Nutritional Excellence vs. Menstrual Complaints and Irritable Bowels
Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:
Other conditions that also respond exceptionally well to dietary modification include menstrual complaints and irritable bowel syndrome.
Researchers testing similar diets to the one I recommend have noted that a low-fat vegetarian diet increases sex-hormone-binding globulin as it reduces estrogen activity.1 This not only reduces one's risk of breast cancer but also significantly reduces the pain and bloating associated with menstruation.
I also see a large number of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Some feel better within three days of following this diet, although others take a few weeks or longer to adjust to the comparatively large amount of fiber. Both animal products and flour products are triggers for bowel symptoms in many individuals.2 British researchers have documented that increased production of methane and other gaseous products representing increased fermentation in the colon from meats, dairy products, and refined grains correlate with bowel complaints. However, there are other mechanism by which a natural-food diet high in nutrients and fiber reestablishes normal gut motility and tone. It can take time to undo a lifetime of wrong eating; most of my patients need three months to see improvement. Of course, sometimes diets have to be modified for individual uniqueness. In such cases, working with a knowledgeable physician is helpful.
Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are not primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequences of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these weak links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our Predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.
Certainly, this method of health is not for everybody. Some would prefer to eat conventionally and take whatever medication is indicated for their condition. That is their inalienable right. However, it is also the right of sick and suffering individuals who seek a natural approach to be aware of how effective aggressive nutritional interventions can be. I would like to take these patients down the streets of Manhattan for a ticker-tape parade to spread the word--you don't have to be sick. Remember, health is your greatest wealth!
1. Barnard, N.D., A. R. Scialli, D. Hurlock, and P. Berton. 2000. Diet and sex-hormone binding globulin, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual symptoms. Obstet. Gynecol. 92 (2): 245-50.
2. King, T.S., M. Elia, and J.O. Hunter. 1998. Abnormal colonic fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome. Lancet 352 (9135): 1187-89.