Can food heal us? Is it possible that simply changing our eating habits can affect the way our bodies respond to sickness, illnesses and disease? Can someone actually cure themselves from cancer and auto-immune diseases through diet alone? Or is this all just too-far-fetched to even bother thinking about?
And why am I even asking these questions?? Well… Read on…
So, my back is up to its old tricks again; inflamed, stiff, sore and causing me a whole lot of pain. Of course the worst part about this is that it is stopping me from doing what I love most – exercising.
Admittedly, I might be, kind of, a little bit to blame for this. I may have neglected my own advice slightly on overtraining and overdone it just a little bit (oops). But before the shouts of ‘hypocrite’ begin, I genuinely felt fit and ready to exercise at full force again. It just seems that every time my back starts to feel better and I think I’m fine to workout as normal, it does a little ‘lol, just kidding’ and gives up on me again.
It is frustrating and it sucks!! It’s not just my back either; it’s my hips, knees, wrists and recently my ankles too. Basically, my joints. I have learnt to listen to my body and respond to the warning signs so I know when to stop, rest and stretch but what I have also come to realize (and had to reluctantly accept) is that back pain and sore joints is something I am just going to have to deal with. According to my doctor, a bunch of blood tests and a CT scan, inflammation is the explanation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to stimulus. It is pretty much our body’s protection mechanism to fight off anything that may be harmful or cause infection. However, in some diseases, such as arthritis, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response even when there are no foreign substances to fight off. These are known as autoimmune diseases in which the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. Some Inflammatory conditions include asthma, eczema, dermatitis, hayfever, hives, irritable bowl syndrome, migraines, sinusitis and arthritis – which our mum has and I have the early signs of.
So yep, unfortunately inflammation is just something I am going to have to deal with. Most inflammatory conditions are somewhat genetic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the symptoms cannot be avoided. It’s all about maintaining good health for the liver, the immune system and the nervous system. So although I may not be able to eliminate inflammation completely, there are ways that I can monitor it , maintain it and reduce the symptoms.
Yes there are painkillers, medications and chemically-produced supplements, some of which have already been prescribed to me, but these are things I personally don’t feel comfortable relying on. I do not want to be dependent on pills and potions, especially when in my case arthritis is yet to be confirmed. I’d rather take a more holistic approach to health and healing by nourishing my body with nutrient-rich, wholesome foods. There have been many proven cases of people who have healed themselves from autoimmune diseases (think Sarah Wilson) and even cancer (Jessica Ainscough and Belle Gibson for example) simply by changing their intake. Craziness! This just proves the healing capabilities of food.
So with all this in mind I decided to do a little research into anti-inflammatory foods. I wanted to find out more about the which foods may help to reduce the symptoms of inflammation and which foods tend to aggravate it. Here’s what I found out.
Top Anti-inflammatory Foods
- Flaxseed oil
- Goats milk
- Chlorophyll from green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and parsley
- Olive oil
- Walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds
- Green tea
- Oily fish such as cod, mackerel and sustainably caught salmon
Foods to Avoid
- Acidic foods – red meat, dairy products, refined wheat (white bread, pasta)
- Nightshade family of vegetables (potato, capsicum, eggplant, tomatoes and chillies)
- White sugar and salt
- Refined/trans fats and fried foods
- Processed and junk foods
- Acidic substances (such as alcohol, too much raw garlic and coffee)
- Reduce citrus fruits
Those are just some of the main ones as mentioned in Janelle Purcell’s book ‘Elixir’. The more I research about the healing abilities of certain foods, the more intrigued I get – especially with claims from people who have cured life threatening illnesses and cancers purely with dietary changes. It really shows how important a balanced, nutritious diet is to maintaining good health, let alone healing us.
I am certainly interested in finding out for myself how avoiding certain types of food could help with my fighting my inflammation. I am going to begin eating more of the anti-inflammatory foods listed above and begin eliminating the ‘to avoid’ foods.. then see if this helps with my symptoms.
Love Elo xx
Discussion: What do you think about this topic? Do you believe food alone can heal diseases and medical conditions? Have you personally healed yourself through diet? Let me know in the comment box below.