How to use food as medicine for better sleep, immunity and energy

How to use food as medicine for better sleep, immunity and energy

When stress hits, sleep becomes impossible, food becomes the only thing that makes you feel better, and we usually reach for the wrong things. If only we could rethink the equation and use food as medicine, not as comfort. It is your friend’s food, but not because it gives you comfort, a sugar donut or a bag of chips, could instantly melt it in your mouth, but because nutritious food has power, from nature , make you feel better, sleep sounder, lower your blood sugar (and burn fat for fuel), and boost your immunity.

While the wrong foods can contribute to our weight and lack of sleep, causing us to feel depressed after falling from our high sugar intake, choose the right food can be nature’s cure, and help us feel better, have more energy, sleep better and fight inflammation, which is often a fundamental reason for experiencing low energy and symptoms. other at a low level.

To train your brain to think of food as medicine – not comfort – in times of stress and sleep deprivation, all you have to do is feed your body the right types of foods that will nourish it at cell level: These are whole, plant-based foods such as vegetables and legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds. Eliminate junk food and focus on foods that you could grow in your own garden if you had one, or that look the same when they come out of the ground or off the tree . The more “natural” condition of your vegetables, the better.

Cutting out sugar and processed junk food or packaged goods is part of the equation as they contain added sugar, chemicals and lose all potential nutritional benefits. have started in those potatoes, but before it gets past your lips, there’s little more than a scoop for fat and salt.

For how you can achieve optimal well-being and leave weight behind, sleep better and have more energy (which in turn keeps you from reaching for the simple carbs and energizing to find out the door for that run, walk or bike ride) we turned to Brigid Titgemeier, who

Titgemeier is a health advocate on a mission to change your health and change your life through personal nutrition. With a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and a Board Certificate in Integrated and Functional Nutrition, Brigid was an founding Dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine working under Drs. Mark Hyman. Prior to that she worked under Dr. Michael Roizen. She has worked with over 4,000 clients in her nutrition and health consulting industry, using a personalized, data-based nutrition approach, advanced laboratory testing, education and coaching.

Here are her 4 ways to use food as a medicine to treat constipation, improve sleep, lower blood sugar, and boost immunity:

1. Food as medicine for destruction

The goal of your parasympathetic nervous system or “rest and bone” state is to feel relaxed and stress-free more often during the day, to help correct your “fight or flight” response. First, identify times when you would normally arrive for a bag of chips, donut, or other processed foods full of unhealthy fat, added sugar and salt. Instead, pause that moment by taking another action for yourself. Tell yourself that you are going to breathe healthy into your body as a way to reduce your weight and return to your healthy strength.

Use this breathing exercise to reduce weight: Focus on being more resilient to the stress you suffer from lying in small explosions of weight reduction habits into your day! I recommend the introduction of breathing exercises such as the breathing method 4, 7, 8, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. You inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold at the top of the inhale for seven seconds and exhale through your mouth, making a swoosh sound, for eight seconds. Do this for five rounds three times a day as a place to start.

2. Food as medicine to boost immunity

Eat a variety of colorful foods in your diet, aiming for at least three different colors that come from the nature of each meal. All natural colors of the rainbow have protective changing properties. That means carrots and green and yellow squash all sit happily next to each other on your plate, or make a great salad with chickpeas, soybeans, and red pepper. Each time you add color you boost immunity by adding more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients to your diet.

3. Food as a medicine to lose weight and lower your blood sugar

I use what I call the “Best Plate Method” to help keep your blood sugar balanced. This is important even if you do not have diabetes since studies have shown that blood glucose levels predict the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, when patients are in the hospital.

The best plate method dictates that you should fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, then add just a few toes of healthy fat, eating 20 to 40 grams of high-quality protein and one serving of complex or carbohydrate starch. Remember that the more fiber foods you add to your plate, the more stable your body will be in processing the carbs you eat, keeping your blood sugar nice and low, and not overeating. allowing insulin spikes that require the body to store extra energy as fat. So upload the vegetables!

4. How you can sleep better, and enjoy a night of rest, rejuvenation

Research shows that when you sleep, your body repairs your cells, and stimulates the formation of your immune memory (so that it can quickly recognize an unknown or new invader and protect you. on), and reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines. One way to get high-quality sleep is to set a bedtime that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep per night without the need for an alarm, so go to bed earlier if you’re struggling to wake up in the morning, and stick to that bedtime most nights. This helps program your circadian rhythm to determine when to start going down.

Foods as a medicine for better sleep: If you think “I can’t get to sleep earlier, all you have to do is use it. Create an evening ritual that will allow you to bring in a deeper level of restorative sleep. This can be introduce bedtime tea (without caffeine) with adaptogenic herbs, or take an Epsom salt bath, or relax tight muscles by gently using a foam roller, or you can introduce an evening meditation , to breathe deeply and to shed the pressures of the day.
For more information on how to use food as a medicine see my Healthy Immunity Guide.