Did you know that many of the chronic diseases that Americans have are a result of one thing? Inflammation. Inflammation can occur in one’s intestines due to 4 factors: Genetics, Environmental Toxins, Lack of Movement, but especially an unhealthy diet. Once we understand this, we can change a couple daily habits and reverse the damage the inflammation has been doing. When our bodies are inflamed, we are more likely to develop some of these fatal diseases:
Autoimmune Diseases (such as Arthritis, Lupus, Type 2 Diabetes, Rheumatic Fever)
ALS and Parkinson’s Disease
How do you know you’re intestines are inflamed? You may feel achy, fatigued, unmotivated, or depressed. Here are some more symptoms of inflammation:
Visible signs of aging like wrinkles.
Susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
Skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.
High blood pressure
Urinary tract infections
The natural inclination for us is to take over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Motrin, and Asprin. 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. Americans consume 15 tons of aspirin a day, 19 billion tablets per year. Unfortunately, this comes with a price…NSAIDs and Ibuprofen Side Effects:
Rashes; Hives; Itching
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Ibuprofen depletes your body of folic acid, melatonin, zinc and iron. Tylenol is the #1 cause of acute liver failure. Long-term use has been linked to high blood pressure and brain damage. If you take just one non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (Motrin, Datril, Anacin, Ibuprofen etc.) every four days, over your lifetime you will have 9x the normal risk for vital organ damage. New England Journal of Medicine, 1994.
What should we do instead?
First, we need to make some changes to our diet. Here are the top 10 foods that will cause inflammation:
1. Sugars – refined and bleached especially
2. Common cooking oils
3. Trans Fats
4. Dairy Products
5. Feedlot-Raised Meat (omega 6)
6. Red Meat and Processed Meat
8. Refined Grains
9. Artificial Food Additives
10. Your own personal food allergens such as gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, nightshade vegetables
Once you realize which foods are causing you inflammation, fill your kitchen with these top 10 Veggies to have in your pantry:
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Basic Principles of Anti-Inflammatory Diet:
It calls for distribution of calories as 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 20 to 30 percent from protein, all present at each meal.
Carbohydrates should mostly be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load. Whole grains are emphasized, while foods made with wheat flour, sugar and high fructose corn syrup should be avoided.
Fats should be mostly in the form of extra-virgin olive oil, avocados and nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids. Fats to be minimized or avoided include margarines, partially hydrogenated oils, safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils.
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 consuming meat, choose grass-fed, grass-finished beef from a reputable source. We love TandD Farms in North Carolina. But you can search your area at EatWild.com to find a farmer near you.
Fiber is emphasized, especially through sources like berries, vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains.
Phytonutrients are important to help protect against age-related diseases. Get more through eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables (including cruciferous vegetables), soy foods, mushrooms, and tea. Choose organic produce whenever possible.
Water is important and should be a focus – bottled or pure water is preferred.
Vitamins and minerals should be obtained first through a diet high in fresh foods with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and second through supplements including vitamins C, E and D, selenium, mixed carotenoids, folic acid, and calcium. Other dietary supplements, including fish oil, aspirin, ginger and turmeric, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid may be beneficial. I trust Shaklee for my supplements. You can search for the above recommendations at this Shaklee site.
Your body needs CoQ10! It’s been shown to be highly helpful to an inflamed body. An obesity study centered on mice that were fed a high-fat, high-fructose diet – just like the junk food diet many people eat. Not surprisingly, the mice developed inflammation and disease complications. When CoQ10 was added, inflammation decreased.
A good source of CoQ10 is found in Grassfed beef, especially in the heart and liver organs. You may consider finding a local, trustworthy farmer to purchase your grassfed beef from, and add it into your diet 2-3 times a week. Supplementing with a quality CoQ10 is vital to your health!
What can you do today?
• Sleep! Give your body time to recover from the toll of the day.
• Keep stress to a minimum. Meditate, laugh, enjoy music, enjoy nature.
• Get moving! Exercise is one of the greatest ways to counter inflammation.
• Take good supplements. Vitamin D3, OmegaGuard, CoQ10.
• Eat a low inflammatory diet.
• Spice it up. Ginger, curry, and other spices can have an anti-inflammatory effect
• Limit sugar and processed foods.
• Eliminate soft drinks.
• Clean your environment with green products
One last, but very important, thing you can do is visit your “corrective care” chiropractor, such as a Maximized Living Chiropractor, on a regular basis. Your spine holds the communication system for all of your organs. Your brain communicates through your nerves, and if your spine is misaligned it cannot properly deliver the messages from your brain for healing.
Make every effort to have your family adjusted regularly to keep your body processing at it’s fullest! If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area, check out Dr. Matthew McAlees, he is our recommendation! If you are in North Charlotte, or the Lake Norman area, check out Dr. Lonnie Bagwell at Lifespring Chiropractic. You can also search here for a Maximized Living practitioner in you area!