"My relationship with food has always been a key component of my identity," writes Seamus Mullen, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and longtime sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis. Mullen essentially cured himself of this autoimmune disease after realizing the power of diet in improving a person's overall health—an experience he chronicles in his new book, Real Food Heals.
"I realized that my poor health was directly linked to my carb- and sugar-driven diet," he shares on Mindbodygreen. "Since then, not only have I avoided the emergency room—I've shocked doctors and everyone who knows me with my great health. At every checkup, the biomarkers of my disease are now nonexistent." Below, read up on the foods he considers to have "truly turned [his] life around," and why you should incorporate them into your diet:
Coconut: "I use coconut constantly in my cooking in its various forms, from unsweetened desiccated coconut to coconut oil and coconut cream," he shares. "Coconut oil is a great replacement for highly inflammatory cooking oils like canola and corn oil, which can damage cells, especially in those with autoimmune disease."
Avocado. Now a staple in any healthy diet, avocados are "one of the healthiest foods we can eat, thanks to their high nutrient value. They’re also dense with good fats, fiber, and potassium, while low in carbs, cholesterol, and sodium."
Asparagus: This spring vegetable is a solid source of fiber, folate, vitamin A and C, and prebiotics, which "promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines," he writes. It's "a rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and free radicals, which helps fight against cancer and inflammation."
Eggs: Despite some skepticism in the health community, Mullen believes that "eggs are a miracle food. … The protein and good fats in eggs make them a filling and satisfying way to get your daily zinc; iron; and vitamins A, D, E, and K."
Oily fish: Filled with omega-3 fatty acids, "Oily fish like anchovies, sardines, and mackerel … are a powerhouse," he writes. They reportedly help lower blood pressure, prevent fat buildup in the arteries, and reduce joint pain.