Ask the Guyatitian: Nutrition for Raynauds

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Ask The Guyatitian, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Dear Guyatitian:

Thank you for your response about my husband’s health scare (boy, was it scary).  He is doing GREAT now and his liver enzyme numbers continue to trend in the right direction.  Wheat grass juice, lots of asparagus, avocado, spinach, broccoli, every kind of lettuce imaginable are very often on his plate (the wheat grass juice goes into a mug with green tea!).  I truly appreciate your very helpful response!

Now I’m writing about a friend’s daughter.  She was adopted from China as a baby and now, as a teen, is experiencing some rheumatological issues, one of which is Raynaud’s and the other could be Lupus.  Are there suggestions you might have for us this time, too??

Ohio Fan

Dear Ohio Fan:

I’m so thrilled that my advice helped your husband – sounds like you are on the right path!

I’m very sorry to hear about your friend’s daughter. Regarding what nutrition advice I can offer, I would suggest that your friend bring their daughter to see a registered dietitian who specializes in autoimmune and possibly connective tissue disorders. You can find a registered dietitian in their area by visiting www.eatright.org. With that being said, here are some dietary suggestions for considertaion as a launch point.

Raynaud’s is a disorder of small blood vessels that feed the skin. Quite often “attacks” can be triggered by cold exposure and stress. There are a variety of possible causes but to date, doctors are not fully aware of why Raynaud’s occurs. Raynaud’s is more common in woman than in men but the onset most often occurs later on in life –  in their 40’s or older.  But Raynaud’s can also arise as a secondary development to conditions such as scleroderma and/or lupus, for example. Medications are often prescribed that help dilate the blood vessels which improves circulation.

In my book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, I have a section on healing foods that may help promote circulation and improve cold feet and hands. These include foods that are rich in the amino acid arginine which helps produce nitric oxide – a vasodialator   – that promotes circulation. Those foods include:

  • Peanuts (unless allergic to them)
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Dairy products
  • Lean meat
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackeral
  • Chickpeas

I’m not sure what blood tests the teenager has had so far but I have found girls/women with iron deficiency often suffer from cold hands and feet. They may benefit from taking a good multi-vitamin with iron and concentrate on iron-rich foods such as:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Dried fruits
  • Red meat
  • Beans
  • Whole eggs
  • Dark leafy greens

Green tea, berries and chocolate contain plant nutrients called polyphenols that promote circulation, too. Lastly, an overall diet that is low in saturated and transfat also promotes blood flow and avoidng stress (rolls off the lips easily but not always easily done) and temperature extremes has been shown to keep Raynauds attacks at bay.

Good luck to your friend’s daughter – I wish her the best of health!

The Guyatitian

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