Are your insides a hot mess? If you struggle with main in your joints, pain in your digestive system, heartburn, headaches… those can all be associated with one thing: Inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can cause a multitude of diseases that most Americans are struggling with such as:
- Autoimmune Diseases such as Arthritis, Lupus, Type 2 Diabetes, Rheumatic Fever
- ALS and Parkinson’s Disease
- Heart Disease
You can have chronic inflammation due to your genetics, your environment, your eating habits, or lack of exercise. But the best way to reduce it is with your food intake! There’s a great Food Pyramid to help you get started on this journey. Once you know what foods are causing inflammation in your system, you can replace them and start feeling GREAT!
If you feel symptoms like wrinkles, acid reflux, skin conditions like acne, arthritis, bronchitis, chronic pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, candidiasis, urinary tract infections, or even cancer…then your body is inflamed. Some inflammation is normal. It’s your body’s way to give you a warning sign that something is out of balance. God has designed our bodies in such a way that we get warning signs by pain or visible skin issues. Don’t try to numb those signs, be aware of them and change what your putting into your body.
Most of us turn to over the counter medications to deal with inflammation. But we need to be aware that according to the American Journal of Medicine approximately 107,000 individuals are hospitalized every year for NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) related GI complications, and at least 16,500 deaths occur. These are so harmful to us in the long run. I was taking 12 Advils a day for pain and discomfort, I’m so glad I have been off of Advil for 3 full years now!! You can do it too!!
The basis of the anti-inflammatory diet/lifestyle is lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and little to no sugar. Sugar seems to be the biggest culprit to inflammation. If we cut back on just sugar, you will find your soreness, fatigue, and pain will subside. Of course, remember that you will Feel Worse before Feeling Better. When we make a change in our lifestyle, there’s a chance your body will struggle as it detoxes. Just keep that in mind and don’t be discouraged, it will pass!!
The top 10 “foods” that cause inflammation are the following:
2. Common cooking oils
3. Trans Fats (most foods we eat at restaurants)
4. Dairy Products
5. Feedlot-Raised Meat (and imbalance of omega 6)
6. Red Meat and Processed Meat
8. Refined Grains (white flour, pastries, packaged foods)
9. Artificial Food Additives (food colorings, chemicals, preservatives)
10. Your Personal food allergens (such as gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, nightshade vegetables)
Top 10 foods to have in your pantry for the Anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
Onions: This must-have vegetable adds flavor to meals. Allicin, a phytochemical found in most varieties of onions, may be responsible for its health benefits, including lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Garlic: This fragrant bulb should be a staple in every kitchen. It contains many of the same phytochemicals as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral properties. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal or yeast infections.
Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.
Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts. Plus, their naturally sweet, delicious taste could easily substitute for a dessert!
Beets: The deep red color of these root vegetables comes from anthocyanins, phytochemicals that protect against carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease. Beets are delicious hot or cold, are extremely versatile, and are inexpensive.
Squash: With a variety of types, flavors, shapes, and sizes, squash is versatile – even enough to be used in pie! It provides beta carotene, potassium, and fiber, nutrients that are necessary for good overall health.
Tomatoes: This red fruit (often considered a vegetable) contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Use tomatoes in everything from salads to sauces, but know that the lycopene is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked with a little oil.
Broccoli: This vegetable platter classic and other cruciferous vegetables offer cancer-protective benefits. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium – both of which help keep bones strong. It is tasty both raw and cooked, and can stand out in soups, casseroles, salads, and more.
Mushrooms: Prized for their tonic effects, mushrooms can help address a host of illnesses. Maitake mushrooms (known as “hen of the woods” for their appearance that resembles the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen) are particularly valued in Asian cooking, as they have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-boosting qualities, and are easily included in many main courses.
These all sound so yummy!! Think of a great spinach salad with many of these ingredients, or a delicious juice with beets, cabbage and sweet potatoes. What I like to share with people is to not live in the “I can’t have this” mode, but change your words to “I can have this, but I choose not to”. You may choose not to because of how it will make you feel, how it may affect your future, how it may affect your weight. It seems like every documentary I watch causes me to eliminate a whole food group! I am down to just about nuts and seeds! This isn’t wise either. So, this lifestyle makes so much more sense to me.
Basically, this lifestyle is full of fresh, real food. Protein sources should be primarily from vegetables, including beans and soybeans. Consumption of animal protein (except for certain types of fish) should be minimal. When you choose to eat red meat, the best choice is grassfed, grass-finished beef. The reason for this is the cattle have been raised the way nature (God) intended them to be. When they have a grass and herb diet, the proper balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 occurs. When the primary diet is corn, the beef has a complete imbalance of Omegas.. too much Omega 6 causes havoc in our systems and can even lead to cancer.
Two more things to consider are supplements and water. You will benefit from supplements, including fish oil, ginger and turmeric, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid. CoQ10 is really popular right now. So many people are on blood pressure medicines which are blocking your body’s ability to absorb CoQ10 that you can naturally get from foods. Supplementing is vital for those individuals. Drinking lots of pure water will help your body push out the years of damage from the inflammation and toxins.
What should I do today?
- Clean out your pantry of processed foods
- Shop for the 10 veggies listed above
- Cut back on sugar
- Consider your cleaning supplies and the toxins in your home
- Get moving! Exercise can decrease inflammation incredibly
- Wean off your medications (with your doctor’s help)
- Seek out times of quiet and meditation
- Visualize your body calm, cool, and stress free
You can be on your way to feeling great! You’ll start looking younger, have more energy, have a happier demeanor, and avoid chronic disease!! We’re on this journey together. Contact me with your stories of how this helps you!!
sources and further reading:
My dear friend Karen is not only someone I love and cherish, but she is our pastor’s wife! She has had an incredible journey this past summer. We encouraged her to write an essay to turn into a VitaMix Contest & SHE WON!!!Read More »