Nutritional counseling plays an important role in a chiropractor’s plan of care whether the patient’s goal is pain relief and rehabilitation or improved sports performance. From patients with arthritis to pro athletes, chiropractors know that eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods can make a big difference.
Athletes are aware that they should be eating foods that enhance their speed, strength, and conditioning. However, it is not always obvious to them which foods will optimize and which will hinder their performance. Similarly, people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and other conditions affected by inflammation can benefit greatly by knowing which foods produce and which reduce inflammation.
Everybody reacts differently to foods that can cause inflammation. Generally speaking, foods high in carbohydrates, saturated fats, or trans fats may cause inflammation. Processed foods, fast food, and sugary foods are obvious examples to avoid but what about cereals, pastas, and whole grains?
Reading food labels is important. Chiropractors recommend limiting cereals and breakfast or snack bars that are made with processed flour, hydrogenated oil, or sweetened with fructose or corn syrup. In addition, some pastas and grains may not be good for everyone. For example, people with gluten allergies or who are prone to inflammation should also avoid wheat in their diet. While whole wheat can be healthy for many, unfortunately it also contains gluten and can cause inflammation in the body.
Reducing or eliminating white rice, white flour, pastas, and wheat from the diet may seem difficult at first. Yet, there are plenty of other good carbohydrates and grain alternative products that do not cause inflammation and can actually help reduce inflammation.
Good carbohydrates, good fats, and fiber are important for a healthy diet and can actually reduce inflammation in the body. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, cod, and sardines are examples of good fat that can actually reduce inflammation. Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are also healthy oils that can be included daily to reduce inflammation. Fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables (brussel sprouts, broccoli, collards, spinach, etc.) and fruits with dark colors (strawberries, blueberries, apples, etc.) are some examples of good carbohydrates, many also rich in fiber.
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One healthy alternative to wheat is quinoa. Quinoa (KEEN-WA) is a whole grain rich in protein and vitamins, and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is a good source of fiber and is gluten free. As a source of both natural protein and good carbohydrates, it is a great substitute for rice, pastas, and wheat. It is grown in the Andes Mountains region of South America and dates back to the ancient Incas over 5,000 years ago.
Quinoa can be purchased in its whole grain form (pellets about the size of celery seeds), as flakes, which are particularly good as a hot cereal, and as flour. Quinoa flour can be used like regular flour and is great for baking including breads and wholesome breakfast muffins. Quinoa in its whole grain form is easy to cook–simply boiled like rice–and is a healthier alternative to white rice. It is also great cooked and then chilled for Mediterranean-style salads with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and other sundries of choice such as spinach and feta cheese.
Quinoa and other high protein grain alternatives similar to quinoa (spelt and amaranth) can be found in natural or whole food markets and in many grocery stores.
Chiropractors recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables balanced with ample protein and the good fats and carbohydrates. By reducing or eliminating foods that can cause inflammation and replacing them with healthier alternatives, patients can improve overall health and function. Chiropractors work with patients to evaluate and recommend individualized nutritional plans specific to their patient’s goals. And don’t be surprised if quinoa or other similar high protein grain products are at the top of the recommended consumption list for better health.
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