Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Should I eat fruit with other foods?

A common food combination that might present problems for some (or many) is the combination of fruit with other foods. It's regularly suggested to eat fruit first before other foods. In about 15 minutes, the fruit will have completed most of it's digestion and on it's way out of the stomach.

It’s okay to add fruit to a smoothie especially where there are a lot of leafy greens and no type of grains. Perhaps rice protein powders or oats are not ideal for raw fruit smoothies.

And bananas combined with citrus fruits can cause some digestion problems also.

If you know that you have difficulties digesting fruits with other foods, it might be wise to switch to eating cooked (stewed or baked) fruit. For instance, one great way to do this is to cook fruit along with your hot oatmeal on the stove top.

How can I support my liver?

The liver has many functions. First and foremost, the liver is the body’s detoxifier which means it is responsible for removing toxins (anything that our body doesn’t accept as nutrients and anything that is obviously harmful to us).  The liver is highly involved in the removal of ammonia resulting from amino acid (protein) breakdown. While this process is necessary, when our goal is to support the liver, we should not eat too many “high protein” foods such as meats (red, white and even fish), eggs and may even need to limit our intake of beans (1 cup max per day), nuts and seeds (1/4 cup) to ease the load on the liver. You will receive many benefits from eating many fruits, vegetables (root vegetables and leafy greens) – preferably steamed or baked, but definitely not fried, and whole grains while avoiding wheat and gluten. FOODS TO AVOID are corn, wheat, soy and dairy (with a few exceptions of a good yogurt)  if one desires to easily detox the liver – therefore, it would be a good choice to simply avoid these foods while attempting to heal and support a healthy liver.

Special note: For the cancer patient taking traditional chemotherapy drugs, the liver has to work “overtime” to remove the toxins these drugs create. Therefore, it’s even more important to take great care of the liver.

How to fight inflammation?

One major reason for inflammation is that in most American diets the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are out of balance. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory agents while omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory.  Foods that contain high amounts of omega-6, in comparison to omega-3, are vegetable oils, processed foods and meats. Foods that contain high amounts of omega-3s, which we should increase in our diet, are ground flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Also eating a whole food plant-based diet which is rich in vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruits, nuts , seeds, legumes and (I suggest gluten-free to avoid any wheat intolerances) whole grains will help you to meet your caloric requirements and get all the essential fatty acids in the correct proportion.

Additionally, consuming antioxidant foods help fight against free radicals thus fighting inflammation. Free radicals are produced by chemical reactions and toxins which cause oxidative damage to the body’s cells. The best antioxidant foods are fruits and vegetables which contain beta-carotene (such as carrots), lycopene (such as tomatoes) and Vitamin C (citrus fruits and dark leafy greens).

Please use the Input Survey to submit your nutrition questions.

How can I help a sensitive stomach (IBS)?

There are many reasons why our stomachs become sensitive. Here are some considerations for helping with sensitivity:
  1. Remove the popular food allergens/irritants: wheat, corn, dairy and soy
  2. Ingest good bacteria (probiotics): capsule form or fermented foods
  3. Eat a real foods diet will help you to avoid other foods that might be causing issues
  4. Remove stress and anxiety. Try daily yoga breathing and stretching with the addition of positive thinking (Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health), prayer and meditation.
  5. Exercise is great for the digestive system. Yoga or simple 20-minute walks are both helpful.
  6. Sometimes we can eat too many HIGH FODMAP foods which can cause bloating and stomach irritations too. 

Can I get energy from protein?

Yes you can, but it's not the body's preferred source of energy. Protein (or amino acids) make up the body's building blocks to repair cells. Actually protein has to be broken down through digestion into amino acids as a first step. The body will choose carbohydrates to turn into energy first, then fats and lastly protein. Reasons to not depend on protein for energy: (1) you should reserve your amino acids for body tissue and muscle repair (2) To use as energy the amino acids that the body created must be converted into glucose before it can be used by the body. The by-product of this conversion is ammonia which can likely cause the body to produce more acid (which is the basis of many degenerative diseases).

Do you know that all foods contain protein? So, if we supply the body with enough carbohydrates to use for fuel, then the body can use the protein of these carbohydrates to help build and repair itself. For this reason, a whole food plant-based diet is a win-win choice!

What's the body's preferred source of energy?

Glucose is the body's preferred source and it is also the main source of fuel for your brain. Therefore one reason you might have feelings of a foggy brain is when you don't have enough glucose in your blood. (Another reason could be toxins.) Glucose is readily found in carbohydrates. If you need quick energy one healthful option you can choose is fruit which is a simple carbohydrate and quickly digested. It's actually the juices of the fruit that quickly enter into your bloodstream and provide you with quick energy. (See energy drink recipes.) But choose complex carbohydrates of whole foods such as baked potatoes with skins, brown rice, quinoa and colorful vegetables for longer lasting blood sugar (glucose) levels.