Step 4-Customizing Fruits and Vegetables for Your Specific Health Concerns
In the previous articles in this series we covered what is the same in all healing diets-proteins and fats. Those two things don’t change whether you are fighting an autoimmune disease or just want to lose weight. Now we are onto vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are also very healing and should be a large part of your diet. The nutrients in vegetables especially can help reverse Multiple Scherosis, and help to reverse cancer. Vegetables and fruits played a big part in helping my niece overcome IBS and chronic nausea.
But this is an area that does need customizing for certain people. As you look over these categories you will either 1. recognize that you might need to exclude certain fruits and vegetables or 2. don’t need to worry about these sensitivities and can eat any type of fruit or vegetable that you want without problems.
Do you have kidney stones or vulvodynia? You might need to exclude oxalates from your diet.
Some people will feel much better eating low oxalate vegetables and fruits. Oxalates are a naturally occuring food chemical and if your digestion and detoxification systems are in great shape then your body will efficiently get rid of oxalates. Many of us have an some impairment in one of those areas though. If you have had any of the following conditions you might want to consider eating low oxalate:
- Kidney Stones
- Painful Inflamed Joints
- Burning Urine or Bowel Movements
- Carpal Tunnel
- Chronic Fatigue/Insomnia
- Various Nuts and Seeds
- Black Tea
- Sweet Potatoes
If you are interested in finding out more about oxalates you may want to join the Trying Low Oxalates group on Yahoo. There is an article on lowoxalate.com on how to do that. The lowoxalate.com website is very helpful for finding recipes and ideas for how to eat low oxalate. Here is an excellent article on oxalates and explains cautions one would need to take when starting the diet.
You will also get very detailed information from the yahoo group on what vegetables and fruits will be safe for you if you want to try out the low oxalate diet. As a starting point here is a list of very low oxalate vegetables and fruits: Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers; iceberg and Romaine lettuce; radishes, mushrooms, onions (yellow and white); squash (zucchini, acorn, and yellow); red sweet peppers, turnips (root), water chestnuts, apples, avocados, cherries, cranberries, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), seedless grapes (red and green), peaches, plums.
Many cases of IBS respond very well to a low fodmap diet. A low fodmap diet alone isn’t necessarily a cure for IBS, but it can help the symptoms diminish. Symptoms of fodmap intolerance include bloating, diarrhea or constipation, flatulence and stomach pain. I have also read that if you feel better after having a bowel movement than that is also a sign of fodmap intolerance. Because you get rid of the fodmaps when you use the bathroom.
Also, if you have IBS symptoms after eating the foods listed below then you may want to try a low fodmap diet: (There are other high fodmap foods, I just picked the most common foods with high fodmaps).
- Juices, sweets or foods containing apple or pear juice
- Beans and pulses (baked beans, broad beans, butter beans, chick peas, kidney beans, lentils)
- Brussel sprouts
If you would like to trial the low fodmap diet to see if your symptoms improve or go away, then safe vegetables and fruits would include: bok choy, bell pepper, carrot, chives, summer squash, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, zucchini, acorn squash, banana, orange, mandarin, grapes, and melon (not watermelon). Here is a chart detailing all the different foods that are allowed or restricted on the low fodmap diet-Fodmap Intolerance Chart. You will notice this chart covers all different foods. I have only covered fruits and vegetables (not dairy or grains yet) because I am taking you step by step on customizing your diet.
Are Histamines a Problem for You?
Histamine intolerance has many different symptoms. Often people realize that they have an intolerance to histamines because they get hives, itching, heartburn, headaches, or anxiety when they eat certain foods.
I had trouble with two things that are high in histamines-fermented foods and broths that were cooked for a long time, and realized that histamines could be the cause. If I ate certain foods like mushrooms I would get very bloated and have indigestion/heartburn, nausea and I would feel cold and fatigued. Sometimes I could feel my heart racing or had trouble sleeping. Here are common foods that contain histamines:
- Fermented foods-Sauerkraut, Pickles
- Red Wine and Other Alcohol
- Bacon or Salami (aged meats)
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper
- Citrus Fruits-Oranges, Lemons
- Most Berries
- Dried Fruit
If you think that histamines may be a problem for you, then you can try eating only low histamine foods for a while and see if you notice your symptoms going away. (Lots of foods contain histamines, but if you avoid getting too much then your histamine symptoms will get alot better).
Click here for a list of allowed or restricted foods for a low histamine diet. Vegetables and fruits that would be safe to eat would include: asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, cassava/yuca
celery, zucchini, lettuce, parsnips, radish, squash, apples, and all kinds of melons.
Hopefully at this point you have recognized that you don’t have any of these problems and don’t have to limit the fruits and vegetables talked about in this article. Or you have recognized an intolerance that you have and can soon find relief by trying one of the appropriate diets. The good news is that many intolerances get better as you work on your diet and then hopefully one day you will be able to eat lots more variety! Vegetables and fruits are very healing and can help reverse so many health problems. Make them a big part of your diet! There are still a few more intolerances to consider concerning vegetables and fruit so stay tuned for part 5!
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Click here for step 5 of “Finding Your Perfect Diet”.
Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. You should consult your health practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements. I am not a doctor or medical professional.