Could you be unknowingly poisoning yourself?
It might sound like an odd question to ask as none of us would ever want to intentionally harm ourselves, however, I remember back in my early 20’s when I was new to shift work (and eating crap food) – I went from being quite lean to becoming quite puffy.
By some miracle, I didn’t really gain much weight, but my face and hands became swollen and I was always bloated.
What I didn’t realise at the time, was that I was slowly poisoning myself by eating toxic foods containing refined sugars and inflammatory fats that were leading to systemic inflammation.
Besides sapping our energy, chronic low-level inflammation can damage blood vessels, weaken our muscles and cause absolute havoc on our hormones!
Ouch! As if shift work isn’t hard enough?!
Short-term that’s no big deal, but when it’s happening over a long period of time (as in years of eating highly refined and processed foods), the long-term side effects can be severe, and in many cases, irreversible.
It’s important to understand that when anything unnatural enters the body, it will instinctively raise a red flag because it assumes that it’s a threat. It’s a foreign invader that needs to be broken down and destroyed.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates, in particular, comprising of most things contained in a bag, box or can – sparks inflammation by deregulating glucose and insulin levels, leading to oxidative stress.
Quite simply, they are THE most inflammatory foods you can eat … however shift workers are some of their biggest consumers thanks to the sugar-craving effects of lack of sleep!
Switching to more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds & legumes which contain hunger-satisfying minerals and fibre will help to reduce inflammation by supporting a healthy gut microbiome. This is because microbes in the gut produce short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFA’s) such as butyrate which help to calm the immune system and make it less reactive.
Something I wish someone had told me when I first signed up to shift work all those years ago!
P.S: Vegetable Rice-Paper Rolls topped with hemp seeds and satay sauce are a great anti-inflammatory meal option as they are rich in dietary fibre + minerals that will help to stave off sugar cravings too.