Today, I want to tell you about a “diet” that is probably unlike any you’ve tried before. In fact, it isn’t really a diet at all. It is a unique way of eating that can be applied to your current eating plan.
And the benefits can be substantial, including an increase in the variety of foods you eat and a more balanced immune system. It can also reduce the risk of allergies and food intolerances… and alleviate the symptoms of these issues if you’re already suffering.
I am talking about a “rotation diet” – a way of eating that can be as simple as consciously rotating the foods you eat on a four-day cycle (taking care not to eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch or dinner during that four-day cycle).
So, let’s consider the many benefits this way of eating can provide…
Top 5 Health Benefits of a Rotation Diet
Helps Identify Problem Foods
An estimated one-fifth of the population reports that they have adverse reactions to certain foods.[i] Unfortunately, however, conventional testing methods to identify these individual foods can be inaccurate and expensive.
But the rotation diet can be an accurate way to identify foods that may cause allergic, inflammatory or autoimmune reaction (and it doesn’t cost a thing).
Many of us are accustomed to dealing with regular discomfort, including headaches, stomach pain, fatigue, brain fog and joint pain. These symptoms can be so common that we don’t realize they may be linked to our intake of certain foods.
By systematically rotating the foods in your diet, it becomes much easier to identify which specific foods are causing problems for you.
Allows Immune System Recovery
If you don’t know which foods cause a reaction in your body, you may continue to consume foods to which you are sensitive. As a result, your immune system goes on the alert every time you consume these foods. Eventually this can cause your stimulated immune system to attack your own healthy tissues and cells. The end result could be a debilitating autoimmune disease.[ii]
A rotation diet gives your body a break from this constant battle. It allows time for your immune system to recover. This can help calm your over-worked immune system, while mitigating food allergies and intolerances. At the same time (as stated above) it can help you identify which foods are causing a reaction, so that you can reduce or eliminate these foods from your diet.
Reduces Development of New Allergies
Leaky gut syndrome is at the root of many of our modern health problems. Yet this condition is often overlooked by physicians.
When you have a leaky gut, the lining of your intestines has microscopic “holes” which allow undigested food particles and bacteria to leak into your bloodstream. Your immune system recognizes these as “foreign invaders” and mounts an attack.[iii]
This constant state of readiness taxes your immune system. As this continues for months or even years, your immune system can become highly sensitive. It can become so hypervigilant that everything is treated as a potential threat. In this state, you can easily develop allergies and intolerances to nearly anything (especially gluten, casein, dairy, corn, soy and nuts).
Leaky gut can also cause the immune system to become so over-stimulated that you may develop multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), as well as hives, rashes, eczema or psoriasis.
A rotation diet reduces exposure to problem foods until you can pinpoint the foods to which you are reacting. It can also reduce systemic inflammation and give your damaged gut time to heal.
Encourages Dietary Diversity
It can be very easy to fall into a pattern where we eat the same foods day after day. Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for poor health, allergies and intolerances.
Dietary diversity is critical to your health. Not only does it ensure you get a broad spectrum of micronutrients, it may help you live longer.
From a study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology:
“Women who reported regularly consuming 16-17 healthy foods had a 42% lower all-cause mortality […] compared to women reporting consumption of 0-8 healthy foods with any regularity.”[iv]
That’s a 42 percent decrease in the risk of death from all known medical causes just by eating a variety of healthy foods… and this was a study of over 59,000 women!
These results show just how important dietary diversity is. It also means that limiting your intake of inflammatory foods is only half the solution to good health. Eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and clean protein is the other half of the equation.
Limits the Tendency to Overindulge as Compensation
When we limit ourselves to strict diets, our food cravings heighten. This can cause you to overindulge in a certain food or food group to compensate for the feeling of loss. This can cause allergies, intolerances and autoimmune conditions to worsen.
With the rotation diet, you consistently consume a variety of new foods, so cravings and feelings of deprivation become a thing of the past.
I hope this article has illustrated the benefits of dietary diversity and how important it is to vary the foods you eat each day. In Part II of this article, you will learn about the many conditions that a rotation diet can help to improve.
You will also discover helpful meal planning tools to get you started on a rotation diet that works for you. So, please stay tuned…
Have you ever tried a rotation diet? If so, what was your experience?
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[i] Turnbull JL1, Adams HN, Gorard DA.Review article: the diagnosis and management of food allergy and food intolerances.Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Jan;41(1):3-25. doi: 10.1111/apt.12984. Epub 2014 Oct 14.
[ii] Kitts D1, Yuan Y, Joneja J, Scott F, Szilagyi A, Amiot J, Zarkadas M.Adverse reactions to food constituents: allergy, intolerance, and autoimmunity.Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;75(4):241-54.
[iii] Sturgeon C1, Fasano A2.Zonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases.Tissue Barriers. 2016 Oct 21;4(4):e1251384. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2016.1251384. eCollection 2016.
[iv] Michels KB, Wolk A. A prospective study of variety of healthy foods and mortality in women. Int J Epidemiol. 2002;31(4):847-54.