Food does matter for your health and how you deal with RA. But which foods are our Nutrient Powerhouse? Which foods nourish us, make us strong, healthy, and ultimately happy? Which foods help us to heal from RA, autoimmunity or any chronic condition?
The High Nutrient-Dense Foods – the Nutrient Powerhouse!
According to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “nutrient-dense foods” are foods that provide high amounts of nutrients but have relatively few calories.
As I mentioned in my “7 common triggers for the RA pain”, Nutrition Deficiency is one of the triggers for people with RA. One reason you can have Nutritional Deficiency is if you have poor digestive. The fact is that among all the autoimmune diseases, RA has the strongest association with digestion. Another reason for Nutrition Deficiency is people simply don’t eat High Nutrient-Dense Foods.
What is Nutrition Deficiencies? A nutritional deficiency (malnutrition) occurs when the body doesn't absorb or get from food the necessary amounts of a nutrient. Because nutrients affect literally every cell, organ and tissue in our bodies, deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems.
Research shows a clear decline in health when nutrients, I am talking about vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fall below the optimal level, mentioned in ‘The Wahls Protocol’ by T. Wahls. As we have seen the introduction of processed foods have had the most harmful effects on our health. Foods from salad dressing to morning cereal to ice-cream have been shown to affect our digestive, causing a leaky gut and from there a chain reaction of inflammation and autoimmune diseases. These process foods are ‘dead’. They don’t contain any real nutrients but are fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals such as in a fortified morning cereal or bottle of orange juice.
Can we replace whole foods with synthetic vitamins and minerals? No! Because synthetic vitamins and minerals do not have the same properties as when they come from whole foods. For example, if you take vitamin C in a pill it is just one added vitamin whereas if you eat an orange you receive a diversity of nutrients and not one of them synthetic.
Just like a car can’t run on water, it needs the correct fuel. The same thing with our bodies. We can’t just run on any fuel we need the right high-quality fuel.
That is why it is so important to focus on a variety of real, whole, nutrient – dense foods.
Another important factor to keep in mind is bioavailability.
…“It is not just the amount of nutrients that food contains that is important, it’s how bioavailable those nutrient are. The nutrients in some foods are more bioavailable to humans than others. For example, the grass on your front lawn is loaded with vitamins and minerals, but they’re largely inaccessible to humans. Grass contain large amount of a plant fiber called cellulose, which humans cannot break down. Since we can’t break down the cellulose, we can’t absorb the nutrients grass contains. On the other hand, nutrients in animal products like fish, meat, poultry, dairy and eggs are highly bioavailable. This means we can absorb them easily.” 9 Steps to Prefect Health by Chris Kresser
Here are 7 Nutrient Powerhouse and Bioavailable Foods
#1 Organ meat, such as heart, kidney, and particularly liver – are some of the most nutrient-dense and bioavailable. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, D, E, K; folate, pantothenic acid, choline, iron, selenium, zinc, copper, omega 3, magnesium, phosphorous and other minerals. Organ meats are also excellent sources of creative, carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid and ubiquinone (which is coenzyme Q).
#2 Bone broth – calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, gelatin, collagen, glucosamine in bone broth tends to go straight to the joints. Remember the old-fashioned chicken soup remedy which our grandmothers recommended? Well there is a healing science behind it.
#3 Clean meats, wild game and poultry – all the essential amino and fatty acids, from which all complete proteins are manufactured. Our bodies require complete proteins as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, blood and skin.
#4 Oily Fish and shellfish – Vitamin D, B12, omega 3, phosphorous, selenium, iron, zinc, copper and iodine.
#5 Fermented vegetables – natural probiotic, antioxidants and Vitamin K. These are the friends of your gut.