Using food as a way to reduce pain, inflammation, digestive issues, brain fog, and stress is more than just swapping fruit for candy and salads for steak.
In fact, when done right, you can still enjoy candy and steak!
Instead, you want to make sure the things you eat are creating a healthy environment in your gut and that you’re not overindulging in things that wreck the balance.
There are 3 ways to accomplish this:
- The ‘Biotics: probiotics, prebiotics, and phytobiotics
- Smart Food Choices
- Happy Food Portions
Food Sources of Probiotics
They include (but are not limited) to the following:
- cultured dairy products, with yogurt the most common product used to deliberately consume probiotics; quality and effectiveness of probiotics within yogurt varies, with the best using raw milk from grass-fed animals
- fermented dairy products: one example is kefir, a mixture of milk and kefir grains that have been fermented; this product contains anywhere from 10 to 34 probiotic strains, making it even more probiotic-rich than yogurt (but far less well known)
- fermented vegetables: sauerkraut is a good example with its organic acids creating an ideal environment for good bacteria growth; it also contains small amounts of probiotics
- fermented beverages such as kvass, traditionally made from fermented grain but often made today from beets and other root vegetables
- miso: created from fermented rice, barley or soybeans, this as the foundation of much of traditional Japanese medicine; by simply adding a teaspoon of it to hot water, miso becomes a quick and healthy broth to drink
- tempeh: this food is created by fermenting soybeans and has been a staple food of vegetarians and vegans; it was originally produced in Indonesia
- beverages with soy: one example is soy milk; probiotics are added during processing, and this drink is often consumed by people who are lactose intolerant, with probiotics thought to possibly help improve digestive abilities of lactose-intolerance people
Here is an article that provides links to 17 recipes containing probiotic-rich foods. One of them is kimchi, a food that offers healthy probiotics and more, also shown to manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This food has also been “shown to lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, and combat colon cancer. In addition, it can help to reduce stress, relieve depression, combat osteoarthritis, reduce atherosclerosis, and fight liver disease.”
Then there is hot pink jalapeño garlic kraut described this way: “Vibrant in both flavor and color, the sauerkraut also packs a bit of heat that mellows with time and brings a solid punch of pure salty-sour flavor you’d come to expect from any good quality ferment.”
And, here’s one more: the pineapple turmeric sauerkraut and gut shot; it’s also a gut shot because you can pour leftover brine into a glass and chug down a healthy shot that “packs a ton of nutrients in a tiny glass.”
Overall, foods that are probiotic-rich also have numerous additional health benefits.
What happens if you don’t like any of the foods on this list and can’t imagine incorporating any of them into your diet?
Easy – use high-quality probiotic and prebiotic supplements instead like the ones found in Amare’s Fundamentals Pack
Smart Food Choices For Less Stress, Pain, And Brain Fog, Plus Better Sleep And More Joy
Sugar is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy gut, contributing to yeast build-up and inflammation. Instead, eat lots of fiber to feed the good bacteria and stay balanced. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are a great way to incorporate fiber into your diet.
Sugar has addictive qualities for many people. But, you can lower your sugar consumption with these tips:
1. Check food labels. Don’t just check your sweet treats, but all your food labels. You’ll probably find added sugar in a ton of products you don’t expect: bread, tomato sauce, crackers, salad dressings, granola, and even some canned vegetables. Next time you go grocery shopping, double-check your regular brands for added sugars and consider switching to less sugary alternatives.
2. Cut out sugary drinks. Sweetened drinks like soda, coffee and energy drinks are more to blame for America’s sugar problem than any other food group. In fact, one study shows that non-diet soft drinks account for a whopping 47 percent of added sugar in the typical American diet. Sweetened drinks pack lots of sugar and calories without filling you up, which also encourages you to consume more sugar and calories overall. Consider cutting sugary drinks out of your diet completely. Replace soda with sparkling water or drink lightly sweetened coffee in the morning instead of a vanilla latte, perhaps using stevia. In 2018, MedicalNewsToday.com called this natural substance an “ideal alternative to sugar when looking for that extra boost of sweetness.”
3. Rethink your breakfast. From yogurt to cereal to muffins, breakfast foods tend to be full of added sugar. Even supposedly healthy options like low-fat cereals and yogurts tend to be filled with sugar. For a healthier start to your day, switch to low-sugar alternatives to your favorite breakfast foods, such as Cheerios instead of Froot Loops or plain Greek yogurt instead of sweetened. Consider eliminating sugary breakfasts altogether.
4. Downsize dessert. A sugary treat every once in a while isn’t a bad thing, but keep portion size and frequency in mind when indulging, and check the serving size before diving into that tub of ice cream or pack of cookies. If you find yourself frequently overindulging after dinner, consider eating fruit as dessert instead.
Beets, both deep red and golden beets contain powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation and support detoxification.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, beets, asparagus, cauliflower, and dark leafy greens all protect collagen in the body which keeps us feeling young and limber.
Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant all help to reduce inflammation in the body and keep pain to a minimum.
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are great sources of phytobiotics and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. You’ve probably also heard of berries as a great source of antioxidants which means they fight free radical damage and oxidative stress in the body.
Apples and grapes are also wonderful sources of phytobiotics which promote a healthy gut environment which is unfriendly to the bad bacteria.
Good news for sweet tooths! Dark chocolate isn’t just delicious, it’s also a fabulous source of phytobiotics and collagen-boosting phytonutrients that keep us feeling young and fit.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants which help fight free radicals, help reduce oxidation, and slows down the aging process.
Red wine, in moderation, is also a great source of antioxidants and doesn’t typically contain the nitrites that white wine does. Just don’t drink more than one glass per day (men AND women both).
This medicinal herb has amazing properties and scientists just keep finding out more and more benefits of using it. It’s been shown to reduce inflammation in rats with arthritis, it has antioxidant properties, and it restores balance to imbalances in the body.
It’s also one of the main ingredients in Amare’s Mood+ where it balances hormones, reduces stress, improves mental cognition, enhances focus, and promotes healthy energy levels.
It really is a wonder-plant!
Fish and lean meats
You’ll especially want to look for fish that’s high in omega-3 (like salmon). Fish is a great source of protein and amino acids which assist the body’s production of collagen (which keeps the body feeling and looking young).
Lean meats are a great source of “complete” proteins, meaning they contain all the amino acids your body needs to stay fit and avoid injury. Grass-fed beef and lamb are going to be your safest choices to avoid chemicals and toxins that upset the balance you’ve worked so hard to create. (And yes, organic does make a difference because it means the animal fed on grass that wasn’t poisoned with cancer-causing glyphosate which is present in weed killer and other pesticides.)
Chicken is also a great choice which reduces inflammation in the body, especially when taken as bone broth.
Pretty much all the good stuff. Pasta, bread, cookies, crackers, cereal, and so on.
Refined carbs often contain gluten which is a known cause of many gut illnesses and imbalances. They also erode collagen which speeds up the aging process.
Really makes you rethink breakfast doesn’t it?
Try high-protein breakfasts instead, like salmon and eggs.
See above for all the details.
Now, no one is saying you have to give it up forever!
Start by simply being aware that all fried foods (even the ones cooked in “healthy” fats) significantly increase inflammation in the body.
Fried foods = pain.
It’s that simple.
So go ahead, indulge once in a while! But really savor it when you do. And then avoid fried foods the rest of the time.
To be blunt, this means pretty much any food that has a long shelf life.
Check the label for ingredients like nitrates, emulsifiers, preservatives, and artificial flavors. You’ll also want to avoid anything with the word PEG in it or a number like Red-40.
Also watch out for titanium dioxide. You won’t find it in food very often, but it’s probably in your toothpaste and/or medications. As soon as convenient, chuck anything that contains it and switch it out for another brand.
Happy Food Portions
Eating the right foods can have a significant impact on your mental wellness. It’s important to consume the right servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, grains, beans/legumes, and healthy fats. The gut relies on a good diet to thrive and stay healthy.
Use this plate as your guide to making smart food choices that affect your ability to feel joy and satisfaction:
The easiest way to remember how much of each food belongs on your plate is the “Helping Hand” method:
(Want a copy of this “Helping Hand” guide to food portions that you can print out and hang on your fridge? Get it for free here.)
*Some images courtesy of Amare and their Mental Wellness Diet™