Some people know what it’s like to live with a food allergy. In severe cases, someone with an allergy has to avoid certain foods altogether, even watching out for how or where the food was produced to keep from having a life-threatening reaction.
But it’s far more common for people be sensitive or have an intolerance to some foods, with their reactions ranging from to headaches, to mucous buildup in the nasal cavity, to inflammation. The latter of these, inflammation, is proving to be a major contributor to a range of health issues.
Inflammation happens when food sensitivities activate the body’s immune system as a way of defending against an invader. Inflammation can cause a range of symptoms: brain fog and poor memory, low energy and fatigue, gas and bloating, constipation, or skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. Since the symptoms vary from person to person, it can be tricky to pinpoint food as the exact cause. When someone is suffering from one or more of these systems, it can really affect their sleep.
Food sensitivities can also cause gut inflammation. Since the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and GABA are created in the gut before transmitting their “feel good” and calming signals to the brain, then gut inflammation can disrupt that process. The result? Again, sleep disturbances.
The problems with food sensitivities and intolerances that we’re seeing in abundance today were discovered decades ago by Weston A. Price, a dentist. In his studies of the relationship between nutrition and dental and physical health, Dr. Price found that major changes in jaw structure and dental health—including crowding in teeth, dental decay, and narrowing of the jaws—occurred within one generation of introducing white flour, white sugar, and processed foods into the diet. He theorized that these substances began to change the genetics of the jaws and airway, causing narrowing of those structures. Narrow jaws and smaller airways are behind many of the instances of sleep-disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea that are becoming more and more prevalent.
The solution he proposed was to eat organic whole foods instead of processed foods. Organic whole foods are those that come from the earth and are not altered by man. They are not genetically modified (non-GMO), and they’ve been grown without using pesticides or insecticides.
Foods labeled “certified organic” are grown and processed by farms or facilities that have specific certification and accreditation. Getting those credentials, however, can be an expensive process, so many small growers forgo them and simply sell local—something many people are welcoming these days. Farmers markets or area grocers often carry organic whole foods that are locally produced without the use of commercial processing. With a little exploration and research, you can find your own local growers and determine which offer the best choices for you.
Switch your diet to one of organic whole foods and within a few weeks you’ll quiet your body’s inflammation, feel better, and be able to get a good night’s sleep.