I take a firm position on nutritional balancing in overcoming a condition like Crohn’s disease. What do you know for sure you’re deficient in, and what is your body holding too much of? From there, you can modify your diet and supplement accordingly.
This is a list I’ve put together from my own research, and some have directly affected me. Use these as a starting point or just extra clues in what might be the “tick” to your digestive issues.
4. Zinc. This is one of the reasons Dr L Wilson suggests to totally avoid a vegetarian diet. More people today have too much copper (a direct antagonist to zinc). If you’re not eating a serving of red meat (or some lamb) everyday, you’re probably deficienct in zinc because it’s the only real reliable source. The other “good” sources of zinc are actually problematic because of the phytic acid in them (that’s what gets a hold of the nutrients you’re consuming and prevents their absorption), which include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews.
3. Iodine. This mineral is in so few reliable foods that I’ll bet most people today are deficient of or have a need for it, especially if they consume their fair share of cruciferous vegetables (blocks the intake .
The best sources of iodine happen to be some of the most controversial food because they’re either contaminated with mercury and other nasties (sea vegetables and seafood) or the proteins have been pasteurized (milk and dairy). Scallops, cod, shrimp, and salmon are on the list , but should all be avoided today. The one exception is sardines, which have very little mercury due to their small size. Dr L Wilson suggests 3-4 cans of sardines each week. Not only do they have almost a quarter of the daily recommended value of iodine in 190 calories, but they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (#5 on this list), and a good amount of vitamin D3.
I get my sardines from VitalChoice.com, who have had sales in the past on their cans of sardine filets (talking less than $2 each!). Find them here.
P.S. If you’re still worried about the mercury content in seafood, there’s an interesting article published at NaturalNews explaining which foods you can eat that blocks most dietary mercury from being absorbed. These include peanut butter, strawberries, and hemp protein. Some of these, however, are problematic. Peanut butter is notorious for levels of aflatoxin (a mold), while strawberries (a fruit) shouldn’t be eaten with animal protein if you’re following proper food combining. To “hack” this (while only a theory), you could alternatively use sprouted almond butter. Almond butter has less an issue with aflatoxins, and most of the phytic acid is removed when they’re sprouted.
2. Magnesium. One of the best articles I’ve found on this subject is the one written by Dr Sircus. He says that it’s more important to the body than sodium, potassium, or calcium! Him and Carolyn Dean are both big supporters of magnesium and its critical need in today’s society. The biggest reason for this magnesium deficiency is due to our soils being depleted of it. This wasn’t as big of a problem 5o-100 years ago. So, the foods most known for being great sources of magnesium (spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, etc), may or may not have the magnesium we’re looking for depending on the amount of available magnesium in the soil it was grown in.
This is a super difficult mineral to test accurately for. Why? Your blood always strives to maintain a stable level of magnesium. While your doctor tells you your magnesium is normal, that might not even be the case at all.
Although I support as little supplementation as possible (whole foods is the way you want to go), this might be a nutrient needed to supplement. Yet, if you want to stick with whole foods I would personally go with hemp seeds. You’re probably thinking, “Well, what about the problem of phytic acid in nuts and seeds?” True, but hemp seeds contain little or even no phytic acid! Not only do you get your magnesium from hemp seeds, but it’s also a good serving of zinc! For every 3 tablespoons (1 serving) of Nutiva hemp seeds, you get 50% of your recommended magnesium and 25% zinc!
Find the Nutiva hemp seeds at Amazon here.
If you’re still worried about the potential for very small amounts of THC in hemp seeds, dark leafy greens like spinach, turnip greens, and beet greens should be considered.
The direct antagonist to magnesium? Calcium. The more dairy and other calcium-rich foods you consume, the less magnesium you have to work with. That’s more reason for a Crohn’s patient to avoid or limit yogurt and dairy (particularly the variety that’s been pasteurized).
The other “good sources” of magnesium include many nuts like pumpkin seeds and almonds, but as mentioned before, they’re phytic acid content will prevent much of the magnesium from being absorbed.
1. Vitamin D. This is the vitamin I would first look at in a blood test. Personally, last winter my blood test came back as severely deficient in vitamin D (7.5 ng/mL when their “normal” is 20-50!) I live in Minnesota and most of that year I stayed indoors during the peak hours of sunlight. Lesson learned.
For most people in winter (if you live north of Atlanta, Georgia), it’s not possible to produce any vitamin D from November through February. Dr Michael F. Holick mentions this. While I got my vitamin D level back to 20 ng/mL in my follow-up blood test a few months later, it was considered “normal”. In this Dr Mercola paper interviewing Dr Holick, the optimal level is 50-70 ng/mL!
I would never rely on food to cover your vitamin D needs, there’s no where near enough in fish even (unless you want to consume a good share of mercury..). You’re either going to have to supplement or take a few trips down south during the winter and soak in some sun. And if your job keeps you indoors during the sun’s peak hours (10-3pm approximately), then find another job! The 9am-5pm norm in today’s working class is not helping matters.
But here’s the kicker. If you find your vitamin D stores are low, and you start synthesizing more of the hormone with either sunlight or supplements, you might find yourself with symptoms of magnesium deficiency. That’s what happened with me. As I’d fall asleep, my body would jerk and I’d suddenly wake up. Your body uses up magnesium to make vitamin D.
Most of us today are deficient in vitamin D and magnesium.