Chronic Inflammation can lead to chronic disease.
Learn how to reduce inflammation by changing your diet.
On-going and un-regulated inflammation is one of the primary causes of chronic disease. When our body is under constant stress, inflammation increases. When it comes to our diet, there is a lot we can do to affect the level of inflammation in our body. Certain foods have a tendency to contribute to inflammation, others are considered beneficial by way of providing the body with essential vitamins and minerals, and some special edibles actually help reduce inflammation as they contain phytochemicals. These nutrients down regulate inflammatory markers, as well as upregulate anti-inflammatory markers in the prostaglandin pathway.
Foods that tend to promote inflammation include:
- sugars (sucrose, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, etc.);
- wheat flour (bread, muffins, bagels, cake, cookies, pasta, etc.);
- fried foods and trans fats (margarine, hydrogenated oil, shortening);
- junk food and fast food (pretzels, chips, beef jerky, french fries);
- most polyunsaturated oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, and others); and poor quality meats.
If you experience chronic pain, it is worth avoiding these foods.
Also, go easy on dairy products, poultry, and red meat. These foods are higher in arachidonic acid which is a pro-inflammatory pathway in the body. For those who tolerate dairy well, it is best to buy organic when possible and at the very least dairy with no added hormones, as these hormones affect our body. Look for labels which read rBGH free.
With red meat, wild game such as venison, elk, bison, rabbit AND grass fed beef all tend to be less problematic than farmed meat. Red meat from grass fed animals is significantly better than grain fed. The grass fed version is higher in omega-3 fats (similar to wild caught fatty fish), whereas grain fed is high in omega-6 (more inflammatory) and has a higher calorie count per ounce. Beyond quality, looking at quantity is also helpful in reducing our body burden of inflammation. A 3-4 ounce size portion is really all you need at a meal.
What kind of diet can reduce inflammation?
Foods that reduce inflammation do so by adding nutrients to the body and are almost always vegetables. The key to the vegetable choice is the form they come in. Most canned and preserved veggies can contribute to the inflammatory process (devoid of nutrients and high in preservatives). Whereas fresh organic lightly steamed vegetables (fresh or frozen) are well tolerated by most individuals. Brightly colored as well as deep green fruits and vegetables are rich in pigments and nutrients that have a host of beneficial properties, including promoting cell repair and alleviating inflammation.
Some people have sensitivities to vegetables in the Nightshade family.
- About 8-10% of individuals with chronic joint pain are sensitive to Nightshades, and the elimination of these plants from their diet can reduce their pain levels significantly. Editable plants in the nightshade family are: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, wolfberries [“goji” berries], gooseberries, tomatillos, and paprika.
Foods that are beneficial at reducing inflammation include many spices due to their phytochemical content. These phytochemicals help to provide necessary antioxidants, down regulate inflammatory markers and push pathways that are anti-inflammatory in the body. Many of these are in your spice cabinet/drawer: turmeric, rosemary, ginger, basil, cloves, cilantro, and oregano. Turmeric and ginger are especially powerful in this regard.
Omega-3 fats are known to reduce inflammation and these include ground flax seed, walnuts, oily fish like salmon, sardines, and halibut; and other good fats, such as avocado, coconut, hemp seed, chia seed, and pumpkin seed. Fish oil, in particular, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that benefits many kinds of pain.
Help your body stay healthy. Change your diet to one which reduces inflammation.
Your Wellness Expert,