Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Top 4 Diet Changes for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, and Other Illnesses

Oh the joy! There's nothing that makes me want to dance and leap around the room more than when I hear someone say they are ready to take a stand for their health. Lucky me, I've been able to hear it come out of 4 different people's mouths in the last 3 days—this morning I happened to hear it from one of my most favorite aunts, who also happens to have rheumatoid arthritis. I feel overjoyed after hanging up with her.

I'm blogging today to not only share my joy and excitement but to also share how when you set your sights on something, truly desiring it, we inevitably collide with the answers we're seeking through multiple sources. My aunt wanted to know how I first went about changing my diet, and after practically every new thing I told her she'd say, "No way! My friend was just telling me that same thing yesterday," or "We went to dinner last night, and a man there was talking about how his cancer has been getting better because he's been doing that too!"

So it's time to share. Here are the 4 main health changes I made to get improve my nutritional intake and improve my health on multiple levels:

1. Eat alkaline foods.
2. Eat salmon and/or fish oil.
3. Eat cruciferous vegetables (i.e., cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and collard greens.
4. Drink green smoothies.

You may hear me got on my soap box time after time about alkaline foods, but it's for a reason. Everything we eat falls on a spectrum of acidic on one end and alkaline on the other end. Click here and here for a chart of where foods fall on this spectrum. The goal is to eat more alkaline foods so that your body can reserve it's resources to fighting illness rather than neutralizing acidic foods in digestion.

Salmon contains much needed omega 3s that reduce inflammation and build up muscles to support joints, particularly helpful for rheumatoid arthritis. Salmon is also high in Vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce the production of blood vessels that cancer tumors feed off of.

Cruciferous vegetables are full of disease-fighting phytochemicals and are known to help prevent various forms of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and breast cancers, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. If you're dealing with poor health, it's recommended that we eat these friendly veggies 4 to 7 times a week. At first I thought this was ridiculously impossible until I realized that I already was drinking kale practically daily in my morning green smoothie! Who knew kale was a cruciferous vegetable?—The more you learn. And if you'd like to learn more about cruciferous vegetables, click here.

Drinking green smoothies not the first health change I made 2 years ago, but hands down it was the most significant. Greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and chard are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are full of iron, calcium—no wonder there's calcium in cow's milk because cows eat greens all day long, but who knew you didn't need milk to get calcium?—and mega amounts of vitamin A and C. According to Self Nutrition Data, kale is "a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese." Apparently it's a vegetable worth including in your diet! Self Nutrition Data is an awesome website for looking up the health benefits of foods.

Here's a blog post bonus to keep inspiring you. It's time to take a stand for your health!

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