Health Freedom Resources
Dietary Source of Inflammation & Top Ways to Reduce It
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is an immune response the body makes to come to the aid of any injury to its tissues. When there is an acute injury, first there is swelling to prevent movement of any toxins to the rest of the body along with redness, pain and heat. The heat brings increased circulation, with white blood cells rushing to protect the area and remove debris and/or invading pathogens, and promote the healing process.
However, chronic inflammation caused by repeated injury, including from poor dietary and lifestyle choices, results in chronic stress without any chance to stop the immune response. Then drugs of any type may seem like a solution. However, there are other possible answers.
An emerging key factor in chronic inflammation is diet. We know there are many foods that produce an inflammatory response, as well as a variety of other foods that can reduce inflammation. Knowing how to avoid the inflammatory foods, as well as how to combine the anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet can make life a lot easier, more comfortable and healthier.
For example, even though they tend to be inflammatory, you can still have pasture-raised eggs or a burger, as long as they are organically raised grass fed, which means this provides a larger amount of Omega 3 fats, making it less inflammatory. Also substitute for other inflammatory items that go with the burger: bread is high in inflammation-causing properties, so you should forgo the bun altogether. You could get your burger wrapped in lettuce instead, a variation that some restaurants are offering these days. Instead of fries which are cooked in highly heated oils creating transfats, choose a salad or a steamed vegetable. The lettuce and vegetables in the salad or on the burger can help combat the slightly inflammatory properties of even organic, grass-fed beef. If the restaurant offers alternatives such as a sweet potato instead of french fries, that can help promote a better balance, too.
But there are many types of foods that are highly inflammatory without any redeeming nutritional content! These are especially processed foods, wheat flour bread products, sugar and altered, oxidized or rancid fats (trans fats Ė fats exposed to high heat) and vegetable oils with excessive Omega-6s.
Here is a list of some foods and where they are on the inflamtion scale.
Foods High in Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
Lemons, watermelon and other melons, cayenne, garlic, ginger, raspberry leaf, rosehip, dandelion, onions, nettle, parsley and other green herbs, green leafy vegetables, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, aloe vera (the gel)
Foods With Moderate Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, dulse, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seed, black seeds (Nigella Sativa), cardamom, cinnamon, juniper berry, blueberries, licorice, maca, cacao, organic soy-miso, beans, egg yolks
Moderately Inflammatory Foods:
Banana, corn, plantain, barley seeds, brown rice, buckwheat, bulghur, egg noodles, millet, polenta, rye, soba noodle, teff, wheat bran, whole wheat, wild rice, chemical-free pasture-raised beef and poultry, egg whites
Highly Inflammatory Foods:
Pork, processed meats, A1 homogenized milk, condensed sweetened milk, cream cheese, conventionally-raised (factory-farmed) chicken and eggs, processed vegetable oils (margarine, corn, sunflower, soybean, peanut, safflower), transfats (in most packaged baked goods,high-heat fried foods, fast foods), processed cereals, corn, cous cous, refined flour, glutinous white rice, jasmine rice, tapioca, wheat flour
Another key to reducing inflammation is healthy gut bacteria.
Your gut houses much of the immune system and healthy gut bacteria (probiotic population) are a large part of it, participating in protection and mobilization against invaders or imbalances in gut population. Healthy gut bacteria maintain the balance that protects the body from inflammation and toxins while unhealthy bacteria and fungus promote inflammation in the body, digestive discomfort and food allergies.
Probiotic that inhabit your gut love to eat fiber - both sluable and insoluable fiber, the kinds you don't digest fully. That enables them to live, to produce B vitamins in your gut to make you happy and healthy, and to help with the breakdown and assimilation of nutrients, and othe essential functions.Prebiotic foods are those that provide the fiber probiotics need to flourish, including: sweet potatoes, beets and other root vegetables, citrus, leeks, onions, flaxseed, apples, bananas, oats and other grains, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli and beans.
There are things can kill off your good gut baceteria: Processed foods, sugar, antibiotics and other medications, alcohol, environmental toxins, overgrowth of bad bacteria, parasites, low stomach acid, lack of necessary digestive enzymes and chronic stress can all work to undermine healthy gut bacteria and integrity of the intestinal wall. This can lead to issues such as inflammation in the gut and wider body, and and leaky gut.
The best way to maintain a healthy balance of beneficial gut bacteria is through healthier diet and lifestyle habits.
According to ND, Kathleen Cole, these include:
1. Consume an alkaline diet which is also an anti-inflammatory diet. A great ratio of alkaline to acid in your diet is 80/20. Having another easy reference chart such as the Alkaline/Acid Chart can further make it super easy to choose the right foods.
2. Eat a variety of fermented foods such as miso, saukraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, etc. and probiotic fiber-rich foods, which feed and support the gut bacteria, as people around the world did with traditional diets. These provide natural probiotics and their natural food to keep healthy gut bacteria replenished and flourishing. You can also supplement from time to time with Probiotics capsules to get additional support
3. Reduce your exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, parasites and environmental toxins as much as possible. One example of how to reduce heavy metal intake is to eat only fish that is rated low in mercury content and donít eat fish as often. Avoid tobacco smoke, alcohol and over-prescription of medications.
Cleansing to detox your body of its accumulation can improve your health, including your microflora balance and immune response, helping beneficial bacteria to flourish and reducing pathogenic (naturally found in gut too) overgrowth.
4. Avoid tap water, buy a faucet mount filter at minimum and whole house filter if possible. Chlorine and other chemicals added to the public water supply kills off good gut bacteria. Avoid most bottled waters as well since, unless it is from a verified and trusted source, most of these are barely better than tap water at best and sometimes actually are just bottled tap water!
5. Donít shy away from bitter foods. The typical American diet is extremely low in bitter tasting foods and many of us have learned to see it as a bad, undesirable flavor. However, bitter flavor is integral to healthy digestion. It helps ensure healthy levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and initiates the digestion process. Some examples of bitter herbs include dandelion, artichoke, and ginger....
In addtition, you may have to avoid foods you are already sensitive to for a while, until inflammation subsides and you can start eating a wider variety of foods. This is called an elmination diet. More on that later.
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