How do you feel after your meal?
As Osteopaths, we are passionate about helping our patients live life to their full potential by achieving balance within their body. There are treatments that help all of your body systems synchronize and work as one to create ideal conditions for your body to express health that is already present but perhaps lost in amongst pain and discomfort you might be experiencing. We recognize that good health depends not on one but many interrelated aspects of our life including genetics, environmental influences and emotional states and responses.
In our role as an Osteopath, we realize there are many pieces to this puzzle of achieving health. Some of them are addressed through treatment, some of them can be addressed everyday through the lifestyle choices of each individual. One of those puzzle pieces is diet. Of course it is not news that what we eat greatly determines our health. We are constantly bombarded by novel diets and miracle eating plans. It has become more confusing than ever to know what we should or shouldn’t eat. This certainly does not help relieving stress levels and make us feel relaxed and healthy.
But what if we simply try to watch what our body is telling us after each meal? Did you ever stop and think that the bloated feeling you are experiencing constantly isn't something you have to live with? Did you know that the headaches or pain in your right shoulder can be traced back to certain foods you consume on daily basis? Are you aware that joint pain can be related to inflammation caused by eating too much sugar or certain types of fats?
Through years of working in private practice, it has become clear to us that the body responds very well to consumption of anti-inflammatory foods. Think of it as an opportunity to direct energy towards health and not the battle of inflammation. It is not really about any specific diet. It is about elimination of substances that make your body work that much harder to maintain your health.
Here are some food groups which have been found to cause inflammation:
· Sugar: This is a big one. More and more research is showing a relationship between sugar and inflammation (in amongst other issues!). Refined sugars are quickly turned into blood sugar which can lead to inflammation within the blood vessels not to mention the excess visceral body fat.
· Saturated and Trans Fats: Although this may be an obvious one for inflammation of the waist line, saturated fats are not only a risk factor for heart disease but can significantly worsen arthritic inflammation. Research has shown diets high in both of these fats has led to inflammation.
· Refined Carbohydrates: Examples of these include white bread, bagels, rolls, crackers, white rice, potatoes and many cereals. These types of foods cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and insulin levels which in turn results in an increase in the number of pro-inflammatory messengers being released.
· Omega-6 Fats: Found in corn, sunflower, peanut and soybean oils are all pro-inflammatory as they are metabolized into a hormone-like substance that actually promotes inflammation.
We recommend trying to swap above ingredients for some better, anti-inflammatory options:
· Friendly carbs: We all have heard this one many times. Yes. Whole grains, quinoa, lentils and chickpeas. Swap your refined white bread, for multigrain ro perhaps a sprouted bread and use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. How about some cauliflower mash? Or perhaps celeriac puree? And don't forget that all your leafy greens and other veggies are still carbohydrates that love you back!
· Herbs and Spices: Ginger, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and onions. I can not recommend adding turmeric to everything more! Its anti-inflammatory powers are amazing. Add some to your green smoothie of a morning, to curries, stir-fries, burger patties and more! They all also add great flavour so be generous and they’ll be generous to you. You could also try our yummy turmeric chai latte. See recipe below.
· Increase consumption of monounsaturated fats: Consume extra-virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, fish oils, walnuts and flaxseeds. These are rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant, shown to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
· Eliminate foods that don’t work for you. This one is probably the most important. A diet that works for me may not work for you. Keep track of what foods make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and simply see how will you feel if you eliminate them.
Everything in the body is connected. Everything in the body is meant to work as one unit. If one part struggles, other areas of the body will eventually become compromised. If we start in the gut we can definitely make a positive change and support our body in returning to health after receiving treatments.
Pop a table spoon of turmeric powder into a cup of milk (your choice on what milk you use, we use almond milk), add a cardamom pod, a clove and a teaspoon of honey (or maple syrup) and brew yourself a delicious turmeric latte.