(Along with most of you, I have enjoyed the weekly newsletter from Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet”. His books, papers and scientific studies have benefited all adding to our ongoing body of knowledge. The world is richer because of his efforts, style and generosity.
My understanding of the recent changes to be only temporary were apparently incorrect and tho we all have profited from the wonderful papers of this last month or so – – I want to suggest that those of you who value Dr Cordain’s writings, go directly to his “blog” which appears to be what he is offering now. Just go there, sign up – its easy. All the previous articles we have will remain archived and available to you under the “Paleo Diet” Jan)
The Paleo Diet and Crohn’s Disease
Q: Can you comment on any reported results in curbing the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease with the Paleo Diet. As I am a sufferer, I would love to know.
A: Dear Shannon,
Indeed, inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s Disease) patients usually do very well with The Paleo Diet, as nutrients are one of the main environmental triggers of this condition. Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mounts an attack against its own tissues – in this case the cells lining the intestine.
For an autoimmune disease to occur we need a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger. The genetic predisposition depends on genes coding for the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system. One of the environmental triggers may be nutrition, besides infections, geography (vitamin D deficiency), physical trauma or vaccination.
One of the key points in this process is increased intestinal permeability. This means that the gut barrier allows increased passage of bacterial or food proteins (antigens) into peripheral circulation, skipping a process known as oral tolerance. Once antigens come in contact with the immune system located in the gut associated lymphoid tissue, they may elicit a T-cell mediated immune response against those antigens.
If the molecular structure of the dietary or bacterial antigens is similar to that of the HLA system (part of the immune system representing cellular mechanisms), chances are that a cross reaction between foreign antigens and self antigens (produced by T-cells) occur. This is termed molecular mimicry, and leads to self injury by the adaptive immune system.
Hence, decreasing intestinal permeability is one of the treatment targets. There are several nutrients known to increase intestinal permeability that you may want to avoid, at least until symptoms subside. Here is a list, with the noxious substances in parentheses:
- Cereal grains (lectins and gliadin)
- Legumes, including soya and peanuts (lectins and saponins)
- Tomato (tomato lectin and alpha-tomatin)
- Potato (lectins and saponins)
- Chili (capsaicin)
- Quillaja (foaming substance)
- Quinoa (saponins)
- Egg white (lysozyme)
- Alfalfa sprouts (saponins)
- Amaranth (saponins)
Moreover, some nutrients exert an adjuvant-like activity (they stimulate the immune system), which is something you don’t want to if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease. Nutrients containing adjuvants:
- Quillaja extract, found in root beer
- Tomato alpha-tomatine
Dairy products and vegetable oils also have deleterious effects upon your immune system.
I hope this helps.
Recipe of the Week: Spicy Tilapia
As much as I love Salmon, and joke that I could live on this fish, some raw kale and avocado alone, it’s always good to keep the diet balanced and opt for other types of fish.
Tilapia is a great choice- low in calories, total fat, sodium and Mercury, it’s also a great source of Phosphorus, Niacin, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Potassium.
Their mild flavor imparts them to be prepared in many different ways. In addition, their delicate, flaky constitution allows them to take a marinade, and cook quite quickly.
Yesterday, I prepared a marinade of lime juice, no-salt-added Cajun spices, fresh cilantro and some fresh garlic and whizzed it in the mini food processor (reminder- this is a must have, at only $30!). I let the fillets sit in the fridge for just over an hour before allowing them to come to room temp for about 30′ while I prepared my salad and cut up some chard to saute with garlic, shallots & olive oil. A mere 10 minutes before I wanted to serve dinner, I put the fish under the broiler for 5′ on each side as my chard quickly cooked. I plated the fish by first serving a bed of the lovely greens, followed by a healthy dose of my signature green salad, and finally two small fillets on each plate and a strip of lime and a sprig of cilantro.
Eating is a multi-sensory experience, and as such, I feel quite strongly about the importance of presentation.
Make it not only taste wonderful, but also let it appear beautiful as well. Then, have a seat and enjoy your
meal properly! Even better, share it with your spouse or kids… Enjoy!