I was just turning fifteen years old and an eating disorder was killing me. I had gone into heart failure as a complication, and my life was slipping from me while my parents and younger siblings watched. Their hearts were breaking. And so was mine; my heart was literally broken. Heart. Failure.
Disordered eating is not only hard on your body for lack of energy and nutrients, but also because of its dis-associative nature. You can’t be fully “in your body” while you are completely out of touch with her; totally rejecting her physical needs. It’s an insidious form of self-neglect.
I was going to die. But, I didn’t. And it wasn’t the doctors that healed me.
It was nonsense. Non. Sense. Out of touch with perception and the senses.
By neglecting my body, I was not in communication with the many senses my body uses to perceive local and non local information from others and the world around me.
In a sense, it was a state of whole body deafness and blindness.
People love to ask for the details of my sudden healing
People love to ask for the details of my sudden healing that some refer to as a near death experience. But that’s not the point.
Leaving my body wasn’t what mattered, It was the coming back into it that transformed me.
It was the return to my body in such a complete and profound way that led to a heightened sensitivity to my senses and caused me to be a lifelong student of healing, self knowledge and intuition.
Intuition is a natural function of being human, but many of us have lost our way.
I have learned, studied, developed and tested ways to strengthen intuition
I have learned, studied, developed and tested ways you can strengthen your intuition as well as the known and largely unknown faculties of perception you have. And, nutrition is just a very small part of it. I’d like to share just some of what I’ve discovered, as there is much much more!
We all know that eating right is vital for overall health and wellness.
Were you aware that what we eat can also influence our intuition?
Just as eating certain foods can either hinder or help your health, there are certain foods that can impede or expand your intuitive ability.
Foods to Help Strengthen Your Intuition
Ever heard the saying “you are what you eat?” There’s big truth there.
Our diet not only dictates our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well. Body, mind, and soul are all intimately connected, and what we put in our bodies speaks volumes of the way we interact with the world around us.
Remember, what we eat is our choice. And what we eat plays an integral role in the reality we experience.
There are foods that will help strengthen your intuition. Then there are foods that will weaken your intuition, leaving you disconnected from your true essence and the limitless being you truly are.
How Does Food Help Strengthen Intuition?
I’ve been talking a lot lately about interoception and the role it plays in intuition.
Interoception is the sense of the internal state of the body. It’s the process of how the brain receives and integrates signals that arise internally and is fundamental for maintaining specific homeostatic conditions such as thirst, hunger, pain perception, feeling tired, feeling hot or cold, and experiencing the need to use the bathroom.
A 2010 research article found that interoceptive accuracy regulates the extent to which bodily responses are related to emotional experience and intuitive decision making, offering proof that the body truly does offer feedback regarding the way we think and feel.
The process of interoception can easily become disturbed when we eat processed, unhealthy foods as it distorts the chemosensory process that aids in the interoceptive process.
Chemosensing in the gut has shown to fulfill a fundamental role in postprandial (occurring after a meal) physiology and orchestrates customized, multi-effector tailored responses to foods we ingest. Interoception is involved in several physiological systems, including our gastrointestinal system.
What we eat, truly has an impact on our interoceptive ability that can make or break our intuition.
Intuition Boosting Foods
Before we dive into the foods that will help strengthen your intuition, it’s important to remember that proper nutrition is individual to each of us. I was vegan for 7 years until my dietary needs changed and I began to eat more whole foods.
That being said, no single diet is right for everyone. Following are some of the foods I personally eat to strengthen my intuition by increasing my interoceptive ability.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid Containing Foods
Foods High in Alpha-Lipoic Acid:
- Pasture Raised Meat
- Organ Meat (Liver & Kidney)
How Alpha-Lipoic Acid Foods Help Increase Intuition
Alpha-lipoic acid is known to be a powerful antioxidant and plays a fundamental role in mitochondrial dehydrogenase reactions. It reacts with reactive oxygen species like superoxide radicals, hydroxyl radicals, peroxyl radicals, hypochlorous acid, and singlet oxygen.
It also helps to protect membranes through its interaction with vitamin C and glutathione, which is believed to recycle into vitamin E. The administration of alpha-lipoic acid has shown to be beneficial in several displays of oxidative stress including the formation of cataracts, diabetes, neurodegeneration, HIV activation, and radiation injury.
Research shows that alpha-lipoic acid can help improve neuron function, as well as neuron conduction in diabetes and is often taken for symptoms of diabetes related to nerve damage.
The antioxidant properties contained in alpha-lipoic acid can help improve interoception by helping to eliminate toxins and oxidative stress. It’s much easier to listen to the messages of our bodies when there isn’t toxicity coursing through our systems.
Foods Rich in Flavanol:
- Tea (particularly green, white, and oolong)
- Red Grapes
- Green and Red Veggies
How Flavanol-Rich Foods Help Strengthen Intuition
Foods rich in flavanol help strengthen intuition in a couple of ways.
For one, they’re known to enhance cortical blood flow to the brain. For another, they help increase hippocampal neurogenesis.
What exactly do both of these have to do with intuition? As it turns out, quite a bit.
Intuition and the Cerebral Cortex
The cortical brain (or cerebral cortex) is divided into 4 different lobes (frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital), each of which is responsible for processing various sensory information. The cerebral cortex is what governs cognitive logic, decision making, and creativity. It’s also believed to play a part in intuition.
A very precise part of the cerebral cortex associated with intuition is the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area that stores information about past rewards and punishments. A 2007 study found that damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex causes different thinking and decision-making than in individuals without damage to this area of the brain, which can cause the emotional responses people think of as gut feelings or intuitive insight.
What causes reduced blood flow to this area of the brain that plays a critical role in intuition?
Some risk factors are unavoidable…think sex, age, and family history.
Other reasons for restricted blood flow to the brain are completely avoidable, as they’ve everything to do with lifestyle habits. Some of these include: smoking, high blood pressure, inactivity, and obesity.
These lifestyle habits can be changed. Getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet that helps lower cholesterol levels are all key.
Intuition and the Hippocampus
Aside from the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus is also believed to play a role in intuition. It is, after all, involved in higher cognitive function, including the processing of both declarative and spatial relationship memories. The hippocampus also turns short-term memories into long-term memories.
The hippocampus is an extremely sensitive area in the brain, and there are a few things that can disrupt proper function.
Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and stress are all linked to decreased hippocampus size. Some research shows that the hippocampus can shrink up to 20 percent in people with depression.
A healthy hippocampus is fundamental for intuitive function. By stimulating hippocampus neurogenesis, we take a small (but vital) step in increasing our intuitionanddecreasing stress and depression.
Foods Rich in DHA:
- Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, herring)
- Hemp Seeds/Hemp Seed Oil
- Cod Liver Oil
How DHA-Rich Foods Help Strengthen Intuition
DHA is a crucial component of healthy brain development and function. Accumulation of DHA begins in the fetal brain mostly during the last trimester of pregnancy and continues at very high rates until around the age of 2.
The effects of DHA don’t just stop after early development. DHA is vital during childhood and into adulthood. It’s been suggested that DHA plays a large role in cognitive decline and several major psychiatric disorders.
In adults, DHA is necessary for normal brain function. Getting plentiful amounts of DHA in the diet has shown to improve learning ability, where low levels of DHA are associated with learning deficits. Cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease are both associated with decreased levels of DHA.
DHA is also critical for heart health, and the heart is a vital component of intuition. Studies have shown that there’s a strong correlation between fish consumption and reduction in sudden death from heart attack. Fish oil is known to decrease thrombosis and reduce triglycerides in the blood. And the association between DHA deficiency and depression is why there’s such a positive association between depression and heart attacks.
Research shows that DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as: hypertension, depression, heart attack, thrombosis, atherosclerosis, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, and arthritis.
Honestly, DHA is one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids that exists and is a vital structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. It’s also a key component of the heart. It’s no wonder that getting enough DHA helps improve interoceptive ability and can lead to increased intuition.
Foods Rich in Phosphatidylserine:
- Dark Meat Turkey and Chicken
- Pasture-Raised Beef
- Organ Meat (Liver & Kidney)
- Atlantic Mackerel
- White Beans
How Phosphatidylserine-Rich Foods Help Increase Intuition
Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance that covers and protects brain cells. It also helps carry messages between brain cells and is fundamental for keeping your brain-game strong. Think sharp mind and memory and you’ve got an idea of phosphatidylserine’s role.
When the human brain begins to age, it’s associated with biochemical alterations and deterioration that impair neurotransmission. In steps phosphatidylserine.
It crosses the blood-brain barrier and has shown to support several cognitive functions including: the formation of short-term memories, the ability to create new memories, memory retrieval, the ability to learn and remember information, concentration, focus, reasoning and problem solving, language skills, and communication ability.
Phosphatidylserine also supports locomotor functions, particularly rapid reactions and reflexes.
Because levels of this very important substance are believed to decline with age, it’s important to eat foods that are phosphatidylserine-rich. If you’re vegetarian, you might want to think about phosphatidylserine supplements as the foods it is found in are mainly meat-based.
When our brains are functioning at optimal levels, it’s easier for the body to send and receive signals from other parts of the body associated with both interoceptive ability and intuition (think the heart and gut).
Eating Your Way to Increased Intuition
Eating a diet full of foods known to help increase intuition is one of many steps you can take to begin to reclaim your intuitive ability. It’s all about eating the foods that make you feel good…and eliminating those that don’t.
Really want to increase your intuition by eating certain foods? You’ve first got to stop eating what’s responsible for decreasing your intuitive ability. Processed foods and sugar (click here to read how sugar is ruining your life) should be the first to go.
Then you can begin to incorporate some of the foods listed here that can help increase intuition. Avocado toast, berries, and green tea for breakfast will do a lot more for your intuition (and state of mind) than a scone, muffin, or bagel chased down by a cup of coffee.
Remember, it’s all about the little steps that contribute to the entire journey.
Interested in learning more about intuition?
Want to go deeper into harnessing the wisdom of your body so you can heal all areas of your life? Please join me on Facebook at Love is Medicine where we dive deep into the science of intuition and our relationships with both ourselves and others.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, which has been in print since 2005, and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry , join her Love is Medicine group to explore the convergence of love and health, and find more Love is Medicine podcast episodes here.