Where Does Inflammation Start?
The 2 Types of Inflammation
Injury is a good example of acute inflammation. When you hurt yourself, your body produces chemicals that lead to swelling, thereby attracting white blood cells to help with the healing process and prevent further damage from
spreading throughout your body.
If the injury does not heal, or you are constantly subjected to further injury, it can eventually become chronic or ongoing. And this continuous inflammation starts to affect your organs, nerves, tissues, joints and muscles, essentially every part of your body.
Since our bodies are continually being bombarded by toxins in almost everything, including the foods we eat, the air we breathe and even the daily products we use, eventually your immune system becomes overloaded and disease sets in.
Common Inflammation Triggers
But there are also some foods—mainly the majority of those that make up the standard American diet—that can be considered “inflammatory foods.”
Today, there are food additives in pretty much anything that isn’t organic. And now, we are starting to realize that even some foods that would otherwise seem “natural” can also be triggers.
These inflammatory triggers include such things as refined sugar, chemical additives, GMOs, artificial dyes and anything processed. All of these essentially trigger inflammation in your gut and can lead to devastating health issues.
The Biggest Cause of Inflammation
Probably one of the reasons we don’t always link stress to disease is that it takes time for it to wreak havoc on our bodies. But anyone who has been under long-term stress will tell you that is can be deadly.
Eventually, your body starts give out and break down. But now that you know this, you can limit the damage by recognizing the 14 most common signs of inflammation before they get out of hand.
14 Warning Signs of Inflammation
- Chronic fatigue
- Food cravings
- Binge eating
- Unexplainable weight gain (not associated with eating more)
- Water retention
- Diarrhea or constipation
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
How To Treat Inflammation Naturally
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” These are words to live by, literally.
The only caveat is that the food must be fresh, unprocessed and as natural as possible. The type of food you eat also determines the types of microbes that will grow and live in your gut.
Good microbes are essential for proper digestion and absorption of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your food. Processed foods are the main cause of inflammation, so you will need to start by eliminating all of these from your diet.
Refined sugar and wheat are also big contributors.
And if you have food sensitivities, which is highly likely if you have inflammation, foods such as gluten, and cow’s milk can trigger further inflammation. (4)
A diet based on fresh, mostly raw vegetables, salads, good sources of protein, such as eggs, seafood, organic or grass-fed meat and poultry, as well as healthy fats that include omega-3 fats, fresh fruit and plenty of nuts and seeds (again raw is better) and plenty of probiotics, is what is going to heal inflammation for good. As a good rule of thumb, try to avoid any food that comes pre-packaged.
There are also many foods that have been shown to be especially good for fighting inflammation. Choosing as many of these as possible will help to speed the healing process.
Proven Anti-inflammatory Diet
|Fruits (raspberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, plums, blackberries, blueberries, pink or red grapefruit, cherries, etc.)||Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Look for in-season, fresh fruit in a variety of colors.||3-4 servings per day (1 medium-sized fruit, ½ cup chopped or ¼ cup dried)|
|Vegetables (raw or slightly cooked dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens and chard, as well as cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes and any sea vegetables like dulce and kelp.||Like fruit, vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Look for in-season, fresh vegetables in a variety of colors.||A minimum of 4-5 servings of vegetables a day (2 cups salad greens or ½ cup cooked, raw or juiced.|
|Whole and cracked grains (brown, basmati, and wild rice, buckwheat, groats, quinoa, barley, kamut and steel-cut oats.||Whole grains (those that are whole/intact or in large pieces and do not use whole wheat or flour). These types of grains digest more slowly avoiding blood sugar spikes that are known to promote inflammation||3.5 servings per day one serving is equal to ½ cooked grains)|
|Pasta al-dente (Organic pasta or rice noodles, bean thread noodles, buckwheat noodles such as Japanese udon and soba noodles)||Al-dente (still slightly hard, not soggy) pasta has a lower glycemic index than fully cooked pasta so it will not spike blood sugar levels.||2-3 servings per week (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked pasta)|
|Beans and Legumes (Anasazi, Adzuki, and black beans as well as chick peas, black-eyed peas and lentils)||Beans are a good source of folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber. Eat them well-cooked or pureed like hummus. They are a low-glycemic food.||1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)|
|Healthy Fats (coconut oil for and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil for cooking as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in dressings and sesame oil for stir-fry. Raw nuts like walnuts, avocados, and seeds such as flax and hemp. Cold water fish, omega-3 enhanced eggs)||Healthy fats include those rich in monounsaturated or omega-3 fats. Olive oil is a good source of polyphenols and antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties. (6)||5-7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts or 1 tbsp. of flaxseed or 1 ounce of avocado.|
|Fish and Seafood (Wild Alaskan salmon, herring, sardines and black cod||Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. You can also take a molecularly distilled supplement that contains both EPA and DHA in 2-3 gram dosage||2-6 servings per week (4 ounces of fish or seafood is equal to one serving)|
|Mushrooms (Shitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster andwild mushrooms when available)||Mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. NOTE: never eat mushrooms raw and limit intake of commercial mushrooms such as button mushrooms||Unlimited|
|Other Sources of Protein (Organic cheese and yogurt, eggs, grass-fed lean meats, poultry)||Try to reduce your intake of animal foods. Choose omega-3 enriched eggs from birds fed flax seeds or organic eggs. For chicken, choose cage-free organic. Use dairy products sparingly and choose natural cheeses such as Swiss, Jarlsberg, and Parmesan)||1-2 servings per week (1 ounce of cheese, 8-ounces of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces meat is equal to one serving)|
|Herbs and Spices (Turmeric, curry, ginger and garlic, chili peppers, cinnamon, basil, rosemary and thyme.||Spices have many healing properties. Turmeric and ginger, especially, are wonderful anti-inflammatory agents.||Unlimited|
|Tea (White, green and oolong teas)||Tea is high in catechins, which are potent antioxidants that reduce inflammation.||2-4 cups daily|
|Healthy Sweets (unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet)||Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant properties. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.||Sparingly|
|Probiotics and Fermented Foods (Kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, unsweetened yogurt, tempeh, Kimchi, miso, pickles, buttermilk, natto)||Probiotics are live microorganisms that can restore your gut health and reduce inflammation. (7) When drinking kombucha, start slowly and only use store-made, raw versions to limit bacterial contamination (up to 8 ounces) (8) Some people have experienced side effects so speak to a nutritionist if you have concerns.||¼ - ½ cup of fermented veggies, eaten with 1-3 meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health. (9)|
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Completely:
- Processed foods
- Certain dairy (see above list)
- Processed meats
- Refined sugars
- Trans fats
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