Reduce your inflammation
Most of us fully understand inflammation on the surface of our bodies which involves local redness, heat, swelling and pain. Inflammation exists within all of us and is an incredibly powerful, necessary function for our survival. It is the cornerstone of the body’s healing response; ensuring that appropriate nourishment and adequate immune activity is delivered to an area that is injured or under attack. BUT, excess internal inflammation due to lack of proper nutrition, stress, and chronic disease causes a host of health problems – cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, fatigue, and chronic pain to name only a few. An easy way to combat this? Eat more anti-inflammatory foods and eliminate the inflammatory ones.
Question: what is an anti-inflammatory food and more importantly, what is an inflammatory food? A simple rule of thumb is that if it is a whole food (not processed) and is naturally occurring, it is likely a non-inflammatory food. For meats and fish, if the animal lives according to the laws of nature (grass-fed cows, fish in their natural habitat eating what they are supposed to eat, wild animals, etc…) they are also likely non-inflammatory. Everything else, be suspicious of it.
Here is a list of some top anti-inflammatory foods I suggest you start to add into your weekly cycle of meal choices:
- Wild Alaskan Salmon: Salmon contains anti-inflammatory omega-3s (wild is better than farmed) and has been known to help numerous ailments. Try and incorporate oily fish into your diet twice weekly. If you don’t like fish, try a high quality fish oil supplement (we carry this).
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The secret to longevity in Mediterranean culture, this oil provides a healthy dose of fats that fights inflammation, can help lower risks of asthma and arthritis, as well as protect the heart and blood vessels.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and cauliflower are all loaded with antioxidants. Naturally detoxifying, they can help rid the body of possible harmful compounds.
- Blueberries: One of my favourite fruits! Blueberries not only reduce inflammation, but they can protect the brain from aging and prevent diseases, such as cancer and dementia. Choose organic if possible to avoid pesticides.
- Turmeric: This powerful Asian spice contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin, which is often found in curry blends. It is said to have the same effect as over-the counter pain relievers (but without their side effects).
- Ginger: Ginger contains a host of health benefits. Among them, it helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. Ginger tea is a great addition to any diet.
- Garlic: Garlic can help reduce inflammation, regulate glucose and help your body fight infection.
- Green Tea: This tea contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that may even help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
Here is a list of some top inflammatory foods I suggest you eliminate immediately:
- Sugar: Sugar is everywhere and is the number one cause of inflammation. Eliminate juices and added sugar first, then work on reducing it in the hidden foods (bread, snack foods, etc…)
- Popular Cooking Oils: Vegetable and canola oils. These oils promote inflammation and are made with cheaper ingredients. Change to extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
- Dairy: Dairy is hard on the body. Milk is a common allergen that can trigger inflammation, stomach problems, skin rashes, hives and even breathing difficulties.
- Commercially-Raised Meat: Animals who are fed with grains like soy and corn contain high inflammation and that translates into a bad ratio of omega fatty acids for you. Always opt for organic, free-range meats that have been fed natural diets.
- Alcohol: Regular consumption of alcohol causes inflammation. I know, I know…I like red wine too!
- Refined Grains: “Refined” products have no fibre and have a high glycemic index (high sugar). White rice, white flour, white bread, pasta, pastries…etc…etc…
While these lists are by no means exhaustive or complete, they are a good start. Click here for a shopping list I’ve adapted from Dr. Axe, that will serve as great resource while trying to change your shopping habits. As always, add to your current eating habits, do not try and eliminate everything because that will give you a feeling of deprivation. Once you have added some of the “good” foods above, it will be easier to reduce and substitute out the ones you know you shouldn’t be consuming.