In this blog, I share with you why eating “healthy” is not that simple. When you are dealing with any kind of chronic condition, especially an autoimmune disease where your immune system is involved, you need to take into account which foods may actually be making your symptoms worse. I share with you below 3 reasons why you need to go beyond eating “healthy” and focus on the foods that suit your unique body’s requirements.
The first reason is your immune system
The first thing is that there are everyday foods that you are consuming like wheat, dairy (curd, butter, milk, cheese), soy, corn, and eggs that may be foods that your immune system is reacting to. This is even more important if you are already dealing with any kind of autoimmune condition since it can not only aggravate the situation but continue to keep the immune system hypervigilant and contribute to ongoing tissue damage.
In fact, gluten ( a protein found in foods like wheat, rye, barley, and others) is one of the first things that we need to eliminate in order to deal with an autoimmune diagnosis since it enhances intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). Enhanced intestinal permeability contributes to immune dysregulation and immune hypervigilance and overexposure of the immune system to undigested and partially digested foods, microbes, and endotoxins which it should be protected from.
The second reason is gut dysbiosis and impaired digestive secretions
The second reason that some “healthy” foods may not be suiting you is the state of your gut health. Those dealing with autoimmune conditions and other chronic conditions (IBS, SIBO, eczema, allergies and others) have some level of microbial imbalance in the gut leading to poor digestion and absorption. This kind of gut dysbiosis also goes hand in hand with impaired digestive secretions including stomach acid production and/or pancreatic enzymes.
This makes it hard to break down the foods especially the fibre content in uncooked and raw foods. This is the reason why many people are unable to tolerate healthy but uncooked and raw foods like salads and vegetable juices. Since these foods are not broken down and digested properly, they often lead to worsening of symptoms like gas, bloating, flatulence and pain. In this case, it may serve you to switch to well cooked vegetables as soups and curries. In fact in the video below I share the story of one client who had to switch from raw smoothies and salads to soups for just this reason.
The third reason is fermented foods
And finally, fermented foods like fermented vegetables/pickles, strawberries, avocados, citrus foods, spinach, eggplant, and other such foods which are naturally high in histamine can lead to worsening of symptoms in many people. While fermented foods are beneficial for most people since they help nourish our gut microbiome by boosting microbiome diversity and immune response, they can worsen symptoms in some people who are already dealing with high histamine levels.
Histamine is produced by our immune system as a natural response to various kinds of threats but if the body is not able to degrade it and break it down to be taken out of the system, it can then lead to histamine overload. We can then start struggling with a variety of symptoms like but not limited to headaches, breathing issues, fatigue, sinus problems, nasal congestion, sneezing, hives, itching and many more. On top of that if we continue to consume foods high in histamine, then these symptoms can become really worse. Hence while fermented foods are certainly beneficial, they may not be what your body needs right now.
As you can see, eating foods that are “healthy” really depends on the current state of your body when you are dealing with a chronic condition and will usually change over time. The good news is that once you understand what your body’s requirements are you can start to eat foods that are healthy for YOU and help your body to deal with your health issues much better.
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