely affects our digestion will impact our overall health, our immune system and the level of inflammation in the body.

A 1989 survey of more than a thousand arthritis patients is highlighted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. It found a number of foods that consistently aggravated arthritis symptoms.

There have been many other studies that support their findings.

So What Foods to Avoid for Arthritis?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to foods, so some trial and error is required to discover what works for you. You may wish to avoid all of the following for at least 2 months then add them back in one at time, consuming each one for at least a week before adding the next one.

The following list is not in any particular order.

Dairy:

Any product that contains lactose OR casein (milk protein), so this includes milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream, whey powder etc whether on its own or as an ingredient in prepared goods.

Eggs:

On their own or in baked goods

Wheat and Corn:

In fact the protein in all grains can be inflammatory for some people. You may wish to start with wheat / corn and then experiment with eliminating all grains (including rice, oats, buckwheat etc) for a period.

These are found in bread, pasta, baked goods, muffins, cookies, pastries etc, and also in many prepared sauces, marinades and ready meals, so read the labels or cook from scratch. 

Sugar:

Foods high in sugar can be obvious (white and brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, candy, sodas and pop) but it is also hidden in many foods.

Some examples are fruit, fruit juice and dried fruits (a slice of watermelon can contain the equivalent of 5 sugar cubes, click here to see..); apple sauce; sauces and marinades such as ketchup, teriyaki, BBQ; ready meals; beer, wine and cider; some milk alternatives e.g sweetened, chocolate or vanilla soy milk; and gluten free products which are generally highly processed.

Meats:

The saturated fat in meat has been linked to arthritis. It may be the fat itself, or the fact that when fat is heated (grilled, fried, baked etc) it contains toxins called “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs), which trigger inflammation.

You may wish to remove all meat or just fatty meat from your diet. 100% grass fed and game meats are generally leaner than commercially produced meats. They also have not been fed on corn.

Night Shade Vegetables:

Tomato, bell pepper, eggplant and potato contain a chemical that is linked to inflammation.

Citrus fruits:

Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit. For some these can trigger arthritic pain.

Coffee:

Both de-caff and regular coffee have been linked to increased inflammation in the body which can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis.

Alcohol:

The alcohol itself triggers inflammation, however, wine in particular creates a lot of histamine in the body and will aggravate arthritis.

Omega 6 oils:

These are converted in the body into pro-inflammatory chemicals. The oils to avoid would include corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, palm and soy oils. Canola oil is also best avoided as it has been linked to many health concerns. Check labels on ready meals, gluten free products, chips and crackers, dips (humus, baba ganoush etc), sauces, marinades etc and also on roast nuts and dried fruits.

And finally, where possible, choose organic produce that is in its natural state and not processed. Pesticides and herbicides have a detrimental effect on our gut health which in turn impacts our immune system and levels of inflammation in the body.

To find out more about foods to avoid for arthritis book with your Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Practitioner.

An Allergy Test can also help to identify foods that cause inflammation for you.

allergies-causing-your-headaches-the-allergy-co

Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?

Are you one of the many people who suffer from chronic or severe headaches? Perhaps you have been through the medical profession and have no answers? Perhaps you should ask “Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?”

I have had numerous clients who experience headaches and migraines, who have been to a whole range of doctors, had multiple tests performed only to receive no answers as to the cause of their pain.

An aspect that is often overlooked by the medical profession is that it may be food intolerances and allergies causing your headaches.

I speak from personal experience; if I eat any corn products I suffer for several days with what I would describe as a ‘clamping’ headache – my head feels like it is in a vice and I cannot think straight. No corn, no pain!

Determining Whether it is Allergies Causing Your Headaches

Some doctors may suggest that you avoid certain common food triggers such as coffee, chocolate, wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs, citrus, sugar, alcohol, artificial additives, colourings, sweeteners (especially aspartame) and MSG. However, these are just that, ‘common’ triggers; every one of us is a unique individual, and as such we all react to different things.

If you don’t feel well, get bloated, or tired after a meal it is a good indication that the food that you are eating is not suiting your body and may be a factor in your headaches.

An elimination diet

This is where you remove the common food triggers and any others that you suspect and can help you to determine whether they are actually a factor for you. Remember that if your headaches only occur periodically then you may need to remove the foods for several weeks or even a month or more to determine their effect.

Once you have established that you are better without the foods you can reintroduce them, one at a time. It may take a few days or more for any reaction to become apparent so I recommend that you wait 2 weeks before adding another food back in.

And when you find the allergies causing your headaches and eliminate them you will probably notice a range of other improvements too, including your digestion, energy and stamina, muscle function, sleep, memory, concentration and others.

Allergy testing

You can also have allergy testing. This can take the form of blood or skin tests, however, I find these to be of limited use when looking for the cause of headaches as they provide a general list of allergens, and do not identify the specific triggers for your headaches.

I usually recommend muscle testing with an experienced practitioner. You will get the results at the time of the test and it is possible to identify specific triggers for your headaches including allergies, intolerances, nutritional deficiencies and any emotional or structural components.

Once you have identified the food triggers it is easy to then avoid them.

Diet options

Diet in general will play a huge role in relief from headaches and migraines and in general wellness. One of the biggest things you can do is try to return to a more natural, ‘real food’ diet. So, cooking from scratch, using organic produce where possible and sticking to grass fed, free range meats and poultry or wild fish. It can actually be cheaper to eat this way, and you will be surprised how good you can feel.

Of course this has to be balanced with reality, so it is equally important to accept that it is not always possible to eat this way, and not to stress about those occasions when you ‘cheat’!

And, finally, water is an essential part of that natural diet. Dehydration will ALWAYS cause headaches..  so try to get 2 litres or more a day.

Contact me for more information, or book a complementary discovery session.

cure-sore-muscles-with-nutrition-the-allergy-co-ottawa

Cure Sore Muscles with Nutrition

Have you ever considered that one of the simplest ways to cure sore muscles can be with diet and nutrition?

There are many reasons for sore muscles, however, when considering body aches and pains, including sore muscles and joints, this can be the first, and best, place to start. It is so often the root of the problem and so easy to fix!

There are many so called “cures” out there that simply deal with the symptoms without getting to the root of the issue.. Of course if you have a hard workout it is normal to be a little stiff and sore afterwards, however, this should pass quickly and not be an everyday, chronic problem.

Relating sore muscles to nutrition

I am an avid learner, and was delighted to come across the International College of Applied Kinesiology many years ago.

Applied Kinesiology (AK), as taught by ICAK, relates the neuromuscular function to the structural, chemical and neurological regulatory mechanisms. Which, simply put, relates the function of your muscles to structural balance (the physical functioning of your body, the skeletal and muscular systems), chemical balance (allergies, toxins, nutrition) and the mental / emotional.

Using this wonderful tool it is possible to determine the reason why a particular muscle is not able to function to its best.

So, how to cure sore muscles..

Working out, along with specific exercises will, of course, strengthen muscles, and stretching help you to remain supple. But are your muscles functioning at their best?

AK looks at the possible reasons that muscles are working at a sub-optimal level. It considers 3 main aspects: there needs to correct alignment of your musculoskeletal system, their needs to be no toxins or allergies that effectively ‘poison’ your muscles, and their needs to be enough fuel, i.e nutrition.

Each muscles is considered to need specific nutrition. Not enough of that nutrient and the muscle just cannot work as well as it could. In this case working out can actually make you less strong and potentially cause injury.

Here are a few of the bigger muscle groups and the nutrients they require.

Psoas

The big core muscle that connects the lower (lumbar) back to the thigh bone (femur), or the tenderloin in a  beef cow. It supports the low back.

Nutrition: water, Vit E, Vit A

 

Gluteals

You butt muscles. Connecting the pelvis to the thigh bone (femur) and the IT band they have a huge role to play supporting us and for standing, walking, running, jumping etc.

Nutrition: Vit E, Niacinamide (Vit B3)

 

Quadratus Lumborum

This is one of your main low back muscles, attaching the bottom rib, your lumbar (low back) vertebrae, and your pelvis.

Nutrition: Vit A, Vit C, Vit E

 

Hamstrings

These are the big group of muscles down the back of your thigh. They connect the ischial tuberosity (your sitting bone) to the fibula and tibia (the 2 bones in your lower leg). They flex (bend) your knee, and extend (straighten) your hip, and are essential for supporting your low back, hip, and knee.

Nutrition: Vit E, calcium

 

Quadriceps

The big muscles down the front of your thigh connecting the pelvis to the tibia (the main bone in your lower leg). This large group of muscles supports you hips, and particularly the knee.

Nutrition: Vit D, Vit B complex

 

Tensor fascia latae

Joining the iliac crest (the top part of your pelvis at the waist) to the greater trochanter (the bone you can feel on the outside of your hip) and also the IT band which runs down from there to your knee. Supporting the back, hip and knee.

Nutrition: Vit D, iron. In particular, a deficiency of iron causing this muscle to lack function, is one of the main reasons for back pain in pregnant women.

 

Cure sore muscles with nutrition

When you consider how these big, supporting muscles rely on specific nutrition it makes sense to consider this as one possible cause for your sore muscles.

A simple blood test from your Family doctor or Naturopathic Doctor can assess your levels of many nutrients. It is also possible to test for these and more using AK. My basic Allergy Test will assess these along with allergies, intolerances, emotional issues, structural imbalance and any infection / parasite.

Once a deficiency is identified dietary changes or nutritional supplements can be used to address the issue. I have had many clients who have experienced great relief from back, hip and knee pain, and from general achy, sore muscles once they start on a suitable program to address their deficiencies.

Vit A, Vit B, Vit C, Vit D, Vit E, calcium, iron and water mentioned above are just a start. There are other nutrients which have equal importance to other major muscles in your body.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing chronic pain or soreness, struggling to recover from an injury or just have tired muscles, assessing nutritional levels may be a simple way to cure sore muscles.

Book a free discovery session with me to find out more.