“Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s immune response.
Acute inflammation is good. It is caused by conditions such as a cut, bronchitis, a stubbed toe, broken bone, the flu, etc. It is your body mounting an attack against something that shouldn’t be there. When it’s gone, the inflammation subsides.
Chronic inflammation is bad (aka systemic or silent inflammation). This is inflammation that doesn’t go away. Your body can’t turn it off. Chronic inflammation is also referred to as a silent killer. (click for more on this)
There are many causes of chronic inflammation. It can result from lingering acute inflammation, persistent chronic irritants, an autoimmune response to self, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress, poor sleep quality, food allergies, hidden infections and toxins such as chemicals, smoking and alcohol.
Many chronic conditions are caused, advanced or exacerbated by chronic inflammation.
- several types of cancer
- chronic pain
- thyroid issues
- heart disease
- autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, RA, ankylosing spondylitis
- aggressive behavior
- various neurological issues
- and many more
If you suffer chronic pain or illness, inflammatory foods will make it worse. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from an unhealthy food, many healthy foods can cause inflammation as well.
Some of these items below are unhealthy for everyone and should be removed from your diet regardless such as processed foods, sugar, pesticides, etc.
Other foods are “healthy” choices. However they may cause problems for some people and those people should consider removing them such as nightshades or other foods you may be sensitive to. It is really a trial and error process. Take it out and watch for any improvement. Remember though, you might be sitting on more than one tack.
This process takes time. It is not a quick fix. I already have made many of these changes, but there are still areas I can improve upon to see if it improves any health issues such as arthritis in my spine and shoulder. For some changes, improvement will happen quickly, with others it may take a few weeks. Don’t rush it.
FOODS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO INFLAMMATION
❌ Foods that are processed, adulterated or refined. They have a host of undesirable ingredients added. Often the beneficial nutrients have been stripped out. (click for more on additives)
❌Foods that have been processed for a very long shelf life due to preservatives, additives and stabilizers.
❌Dairy– especially low fat- dairy can also contain hormones and antibiotics.
❌ Sugar– including drinks (click for more)
❌Refined grains– (that’s the white stuff) Healthy components have been striped out.
❌Grain-fed meat – these animals are generally less healthy due to confinement and are prone to be given antibiotics, hormones and other drugs. Meat is also higher in omega 6. Grass fed meat is higher in omega 3.
❌Processed meats, hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts, sausages
❌Too many Tropical fruits– higher fructose (natural). These are nutritious, but limit the amount. Banana, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, etc.
❌Trans fats– hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils- margarine, shortening products made with them (many baked goods) , cool whip, etc. (click for more)
❌Oils for deep frying.
❌Omega 6 fats click here
❌Proteins- gluten and casein– found in dairy and grains. Gluten and casein are highly inflammatory in many people. It’s not just the lactose. Gluten and casein are the two hardest proteins for the body to digest. (click for more)
❌Aspartame– a neurotoxin, affects the brain, which triggers an inflammatory response. This goes for some other artificial sweeteners as well.
❌ Fried foods– chips, fries, onion rings, fried chicken, etc
❌Foods high in pesticides– see the dirty dozen. (click to see 2017 list)
❌Saturated fats in combination with low levels of omega 3 and high levels of carbs.
❌Nightshade family- peppers, eggplant, white potatoes and tomatoes. Many people react to these foods, especially those with arthritis. (click for more on arthritis)
❌Peanuts– prone to mold and fungus. Organic Valencia peanuts less prone to fungus.
❌Corn– corn is in everything. Vitamin C supplements are even made from corn.
❌Any food you are sensitive too. You develop sensitivities over time. It is likely to be a food you eat often. Avoid everything with that food(s) for two weeks,(some foods require longer time to leave your system) then reintroduce it and see how your body reacts.
❌ Stress– not a food, but a trigger. It releases cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones.
❌Lack of sleep (click for importance of sleep)
❌ Conventional body care products that are high in DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate
❌Couch-potato lifestyle (click for more)
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
✅Get back to real food, food that hasn’t been changed in some way.
✅Omega 3– from oily fish (wild caught, cold water) or supplements, flaxseed, chia seeds.
✅Whole grains– although many experts say you should avoid all grains. There are many other sources to get your fiber and other nutrients. Consider being grain free for a period of time.
✅Dark leafy greens– good source of vitamin E and other nutrients
✅Eat foods high in antioxidants. (click for more)
✅Nuts– especially almonds and walnuts
✅Have adequate vitamin D levels. (click for more)
✅Peppers– hot peppers have capsaicin which is beneficial for pain reduction. First, be sure you don’t react to nightshades.
✅Colorful vegetables– 9 servings a day
✅Spices– ginger and turmeric- Shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Add to your cooking. Other helpful spices are cinnamon, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
✅Dark colored berries– red raspberries and blue berries especially. Strawberries as well, all have anti inflammatory properties.
✅Tart cherries– highest anti- inflammatory content of any food. Recommended for Gout.
✅Keep well hydrated – so your joints are hydrated as well.
✅Increase fiber to 25-50 gms per day (most effective from whole foods).
✅Studies show inflammatory markers drop with weight loss. Lower inflammation makes it easier to lose weight. They benefit each other.
Do you suffer from inflammation?
Have you made any changes that have helped?
What have you done that has helped?