It’s always important to fuel your body with nutrition, and this is even more critical if you live with chronic illness. For me specifically dealing with endometriosis means avoiding inflammatory foods and being cautious of foods that are very acidic. When we are faced with a cold, many of us go to orange juice for vitamin C or a warming soup for comfort. But what can we do to help our bodies cope with these long-term illnesses?
Chances are, if you’ve been diagnosed with a long-term illness, you’ve been to a many a doctors (and it sucks). Maybe you were given instructions on specific rules of diet or a giant list of medical drugs. These next 7 points are general suggestions (that I’ve personally found helpful) to boost your nutrition intake and your immune system.
- If you feel up to it, eat well-balanced regular meals. Regular being the key, at least 3 meals a day or more smaller meals through out the day. Your body needs as much as help as it can get – try to make the most of every meal.
- If you feel too ill to eat meals, try to take in small amounts (such as fruit or a veggie stew) over the course of the day. Remember to vary the foods you eat, to give your body different types of nutrition.
- Cook ahead. If you experience good days and bad days, prepare extra food on days when you do cook, and then freeze some for the times when you can’t prepare a meal.
- Keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit and vegetables for the times you can’t make it to the grocery store for fresh produce. Or enlist friends and family to help you keep your fridge and freezer filled with groceries or prepared meals. Many grocery delivery options also exist (Grocery Gateway, Fresh City Farms) Find out what’s available in your area.
- Know what foods you should (and shouldn’t) eat for your condition. As I mentioned above, those who have health issues around inflammation should probably avoid foods high in sugars and those with soy. This may require you to do some additional research. Consult your doctor for specific advice.
- Keep an eye on your weight. If you’re having trouble eating, you may begin to lose weight. Find out what body weight you should maintain and see your doctor if you’re having problems.
- Take care in the kitchen. If your body is already weakened, one of the last things you need is a foodborne illness! Always wash your hands before and after handling food, and make sure you prepare and store food safely.
I hope you find some of the points helpful, and don’t get discouraged if you’re not able to follow these all the time. They are just suggestions and guidelines to help you be the best you can be, as often as possible.
**Make sure you still follow your doctor’s advice regarding diet. If you haven’t been given any specific information regarding diet and your particular condition, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to help or may put you in touch with a dietician, nutritionist or even naturopathic doctor.