Inflammation: It's All in the Diet

Eating

We all know the golden rule of real estate: location, location, location. In naturopathic medicine, the rule is inflammation, inflammation, inflammation. In its beginning stages, inflammation is the body's healing response to an injury, irritation, or microbial invasion. For instance, if you catch a cold, your body creates inflammation in the form of a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. As annoying as these symptoms are, they are signs of a healthy body healing itself.

However, when the inflammation we can't see -- inside our bodies -- becomes chronic, it ultimately causes degeneration of our tissues and leads to disease. Simply put, it ages us. Chronic inflammation is thought to be the root of many diseases, including heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer's and other dementias, Parkinson's, osteoarthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.

You can see why naturopathic doctors focus so much attention on the treatment and prevention of chronic inflammation. There are some simple suggestions to help reduce inflammation in the body. Together, these suggestions build a true foundation of health. And if you're thinking, "I'm too old for all of these changes," perish the thought. You're never too old to improve the quality of your life. Try these ideas:

Pick and choose your foods.

Eat plenty of healthy, anti-inflammatory foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish (good for omega-3 fatty acids), nuts, and legumes. Anti-inflammation diet books are available and can be a great resource for grocery shopping and recipes. Jessica Black's The Anti-Inflammation Diet is one.

Avoid inflammatory foods, such as processed foods, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans- and hydrogenated fats, alcohol, and caffeine.

Cut out the foods that don't work for you.

Try an elimination diet to check for food allergies or sensitivities. This is a great step, because many people have this problem and don't even know it. Food allergies and sensitivities can lead to a host of physical problems. Start by avoiding the following foods for one month: wheat products, dairy products, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, peanuts, peanut butter, citrus fruits, pork, and shellfish.

 What's left to eat? Plenty. Explore your grocery store. When the month is up, add these foods back into your diet one at a time. Wait three days between foods and see how you feel. If a food is aggravating your body, you should eat it in moderation or avoid it altogether.

Give your digestive tract a boost.

Enhance the health of your digestive tract by doing two things. First, supplement your diet with probiotics. These are the healthy bacteria that live in our digestive tract. The two most common are *Lactobacillus acidophilus* and *L. bifidus*. You can purchase these at your local health food store.

Second, stimulate more effective digestion with this old trick: Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into 1 1/2 cup of water and drink it 20 minutes before meals. The better you digest your food, the less inflammation you will have. This trick can also be helpful for heartburn and reflux.

Use spices as good medicine.

Eat anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, garlic, and ginger. These herbs have been used as medicines for thousands of years -- and they taste good, too.

Check for inflammation.

Ask your doctor to do lab tests to check for chronic inflammation. Naturopathic doctors recommend C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). If these tests determine you have inflammation, the next step is for you and your doctor to figure out why, and stop it.

Making these changes can be challenging, but they're well worth the effort. The result is feeling healthier, younger, and more vibrant.


over 3 years ago, said...

Very helpful article. Any article on inflammation interests me.Thanks for going into detail in this article.


about 4 years ago, said...

Great information, as I am plagued by "traveling" joint pain all over the body. Tests by a Rheumatologist, found nothing conclusive, although mother died from complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Will try the elimination diet, esp dairy and the nightshade veggies, and see if that helps.


about 4 years ago, said...

I like the foods and spices I can add to curb inflamantion. Is the apple cider vinegar ok to take if you take blood pressure meds?


about 4 years ago, said...

Which are the anti-inlammatory foods? I had my C-rp tested and it is high.Docs will not tell why because they say it is a non -specific test.


about 4 years ago, said...

Several years before i had a heart attack I used to have high C-reactive protein snd doctor just told me that it means inflammation but knew nothing about what i should do to reduce this inflammation. After I had heart attack I realized that things were brewing up all along. I am a vegetarian and eat all the good stuff you have mentioned


about 4 years ago, said...

My question is how can you take calcium if you are on calcium channel blockers. The Dr. said that the calcium will still go to the bones, but not to the heart, but when I take calcum the heart irregularities and the migraines start again. And everyone says to consult with your Dr. I paid an extra flat fee to see a specialist and I'm still miserable. Perhaps inflammation, but 2 doctors will not order a CRP.


over 4 years ago, said...

possible tests, book


over 4 years ago, said...

I have food allergies that make this elimination diet impossible


almost 5 years ago, said...

I don't think you realize that most DRs. will not run a C-RP blood test. And if they do, they tell you its too hard to find out what causes the elevation. Mine is 8.7 and I can't get a doctor to look into it. Thanks, Pat


almost 5 years ago, said...

Thanks !


almost 5 years ago, said...

Regardless of who originally wrote this, citrus fruits have definite benefits and belong in your diet unless you find a nutitional replacement. My doctor has given me several pamphlets recommending that I add additional citrus to my diet to benefit my kidneys. Removing sugar and processed foods sounds reasonable, but before removing other foods you should talk to a doctor and not simply rely on one single article.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Great article, thanks for sharing


almost 5 years ago, said...

Citris fruits and tomatos are listed but beef is not. Something is wrong here.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Great article. And great reference book; short , concise and to the point. Thank you very much!


almost 5 years ago, said...

I suffer from lupus and have been diagnosed with several specific autoimmune diseases. I agree that diet is paramount in reducing inflammation, but what most people don't realize and commercial food companies wouldn't want you to know is that the chemicals in the foods available in grocery stores and even "organic" foods in specialty markets can be to blame! Just try eliminating chemicals from the food you eat- it's impossible, and no wonder we're seeing such an increase in diseases of all kinds. Treating these diseases often involves treating only the symptoms. A real cure is nearly out of reach for all but the most diligent and financially able. If you can't grow your own food, ensure that produce you purchase is unsprayed, and afford to have some food shipped in which isn't available locally, then you are out of luck. It's time this changed, for the better of society both health wise and economically, but whether that will happen is doubtful. In the meantime my life is a constant struggle to stay away from known flare-inducing chemicals. That's an expensive, painful and time-consuming activity but I'm lucky to know what to do. Many folks with serious disorders have no clue where to start to get back on the road to a healthy life, in spite of all the "advice" they receive from nutritionists, doctors and well-meaning friends.


almost 5 years ago, said...

This information is exactly what Doctor Barry Sears has been writng about for years. Infact I am not understanding how this is credited By Amy Bader, ND. Read some of Dr Sears books if this artical is not plagiarism of his works... I don"t know what is.


almost 5 years ago, said...

From what I have been reading lately, this article about inflammation is 'right on' - I do believe we are what we eat and that we need to pay more attention to what we put into our body--including prescription meds and vitamins....I can tell when I've been eating healthy as my body responds immediately. So good to see informative articles like yours - with no agenda..


almost 5 years ago, said...

Excellent article on inflammation, which is the underlying cause of so many health problems. I've been using the ACV (apple cider vinegar) for some time now and find I no longer have heart burn after meals.


almost 5 years ago, said...

This article regarding inflammation, its cause and prevention is informative and should be aailable to every person.


about 5 years ago, said...

I've actually know this, but it has motivated me to check for food sensitivities, which I'm sure is my problem.


about 5 years ago, said...

It was very helpful however I have been wondering if too much salt has been recognized as a problem also. I went UP North and ate poorly (fried & salty everything) and noticed that my joints were killing me after 3 days.


over 5 years ago, said...

excellent article @ the root of what causes 99% of our health issues. If only doctors would follow your advice, it would save all of us millions of $. But then it would put them out of a job and of course big drug companies and fast foods. If only we would follow your advice. I plan to start........really. Thank you.


over 5 years ago, said...

ginger is great for a sour stomach. fix your green tea with pure honey for pitchers or a cinnamon stick in a cup of hot tea. using garlic in your foods taste good but also will help you rest better at nite. I have used these ole-wives tales, from day-one. cayenne pepper is great for pain! also taught my daughter the same as I was taught. hope this helps everyone!


over 5 years ago, said...

I have a chronic pain disease, gb, fibromyalgia & a few more oops that I was born with 64 yrs ago,. always grew-up with a natural way to do things, eat & drink, but learning that I could have something inside of me that could have been put in these simple terms. thanks for these notes.


over 5 years ago, said...

A good reminder of what can cause inflammation. I do know that inflammation is the root of all health problems and our diet is the culprit. Thank you.


over 5 years ago, said...

As a (former) daily peanut butter eater (great boost of protein) with honey, I have taken PB off my menu for awhile. Was going to stop for a couple weeks, but I see the article suggests doing it for a month. We'll see if this helps reduce arthritic inflammation and the itchy spot between two of my fingers.