Foods To Fight Inflammation

June 1, 2011 / Posted by in Blog

Inflamation PreventionInflammation is linked to heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease

Inflammation is a generalized state within the circulatory and immune system perpetuated by poor diet.

We should call this diet-induced inflammation “dietary trauma,” as it leads to the development of biochemical changes similar to physical injury. The difference is that, for most people, dietary trauma occurs every time they eat, three or more times each day, every day.

The outcome of this inflammation is the dietary promotion of arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and most other chronic diseases.

In most cases the outcome of dietary trauma is not noticed for years.

It takes years to develop arthritis and other chronic diseases, so we don’t usually associate a poor diet with disease expression.

This years-long delay allows us to easily deny such an association between diet, inflammation and disease. Thus, developing an awareness or mindfulness about eating is very important to help influence a behavioral change in our eating habits.

Beware these foods that promote inflammation

The worst culprits are

  • Refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar, sweeteners, and flour
  • Refined oils
  • Fatty meat
  • GMO grains and beans (That these foods can promote inflammation tends to surprise people.)

With the above in mind, consider that the average American consumes about 10 percent of calories from dairy products, 20 percent from refined sugar, 20 percent from refined grains, 20 percent from refined oils and 2 percent from alcohol.

The biggest problems clearly are the sugar, grains and oils. Approximately another 20 percent of calories come from “obese meat,” which is the fatty meat from domestic animals that live a sedentary life in feedlots where they are fed a tonnage of grains/corn instead of grass/pasture.

Only the remaining 10 percent of calories might be fruits and vegetables.

Foods That Prevent Inflammation

So how do you prevent inflammation?

A reasonable recommendation is for 80 percent to 100 percent of our calories to come from the following foods:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Raw nuts
  • Omega-3 protein sources that include fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, wild game, grass-fed animals and free range omega-3 eggs
  • Spices, including garlic, ginger, turmeric, and oregano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and butter (all fats used in moderation)

Does this seem extreme to you?

If you currently snack on bags of hydrogenated inflammatory foods and eat at fast-food restaurants, you likely will view a life of eating anti-inflammatory foods as somewhat extreme.

In actuality, the anti-inflammatory foods described above are not extreme at all—these foods are completely consistent with our biochemical and physiological needs.

How to make changes

Your focus should be on correcting the 80 percent of calories that come from sugar, refined grains, oils and obese meat.

It takes time to make these changes so worrying about yogurt, the occasional bran muffin, a cup of coffee, etc., has little influence compared to the tsunami of inflammation created by the 80 percent of calories derived from inflammatory foods.

Another key to reducing dietary trauma and inflammation is to eat appropriate amounts for your body. In general, overeating leads to an inflammatory response.

Set a plan in motion that allows you to rid your food source of pro inflammatory foods.  It takes time but you can do it with a good solid plan.

If you need help developing a plan for healthful eating, please contact the Acupuncture and Chiropractic Center office and Dr. Cowan will be happy to set you on a path to better health…one bite at a time.

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