If you have impaired digestion, auto-immune disease, chronic pain or chronic fatigue, it might be time to do an assessment on ensuring you are getting adequate nutrition! Long term stress on the body from infection, physical stressors and even exercise without adequate nutrients can lead to underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation can continue to "snow ball" into other issues such as disrupted gut flora (not enough of the 'good' bacteria) and leaky gut. Long term inflammation leading to leaky gut means essentially that the gastrointestinal lining becomes injured and the tight mesh junctions that line our gastrointestinal tract become compromised. A healthy gut lining allows for the passage of small materials such as water and electrolytes. However, a 'leaky gut' can let out other larger materials (such as food proteins). These food proteins are the cause of delayed on-set food sensitivities which can cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, eczema and even weight management issues. But it doesn't end there! Thankfully our bodies have the innate ability to progress towards healing if we support it! The gastrointestinal cells respond also to it's environment. Cells are continually repairing and restoring at fairly fast rates- and the gastrointestinal lining can repair and completely change within 90 days! An anti-inflammatory diet, probiotic-specific strains geared towards repairing leaky gut, mind body medicine can all be helpful in the treatment of leaky gut. Also, testing for underlying micro-nutrient deficiencies can also be helpful in repairing detoxification pathways in the body, promoting healthy gut flora and improving overall health. Although there are a variety of herbs, probiotics and food-as-medicine approaches that can be customized to help with your specific condition; consider this assessment below to see if there is anything you can improve on today!
- Increase intake of plants and plant protein.
- Most people are under-hydrated and many don't consume enough protein that's important for immunity, cellular repair and blood sugar regulation (among many other functions!)
- Consider temporarily eliminating food sensitivities and treating any underlying deficiencies.
- Eat organically grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible
- Eliminate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils, and all foods (such as deep-fried foods) that might contain trans-fatty acids. Use extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil as your main source of dietary fat. Walnut and avocado oils can also be great for variety!
- If cooking with oils, cook the oil below it's smoke point to avoid consumption of denatured oils which can be very harmful and inflammatory.
- Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids from wild-caught fish such as salmon and halibut, walnuts, or flax and hemp seeds.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Try including 1-2 different color spectrums at every meal and snack to reap the benefits of phyto-nutrients!
- Eat ginger and turmeric regularly
- Sleep is how our bodies repair from the days stressors so make sure you aren't skimping on this top priority. Nutrition is important, but when the body isn't adequately rested it becomes more difficult to utilize all the other positive measures taken to heal the body.
- Mind-body: Light aerobic exercise on a regular basis, hypnotherapy to redirect mental energies in positive directions, visualization, meditation, Chinese herbal remedies, essential oil aromatherapy.
With less sunlight, more time spent indoors, and often less activity you might find yourself less energized and not as up-beat. Sometimes, there are nutritional implications to mood changes. Disease process, inflammation, hormone/thyroid imbalances and low intake of micro-nutrients and omega-3's are often the biggest precursors to depression and anxiety. However, we commonly think of depression AS the problem. What if it were simpler than that? Can you quantify depression nutritionally? My answer is an excited YES! Looking at key components that support healthy neurotransmitter function and mood you can treat depression naturally! Also there are many nutritional interventions that are proven to be more effective than the more commonly prescribed medications. If you want to find out what might be causing your mood changes, contact us and schedule an appointment.
Some other options for healing from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety and insomnia aside from a micro-nutrient rich diet and exercise would be utilizing essential oils. There is a lot of good research suggesting that high quality essential oils are helpful in improving mood just by diffusing alone! An added benefit- you'll be protected from cold and flu season! Lavender has natural anti-microbial, and anti-viral properties and you don't have to put up with all of the chemicals and harmful food coloring in conventional drugs. Not to mention the anti-bacterial resistance and intestinal flora imbalances that comes with using antibiotic overuse! Word of caution, use a therapeutic grade essential oil if diffusing, wearing or taking orally. Not all oils are the same potency. Some lavender can also be taken orally for help with relaxation & calming inflammation.