Thanksgiving is coming up and it’s that time of the year for your health care providers to guilt you into eating healthy. Don’t worry, it’s ok to indulge – but only in moderation. Unfortunately, most people’s definition of moderation means every other meal. Moderation has definitely gone out the window for many.
The reason why we should pay attention to what we put in our mouths because foods act like medicine. Ever eat a piece of dark chocolate and feel relaxed? Dark chocolate alters dopamine levels. Tryptophan, found in foods like turkey and chicken, could make you feel sleepy. Tryptophan converts to serotonin. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are anti-depressants. Feel addicted to sugar? Well, you probably are. Foods alter your brain chemicals!
Foods also alter our pH, which is linked to inflammation. I’m sure you know someone with gout. Eat too much red meat or drink too much alcohol, and you’ll get a red, swollen, painful joint. When inflammation gets out of hand (from chronic indulging!), it is actually one of the biggest contributors to chronic disease like diabetes, autoimmune disease, allergies, heart disease and cancer.
A general rule of thumb is: meats are acidic and vegetables are alkaline, and more acidity contributes to inflammation. To show my gratitude this Thanksgiving, I am writing a “Holiday prescription” for everyone. You’ll notice they all focus on lowering inflammation.
- Cut back on fried foods, animal products (meats, dairy), simple carbs (breads, pastas, rice), as well as artificial sweeteners by ½. These foods trigger the inflammatory pathway.
- Double your current water intake. Ever wonder why there are different prices for bottled water? Well, just like vitamins, you get what you pay for. More expensive waters are better quality with less impurities and less acidity. Don’t get me started on what soda does regarding acidity. By the way, did you know Coke owns Dasani water and Pepsi owns Aquafina?
- Fruits and vegetables generally alkalinize the body. These lower inflammation because they are much less acidic like meats. So be sure to balance that turkey with a lot of green vegetables. Fill ½ your plate with vegetables.
This is definitely food for thought – literally. Have a happy turkey day!