A Colorful Life Deserves a Colorful Plate

We spend a lot of time these days documenting colorful experiences on social media. In fact, the past few years of valuing experience over possessions has led to a full-scale push against the limitations of the pandemic. Many want large gatherings, colorful actions and over-the-top fun!

To live your fullest, it makes sense to guard your health. And good health begins with good nutrition.

One of the simplest ways to keep your diet healthy is to fill your plate with fresh foods of many colors. This was my grandmother’s rule. And it’s echoed by nutritionists.

The phytochemicals that give foods their color also provide nutrients, prevent disease, fight inflammation, and mitigate pain. Eating a rainbow of colors can have the following effects:

Red. Eating red foods can support the circulatory system, the brain, and help with cholesterol levels. Stock up on tomatoes, radishes, and strawberries. Then add some tart cherries for pain reduction. And don’t forget red chili peppers, red bell peppers, and raspberries.

Orange. Oranges, carrots and sweet potatoes help boost immunity. And my grandmother used to say carrots would help you see better at night. They can, in fact, add some protection for your eyes and bones.

Yellow. Peaches, pineapple, and bananas make a delicious smoothie that will boost immunity and may improve blood sugar levels and even insulin sensitivity as long as the banana is not yet ripe.

Green. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. They can help lower blood pressure, keep cholesterol in check, and help protect against heart disease and stroke. And there are so many options – spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, lettuce, Swiss chard, and watercress. Of course you’ll want to avoid spinach if you have histamine intolerance.

Blue. Blueberries are my favorite blue food. (Actually, huckleberries are my favorite, but they’re hard to come by.) I try to keep blueberries on hand. They’re a great complement to yogurt, oatmeal, and ice cream. I tend to just eat them by the handful as a snack that helps lower my risk of cancer while possibly improving my memory.

Indigo. Blackberries are another berry I prefer to consume by the handful. I never think about the fact that they may be helping me age better while improving my memory and preventing heart disease and cancer. I just enjoy their sweet, tangy juiciness.

Violet. Eggplant, purple cabbage, and plums are great choices. (Avoid the eggplant if you’re histamine intolerant.) Plums have even been touted as a new superfood with more antioxidants than blueberries and isatin that helps regulate digestion system function.

If nothing here is on your favorite list, don’t worry, just choose something else in the same color range or a white food like cauliflower. A multicolor plate looks as good as it tastes. There’s really no going wrong.

Consistently eating a variety of colors will mean an essentially healthy diet without lots of reading, studying, and calculating. Your body deserves the support so you’ll have more time to get out and live a colorful life.

Celiac’s Relationship to Risk for Other Diseases

If you have Celiac Disease, it’s important to recognize Celiac’s relationship to risk for other diseases. It’s especially tempting at this time of year to ignore the signs of distress your body sends you when you eat bread stuffing, gravy on your turkey, flaky pie crust, gingerbread cookies, and Christmas cookies – after all, it’s the holidays! Before you grab another roll in spite of your physician’s advice to follow a gluten-free diet, it’s good to be informed about the other health effects this could have.
crust
Here is a list of health conditions related to Celiac Disease:

Cancers
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Small Bowel Cancer are serious complications of Celiac Disease. The good news is that three to five years of adherence to a gluten-free diet reduces the risk of these cancers to the same risk found in the general population. The risk will remain the same as it is for the general population so long as the gluten-free diet continues.

In untreated Celiac Disease patients, Esophageal Cancer occurs at a rate as much as 8 times higher than in the general population. A gluten-free diet reduces this risk.

Those with Celiac Disease have a threefold higher risk of Papillary Thyroid Cancer. This is the most common type of thyroid cancer and is highly treatable.

Chronic Pancreatitis
Chronic Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that worsens over time. Having Celiac Disease increases your risk of Chronic Pancreatitis threefold.

Scleroderma
Celiac Disease is a known trigger for Scleroderma – an autoimmune condition that causes a hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissue. It is chronic and without cure.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the third leading cause of death in the US. A large Swedish study from 1987 – 2008 found that those with both diagnosed and undiagnosed Celiac Disease had a moderately increased risk of COPD.

Osteoporosis
Untreated Celiac Disease can lead to development of osteoporosis also known as brittle bones.

Infertility
Untreated Celiac Disease may be an underlying cause of unexplained infertility.

Type 1 Diabetes
The incidence of Celiac Disease in patients with Type 1 Diabetes is 4 – 6% (possibly as high as 10% according to the Diabetes Council). Untreated Celiac Disease with resulting malabsorption can cause hypoglycemia in these patients. If you have Type 1 Diabetes and Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy, it will be easier to manage blood sugar levels when you adhere to a gluten-free diet.

In addition to these diseases, any condition that is exacerbated by inflammation can be affected because Celiac Disease is often associated with chronic inflammation. The inflammation from untreated Celiac Disease frequently causes joint pain.

With all the tempting treats of the holidays at hand, you may struggle to make the decision to remain gluten-free. While you are always free to choose that flaky pie crust, it’s only prudent to do so with the knowledge that if you have Celiac Disease, doing so can have a detrimental effect on your health. And now you know!

http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd/how-serious-is-copd.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/balancing-diabetes-and-celiac-disease/

http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/15/3/197

https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/celiac-disease-and-comorbid-conditions/22514-2/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/cut-bite-size-pieces/