January 23, 2017

How to Overcome Multiple Sclerosis with Nutrition

A Diet to Fight MS

by Amanda Box, N.D.

Multiple sclerosis is a thief. It slowly steals a person’s mobility, eyesight and ability to think clearly. It is an unrelenting disease that is progressive and deemed incurable. This devastating disease is diagnosed in thousands of Americans each year. These victims are often left with minimal options for help and little hope for recovery.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs twice as often in women as in men. It is also more common among Caucasians than any other ethnic group. MS slowly deteriorates the protective myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves in our brain and spinal column. This leads to:

Once diagnosed, MS may steadily worsen. Or, acute attacks may occur followed by remission of MS symptoms. The protective myelin is damaged in multiple sclerosis due to its autoimmune destruction. The specific cause of MS is not known, but exposure to and accumulation of heavy metals and other toxic compounds can induce MS.

The good news is that there is hope for those diagnosed with MS! Dietary changes and proper nutrition can dramatically improve MS symptoms. In some cases, MS symptoms can be eliminated completely! The body has the innate capacity to heal itself when given what it needs.

When addressing MS, it is also important to stop habits that disrupt and damage the immune system. Don’t forget that your body is made from natural materials and incorporates a system that needs natural products such as food to constantly build and heal.

Many of our modern day foods contain artificial ingredients that aren’t safe for human consumption. Some of these ingredients alter the normal activity of your nervous system, resulting in disease. So, it is important to understand the dangers and side effects of these artificial additives.

The Dark Side of Diet Soda

Many people with good intentions forego sugar-laden sodas and desserts in favor of their sugar-free counterparts. However, artificial sweeteners have a dark side. Aspartame in particular, the primary sweetener used in diet soda, has a distinct connection to MS.[1][2]

ASPARTAME in diet soda kills brain cells and lead to MS v2Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartic acid raises the levels of both aspartate and glutamate in the blood. Once these compounds reach the brain, they can cause an influx of calcium into the brains cells. This influx excites the cells to the point of their death! This is why aspartate and glutamate are often referred to as excitotoxins. If you suffer from MS, these excitotoxins can freely enter the site of injury, magnifying the damage produced from MS.

Aspartame can also rapidly break down into methanol, which can easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Once methanol reaches the brain, it converts to formaldehyde and begins to break down the protective myelin sheath that surrounds our brain cells. This demyelination can lead to MS symptoms and other diseases such as:

Several other processed foods are also high in methanol and should be avoided. Some of the most common include:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Smoked foods
  • Overly ripe fruits and vegetables
  • Tomato sauce

Always read labels and be on the look out for aspartame and other artificial ingredients. These chemical additives cannot only cause symptoms of MS, but other diseases and chronic health problems as well. The damage caused by chemical preservatives and sweeteners can be catastrophic to the human body. These man made ingredients trigger a chain reaction of unnatural responses in the body, which ultimately lead to disease. MS is one of many diseases that can result from putting unnatural substances into our natural bodies! None of us would think of drinking formaldehyde, wood alcohol or other toxic substances. And yet, when we consume diet sodas or other processed foods that contain toxic chemicals, it’s like drinking poison!

MS and Leaky Gut Syndrome

Though rarely talked about, there is an intimate connection between the intestinal tract and autoimmune disease. A disorder called Leaky Gut Syndrome can play a role in the occurrence of MS.

Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the intestinal tract becomes permeable due to inflammatory damage and destruction from the overgrowth of microbes and yeast. This permeability allows toxins and microbes that your body would normally eliminate, leak from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream! Once these toxic substances begin to circulate in your system, inflammation can occur in other areas of the body. This can lead to autoimmune reactions, like MS, where the body attacks itself. This self attack mode is set off by the presence of toxins that would not be present if the intestinal tract was not leaking.

A recent study found a connection with leaky gut syndrome and MS.[3] The study found that mice infected with an MS-like disease not only had leaky gut, but had intestinal inflammation before they even showed symptoms of MS! Dr. Terry Wahls, former MS victim and author of the Wahls Protocol stated, “More studies are finding that increased intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ has a role in the development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.”

The good news is you can prevent leaky gut, as well as cure it! Following specific dietary recommendations can heal the digestive tract, and halt inflammation system-wide! This can actually resolve MS symptoms and help those with MS regain a normal, active life!

A Diet to Fight MS

Dr. Terry Wahls was diagnosed with MS in 2000. A medical doctor herself, she sought out the best care and took the latest and most effective drugs on the market. However, her attempts at managing her disease failed and her MS worsened in 2003. She then completed the recommended chemotherapy, but became bound to a wheelchair. Soon after chemotherapy, she became bedridden.

nutrients protect from multiple sclerosisThis is when Dr. Wahl began to take her health into her own hands. She started researching nutrients that would feed her brain and halt the progression of her disease. She noted that in MS there was shrinkage of the brain due to poorly functioning mitochondria. Mitochondria are our cell’s energy source. They need specific nutrients to function at optimal capacity. Through her research, Dr. Wahl identified 3 specific nutrients that are essential for mitochondrial function:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids (from fish)
  • Creatine
  • Coenzyme Q10

She then began to research the proper nutrients needed to prevent damage to the myelin sheath, the primary cause of MS. She discovered the following were important in the maintenance and proper function of myelin:

  • B1
  • B9
  • B12
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (from fish)
  • Iodine
  • Antioxidants

Dr. Wahl also went on to discover the nutrients essential for neurotransmitter functioning. Our neurotransmitters are chemical messengers, which send information between nerve cells. The two most important nutrients for our neurotransmitters are:

  • Sulfur
  • B6

Much of the typical American diet is totally lacking in nutrition. Instead of consuming nutrient dense food, most op for processed and fast foods that are void of nutrients, but rich in artificial based preservatives and additives. It’s really no wonder that our health is declining and obesity rates are skyrocketing.

Dr. Wahls recommends following a paleo style diet that is high in essential nutrition for mitochondria and myelin sheath function. This diet includes:

  • Unlimited green vegetables – these are high in B vitamins and minerals
  • Onions and garlic – rich in sulfur
  • Fatty fish – contains omega 3 fatty acids
  • Grass-fed meat – rich in creatine and healthy protein
  • Organ meat (liver, heart, etc.) – a source of CoQ10 and protein
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables – contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Seaweed – a source of essential iodine

The Wahls protocol also recommends avoiding:

  • Starchy vegetables (corn and potatoes)
  • Grains (gluten in particular)
  • Dairy
  • All processed foods

Once Dr. Wahls began to follow this dietary protocol, her MS symptoms began to improve. Within a matter of months, she went from being bedridden to walking again! She is now symptom free and travels the globe spreading the good news of how proper diet can reverse MS!

Interestingly, this diet not only feeds the brain, but heals the gut as well! The principles outlined in the GAPS protocol, which is a diet designed to heal leaky gut syndrome, are nearly identical to the foods recommended in the Wahls protocol! A diet that addresses leaky gut syndrome is a powerful ally in the fight against any autoimmune disease.

Following these dietary recommendations allows you to heal the brain, but also heal your inflamed leaky gastrointestinal tract, the possible source of MS!! This will help end the source of inflammation and put an end to autoimmune reactions throughout the body.

In addition to the Wahls protocol diet, I recommend adding a powerful, multi-strain probiotic such as Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora. Supplementing with a probiotic helps balance the intestinal tract by boosting beneficial bacteria and crowding out damaging microbes.

A great rule of thumb when boosting nutrition is to add a lot of color to your daily meals. Colorful fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants which are essential in the health and integrity of our nerve cells. The following recipe incorporates the Wahls protocol by including grass-fed protein, green vegetables, sulfur rich onions and other colorful veggies. This recipe is so tasty you won’t even notice that it is grain free![4]

Tex Mex Paleo Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • tex mex paleo stir fry1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 oz white or baby portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (optional for extra heat and flavor)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cups baby kale, chopped
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 12 grape tomatoes, diced

Instructions:

  1. Brown ground beef with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Next, sauté peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic in coconut oil.
  3. Once these veggies are browned, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and paprika.
  4. Place chopped spinach, kale and half the cilantro in a food processor with grape tomatoes and carefully process by pulsing on and off and stirring if necessary until finely chopped.
  5. Stir browned beef into the pepper mixture, and then stir in the greens and tomatoes until greens are slightly wilted.
  6. Add the juice of two limes freshly squeezed and add sea salt to taste. Garnish with the second half of the cilantro, finely chopped.

Green smoothies have become all the rage, and rightly so! What an easy and convenient way to condense lots of nutrition into a single easy-to-consume drink! The problem that most people run into, however, is making a green smoothie that tastes good. Many times people will try and hide the “grassy” taste of a green smoothie with high sugar fruit juices. The added sugar in fruit juices defeats the purpose and increases your risk of diabetes and weight gain.

This smoothie recipe not only incorporates healthy greens and vitamin rich fruits, but also has the addition of lemon flavored fish oil. Don’t worry…this oil doesn’t taste fishy! Rather, it gives the smoothie a slight lemony kick that is also packed with brain boosting omega 3 fatty acids!

Omega 3 Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • omega 3 green smoothie 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Carlson’s or Nordic Naturals lemon flavored fish oil
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 1/2 apple (roughly chopped, seeds and core removed) OR 1 pear (roughly chopped, seeds removed)
  • 1/2 orange (peeled, roughly chopped)
  • 3 stalks of celery (roughly chopped)
  • 4 large kale leaves (ribs removed)
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve over ice.

Those of you who are battling MS, you don’t need to lose hope! This is a battle you can win with the proper dietary choices and nutrition.

  1. Begin by eliminating artificial additives and sweeteners, including diet soda.
  2. Then fill your diet with nutrient dense foods that nourish your brain cells and help to prevent any further deterioration.
  3. Also, add probiotics to your daily regimen to help promote a healthy gut and quell system wide inflammation.

A healthy, rejuvenated life free of MS symptoms can be your future! Give your body what it needs and watch your life transform!

If you like this article, then you’ll love these:

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Sources:
[1] http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Blaylock-AspartameAndMultipleSclerosis-Neurosurgeon’sWarning.html
[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/11/aspartame-dangers.aspx
[3] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0106335
[4] Recipe adapted from http://mamadweeb.com

Anticancer Eating: Nature’s Best Foods

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“Everything causes cancer! You’ve heard the phrase.  It usually comes out of the mouth of someone who is so frustrated hearing how everything they eat, drink and come into contact with causes cancer.

  • Sunscreen, once touted for its ability to prevent skin cancer, is said to be a cause of cancer from the chemicals in the lotion itself.
  • Grilling meat, which was thought to be a healthy method of preparation that adds natural flavor, is now discouraged because the charred marks are carcinogens that can cause cancer.
  • And the list goes on.

It’s no wonder people throw their hands in the air and quit trying. They feel like no matter what they choose, it’s going bad for them, so why try? I am here to plea with you that it does, in fact, matter. Yes, I understand the frustration and apprehension you may have when being healthy seems like an impossible task. But it really isn’t as difficult as you may believe. Using common sense and a healthy bit of skepticism is a good thing.  You aren’t expected to live in the forest, breathing perfectly clean air, drinking pure water, and surviving on only organic natural foods. However, making the best of what you have in the world you live can literally add years to your life and prevent a lot of pain and discomfort.

Artificial Foods and Cancer

Over the years, as changes and so-called advances in manufacturing have occurred, man-made chemicals have replaced our once naturally grown foods. For example, an ear of corn isn’t what it was 50 years ago. It has now been modified so much that its genetic makeup is totally different from it’s once all-natural design. Scientists have spliced and diced genes, crossing them with other species, bacteria, and viruses in an attempt to “improve” our foods. But, that isn’t all! These foods are then sprayed with chemical pesticides to keep away bugs.

As our lives have become busier and faster paced, processed and packaged foods have replaced home cooked made from scratch meals. So much of the food we eat isn’t even food anymore, and our body knows the difference. We weren’t designed to get our nutrition from artificial means. Many times our body doesn’t know how to cope with these counterfeit foods and it responds as if these foods are invaders. If these artificial foods are eaten regularly, a chronic immune response occurs which leads to inflammation. This inflammation can result in:

  • Digestive Issues
  • Joint Pain
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Cancer

Artificial food can cause cancer in other ways, as well. The lab-created foods can also cause mutations in healthy cells throughout the body. These mutated cells can grow and reproduce leading to cancer. Avoiding these foods is not an impossible task. With a little practice it will become second nature. If you think about it, it is truly going back to the basics: cooking from scratch and eating the real all-natural foods that our ancestors ate. It isn’t rocket science and it definitely isn’t as inconvenient as you may think. It truly boils down to priorities.top 5 gmo offenders Do you care more about the speed and convenience of the food you eat, or the nourishment and health benefits it provides your body? Below is a simplified list of what to avoid in the foods you eat in order to avoid their potential cancer causing side-effects. Write this list down and take it with you to the grocery store until it becomes second nature. Read the ingredient lists on everything you purchase and keep your eyes peeled for the following ingredients:

  • Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The top 5 include –
    • Corn
    • Soybeans
    • Zucchini
    • Canola
    • Sugar beets

Unless these specify Non-GMO, buy the organic version or skip it all together.

  • Artificial Colors: These are easy to spot. Any color listed with a # number behind it is artificial. There are natural colors and those are okay, but they will specify natural.
  • Artificial Flavors: My rule of thumb is if you cannot pronounce it, then don’t eat it. Most natural flavor enhancers are nearly impossible to pronounce and the most common is monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • rBST: This is a hormone given to cows to increase milk production. It will not be listed on the label if it’s used, so look for a label on dairy that says no rBST or organic and buy it instead.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Nearly every “diet” or low-calorie product contains some sort of chemical based sweetener. The most common are aspartame and sucralose. Use safe sweeteners instead like stevia or xylitol.

Sugar and Cancer

There is a lot of debate about whether or not sugar feeds cancer. It is true that cancer cells, like all our body’s cells, need sugar (glucose in our blood) to grow and survive. However, I believe the debate is really around the wrong issue. The focus has been on whether when we eat sugar it feeds cancer like gasoline fuels a fire. Whether or not this is exactly true, what can be agreed upon, and what has been proven in scientific studies, is that chronically elevated blood glucose can both increase your risk of getting cancer and also speed cancer’s growth. For instance, those with diabetes are up to twice as likely to get either pancreatic or colon cancer![1]

There is also a link between high blood sugar levels with cancers of the breast, liver and many others. Plainly said, although eating a cupcake after a healthy dinner may not directly cause cancer to grow, eating sugar and starches high on the glycemic index on a regular basis can. When battling or preventing cancer, the importance of staying away from sugar is to ultimately keep your blood glucose levels normal.  Having chronically high levels of glucose in the blood provides the perfect pH and a nearly unlimited source of glucose for cancer growth. Therefore, cutting high starch and high sugar foods out of your diet would be a very wise choice.

Like I mentioned earlier, artificial sweeteners are not a suitable substitute. Instead, I recommend trying stevia, a safe herbal-based sweetener that will not affect your blood glucose levels. It is great to sweeten your tea or coffee and there is even a version for using in your favorite baked goods!

Foods for Cancer Prevention

foods for cancer preventionEverything doesn’t cause cancer. In fact, there are many foods that prevent it! Thankfully, there are foods packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and cancer fighting chemicals in everyday foods!  I mentioned earlier what you should avoid in the foods you eat. Now I’m going to tell you what foods you should be eating to both prevent cancer and fight cancer. Eating real foods cooked from scratch is going to be the best way to change your diet for the better. Instead of snacking on crackers, chips, and other boxed foods, grab an apple or some precut veggies. Avoid fast food chains and instead come home to a meal you have cooking in your crockpot. It will definitely be a lifestyle change for many of you, but the outcome from this change is literally life enhancing! Some fantastic foods for cancer include:

  • Green Tea: Green tea contains chemicals called polyphenols, which can slow the growth of cancer and increase survival rates.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli contains an anticancer chemical called sulforaphane. It also is high in antioxidants, which help prevent cancer and fight cancer.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a wonderful immune boosting food. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and has shown in studies to reduce the incidences of lung, colon, and breast cancer.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene, which can stop the growth of cancer cells in the body. Be wary of canned tomatoes though as the cans are lined with toxic BPA, which leaches into the tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are best!
  • Colorful fruits and veggies: The brighter the color, the more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and cancer fighting substances the vegetable or fruit is likely to have. For example, grab mixed greens instead of iceberg lettuce and a sweet potato instead of a russet potato. Always pick the most colorful and you can’t go wrong!

gazpacho anticancer soupAnticancer Recipes

Vegetables are such an important part in cancer prevention and treatment. Unfortunately, I often find it hard to get in my daily dose of fruits and vegetables. I have found that soup is an easy way to incorporate a lot of vegetables into one dish! With spring upon us, we are coming out of soup season. However, this gazpacho is a cold soup designed to be eaten in the warmer months. It is packed full of anticancer nutrients and is delicious, refreshing, and a cinch to make!

Gazpacho Soup[2]

Ingredients:

  • 8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
  • 2 1/2 Tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup filtered water
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients except water together.
  2. Process in batches in a food processor or blender until not quite smooth.
  3. Thin to desired consistency with water.
  4. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  5. Serve well chilled.

Matcha Green Tea powder is one of the best forms of green tea you can put into your body. It’s bright green color boasts it’s high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants. You can purchase matcha powder here. You can make hot green tea or incorporate it into a smoothie or latte like the recipes below!

Green Tea Matcha Latte

  • green tea matcha latte1 cup almond/coconut milk blend (unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 Tsp matcha
  • 2 Tsp coconut sugar or 5-10 drops liquid stevia
  • Put in a blender and blend to combine well.  Serve over ice.

You can also drink this hot. Just whisk all the ingredients together over medium heat until combined and then use an immersion blender to make it frothy.

Green Tea Raspberry Smoothie

  • 4 oz. frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 packets of stevia (Nu Naturals)
  • 1 Tsp matcha
  • 3 large ice cubes (use more for a thicker smoothie)
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy. Feel free to try different fruit combinations as well.

Though the world around us has changed and cancer-causing substances seem more abundant than ever, this is not a death sentence. Please, don’t throw your hands in the air in dismay and give up!  Taking the time to simplify your life and incorporate natural foods into your diet will not only will help battle existing cancer, but will help prevent its occurrence.

Take charge of your life and your body and watch your health and well-being improve. Don’t be a slave to societies artificial food revolution. Putting God-designed natural foods into our God-designed bodies is a wise and fruitful choice. Go back to the basics of eating and start cooking from scratch, eat your fruits and veggies, and watch their vibrant colors and nutrients bring energy and nourishment to your life.

Amanda BoxAmanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

[2] Adapted from http://thenourishingcook.com

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