Food matters have produced a helpful guide to 9 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore. As with any symptoms, you should get checked with your doctor and then seek specific nutritional advice, (see the contact page on my website). However, the nine points, which I will cover in the coming days, may help you in supporting the health of your family.
By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life
The body is a magnificent machine. When things go awry, it generally doesn’t just shut down without warning, like an incandescent light bulb popping its filament. Instead it sends us little signals (think of them as gentle biological taps on the shoulder) letting us know that something is amiss.
“Physical signs and symptoms are ways your body tries to alert you to deeper imbalances,” says Elson M. Haas, MD, a San Rafael, Calif., physician with a natural-medicine approach and author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006). “Taking the time to decipher the body’s codes is always better than simply popping a pill and hoping the symptoms just go away. Ideally, we want to get to the causes of problems, not just suppress the end result of ill health.” But interpreting the body’s quirky Morse code requires a deep level of body awareness that, like any skill, takes time and practice to perfect. To that end, we recruited a handful of the country’s leading integrative health practitioners to help identify nine of the most common conditions underlying frequent, and sometimes mysterious, symptoms. Read on to clue into your body’s messages.
You’re drinking too much diet soda…
One likely signal: Headaches
Background: Artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame (found in Nutrasweet and Equal), can trigger headaches, even migraines. At highest risk are people with a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (or PKU for short); they lack the enzyme needed to metabolize a substance (phenylalanine) that is created when the body breaks down aspartame. But even those without the genetic disorder may find that drinking diet soda results in brain fog or headache. Why? Animal studies have shown aspartame to be a potent neurotoxin, at least in young rats. I’m concerned about whether aspartame might cause nerve damage in humans, as well — or at least disrupt the nerve signaling that enables the brain to register satiety,” says Sharon Fowler, MPH, a faculty associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio who studies the health effects of artificial sweetener use. One of the prime suspects is the methanol in aspartame, which is broken down into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. People who are sensitive to formaldehyde may experience headaches after ingesting aspartame.
Other signals: Intense cravings for sweet or salty foods, inability to focus, irritability
How to respond: When the urge for diet soda strikes, Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN, chief nutrition adviser for the online-based sites MyFoodMyHealth and My Foundation Diet, suggests drinking sparkling water flavored with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice and a squeeze of lime.
As many have experienced when following a diet to support optimum nutrition, in avoiding sugar and artificial sweeteners, the taste buds regain their ability to taste flavours in all foods. One client just said to me this morning, “Now I can taste a sweetness in plain oat-cakes!”
For family members, a dash of fruit juice in a glass of sparkling water may provide an alternative to sodas, but I encourage clients to avoid juices and recommend just a slice of lemon for flavouring. You will be amazed at how quickly you will get to appreciate this delicate flavour once sugar and artificial sweeteners are out of the diet.