Athletes using food to treat chronic conditions


by Brandy Aguilar, Special projects

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 12 at 9:56 AM

PHOENIX -- Looking like a professional athlete may be as simple as eating like one.

Inflammation, skin eruptions, depression and foggy thinking is what Sam Brant said she had been suffering with for a while. So rather than pop pills to treat those issues, Brant did what professional athletes like Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks did, they all took a closer look at their diet.

“We didn't want to take pills and we didn't want to treat symptoms, we wanted to get into the cause,” Brant said.

All three took what's called a food sensitivity test, which was recently featured in Sports Illustrated. Dr. Suneil Jain, a local naturopathic doctor, uses the test to help professional athletes and others figure out how food may be triggering chronic conditions like migraines, digestion issues, even fatigue.

“It's not really a diet,” Jain said. “You’re basically finding out what foods are bothering you.”

The test analyzes your blood and is searching for hundreds of different types of food.

“Depending on what those lists come back as, I have them eliminate the food from the diet anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks and then upon that time we will introduce the foods once a week to see how the person feels,” Jain said.

“Some top ones I would say are gluten,” he continued. “We've got soy, corn, sugar, dairy, but it could be anything.”

Brant wasn't sure what to expect when she got her results

“I was totally shocked. It was all the things that I had been eating and I thought were really great like olive oil, blueberries, cherries, cauliflower and broccoli,” she continued. “These were things I just survived on.”

Brant took the test a year ago and has been able to bring back a lot of the foods she had to eliminate.

“I immediately dropped weight,” Brant said. “The energy and our skin and the way we feel, it's like a miracle almost.”
Jain said it's also important to switch up your foods. Eating the same thing over and over again can cause your body to develop food sensitivities.

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