caribbeanandworldrecipes

August 5, 2012

Healthy With Multiple Sclerosis Series: Diet Is the Cornerstone

Cover of "The MS Recovery Diet"

Cover of The MS Recovery Diet

There are several books and websites about diet and MS in the world. There is the MS Recovery Diet. The Swank Diet. The Best Bet Diet. The Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Diet. Dr. McDougall’s Diet. And more recently the Wahls Diet. Do we really need another diet?

We do if it is easier to follow and relies on a common thread found in all the diets just mentioned. There’s no official name for the diet I used (I’m not so self-important to name it after myself), but it could be called an anti-inflammatory diet or an alkaline diet, with an MS twist.

Each of the above diets work from the principle of reducing inflammation and thus the immune response. Some do it be reducing fat. Others by eliminating common allergens. Others by taking an intensive nutritional approach meant to repair damage. What they all have in common is goal of reversing the acidic state of our bodies associated with the Standard American Diet.

If you have looked at any of these diets, you know they can seem daunting. Most focus on what you can’t have. In my own journey, it took me a while to realize the better approach is to focus on what you CAN have. That’s why I love the anti-inflammatory/alkaline approach.

The anti-inflammatory/alkaline approach starts from the premise that there are foods that reduce your body’s inflammation. That’s because these foods replenish your body with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids necessary for proper cellular functioning. Those foods are also supportive of cellular repair.*

In contrast, when we eat a lot of acid-producing food (or are very stressed), our body goes searching for minerals to stay in balance. It finds them most often in our bones. When our body has to search for the minerals it needs to stay in balance we are drained of energy. Our immune system is also weakened.

So the most doable approach is to load up on alkaline producing foods (I prefer 80% for those with MS). Here’s how that looks:

· Fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. There really is no limit here. Kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, bok choi, zucchini, watermelon, mango, avocados, and pineapple. Eat them raw; eat them cooked, but eat them. Make them the center piece of every meal, not just the side dish.

· Most nuts and seeds are great alkaline, mineral-rich sources of minerals and should be incorporated into your diet.

· Eat whole grains, especially the following: brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, kasha, oats and millet. It is best to find out if you have a gluten sensitivity, as that has been associated with MS.

· Be watchful of animal products. Dairy has been shown to create an immune response that aggravates MS. If you are eating meat, be sure it is as clean and free of hormones and antibiotics as possible.

· Finally kick your junk food and sugar habit. They provide no nutritional benefit, are highly acidic and only contribute to fatigue, weight gain and other problems.

Now a word of caution. Don’t do what I did and make all these changes at once. I promise, you’ll come after me if you try.

Instead try one. Try the easiest one – eating more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 6 to 9 cups a day.

Once that feels comfortable, move onto the next step. Soon you will be loading your plate with veggies, topping it with a few seeds or nuts, adding a whole grain and voila, you have a delicious nutrient packed meal that will give you energy and help you thrive.

*Note: remember from high school chemistry alkaline is from 7.1 to 14 on the pH scale, acid is from 0 to 6.9 on the scale, with 7 being neutral. Our body aims to keep our blood acid at 7.3.

Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double or even triple their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to use nutrition and lifestyle changes to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching. Visit Laurie at http://www.chronicwellnesscoaching.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurie_Erdman

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July 26, 2012

Trouble With Digesting Nuts

Filed under: food allergies, health, recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 4:34 am
Iranian nuts & fruit

Iranian nuts & fruit (Photo credit: mcfcrandall)

How to Digest Nuts Better: Behind the Scenes

 

Salting, roasting, toasting, soaking – what helps, what hinders and why do so many people have problems with eating nuts? Here is a step by step breakdown of the digestive process, and how nuts are impacted by one’s digestive system.

How Digestion Breaks Down Nuts in Stages

Roughly a three-stage process, digestion begins in the mouth, when as you are chewing, enzymes in the saliva begin to break down the starch in foods. Later, enzymes in the stomach begin to release or unfasten the bonds (chemical in nature) that hold the proteins in food together. Still more enzymes in the intestines, together with bile, continue to break down foods (and nuts), working on the protein, starches and fats.

Not all materials can be broken down by the body, however, and high on the list is fiber, which is not digestible. Fiber makes its way through the intestines, only partially broken down by the bacteria in the colon; this process is again aided by the production of enzymes in this part of the body. Comparatively, starches are broken down in a couple of hours or less, while proteins take at least that long, and may stay in the body for upwards of 5 hours. Fat takes even longer, which means that high fat meals stay in the body for potentially many hours.

How Nuts Are Composed: Proteins and Fiber

High in both fiber and protein (as well as healthy fat – upwards of fifty percent), most tree nuts also contain a good deal of protein (10-20%). The fiber content in nuts is also significant, amounting to upwards of ten percent of their nutritional make-up. Nuts make up an excellent source of nutrition and sustained energy for these very reasons: the fiber and healthy fat contents, along with the protein, all make for a slow digestion cycle in the body.

Digesting Nuts: How Preparation Might Factor In

As mentioned earlier, cooking methods like roasting or baking can also influence the how your body successfully (or otherwise) digests nuts. Any type of cooking essentially breaks down food at a chemical level, in a way not dissimilar to the body’s own methods. The lower the temperature, the better the process aids the body itself in further breaking down and digesting the food. High-temperature baking and cooking destroys many of these same chemical bonds. The good fats to be found in nuts are among these bonds that are destroyed in high-temperature cooking.

Other Compounds Found in Nuts, and Digestion

Tannins, found in nuts, are naturally occurring complex polyphenolics, and are often found in woody plants. Polyphenolics are simply natural antioxidants that comprise an organic defense for plants; these may also be good for human health. The tannins’ main function in nature is a protective one, as their bitter taste deters many animals from eating the foods that contain them. For example, walnuts are chief among the foods high in tannin. Additionally, tannins are contained in cashews, pistachios, pecans and the skins of almonds and peanuts.

These same tannins are heat-resistant, so even high temperature baking and roasting does not break them down, which partially explains why the nuts might give some people trouble when digesting. The fibrous quality of nuts, given the intestine’s inability to completely break down fiber, also explains why there may be some trouble digesting nuts. Gas is produced by the intestine in many cases as some of the colon’s bacteria attempts to break down whatever parts of the fiber that it can.

Cooking, Roasting, Baking: Digestion Helpers With Nuts?

Cooking nuts in a variety of fashions, to recap, does aid in breaking down the starch elements of the the nuts’ nutritional make-up. However, the very elements that might increase difficulty in digestion, the high proteins, tannins and fiber, still produce problems for many. The plant protein-rich quality of nuts may prove to be handled well by the stomach, though in many cases, where the pancreas aids in the process, the roasting of the nuts can help improve nuts’ digestibility.

Digesting Nuts May Be Slow, But Benefits Are High

It is the healthy fats found in nuts that end up contributing to the slowing down of digestion the most. This is especially true when compared to how quickly the body may break down foods that are high in carbohydrates, like breads and fruits. The fiber in nuts is generally what gives a feeling of fullness, but the gas that is produced in the intestines as some bacteria attempt to break down the nut’s fiber may also promote a full feeling. Eating too many nuts at a time (beyond two servings) may produce many of the symptoms and effects mentioned above, leading a person to feel full and perhaps suffer mild indigestion. The reality is that the proteins, fiber and healthy fats are the cause – not over-eating.

Benefits of Soaking and Re-hydrating Nuts

Soaking nuts like almonds and cashews in filtered water re-hydrates them. (To find out even more on Re-hydrating Nuts [http://www.greeneggsandplanet.com/blog], read this Green Eggs and Planet post.) Beyond the enriched flavor and new texture, the process also removes chemicals known as enzyme inhibitors. These chemicals are natural, and exist for the purpose of protecting the nut until it is the appropriate time for it to sprout. When you soak the nuts in water, the fluids release the enzyme inhibitors and wash them away. For those who experience a bit of trouble when digesting dried nuts, removing the enzyme inhibitors (which can make the nut difficult to digest) may solve the problem.

Other options to aid in digestion include eating raw nuts in smaller portions, to maximize the healthy benefits of the nuts while minimizing the pain of indigestion, or lightly roasting nuts to begin the process of chemically breaking down the nuts. Avoid commercially roasted nuts, however, as the high temperatures (+170F) cause a breakdown of the fats in nuts, thus producing free radicals that are harmful to the body.

Matty Byloos writes and manages the Green Blog known as: Easy Ways to Go Green, as well as the Organic Food Blog: Organic Eating Daily

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matty_Byloos

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