Take the first step!
Limit or avoid inflammatory foods in your diet.
Chronic inflammation is a slow burning fire. Like all fire it needs fuel. Inflammatory foods fuel this fire in your body. To stop this process the logical thing to do is to first limit the fuel source.
Unfortunately most people don't put 2 and 2 together when it comes to diet and inflammation. They don't see the connection between what they eat and the state their bodies are in.
Obesity is an obvious result of poor diet but chronic inflammation isn't so obvious. Even skinny people can have it! The damage is done silently, slow and steady, day after day until the symptoms of serious illness emerge.
You really are what you eat!
To take charge and stop this damaging process we have be aware that inflammatory diets result in inflammatory conditions. It's not enough to take
fish oil supplements
You've heard the saying, "First, do no harm". So the first thing you have to do to halt chronic inflammation is change the way you eat. Stop eating a pro inflammatory diet. Limit the fuel for the fire you're fighting.
...but what exactly is an inflammatory diet?
Well, a big picture view of a diet that promotes inflammation is one that has it's macronutrients out of balance. Macronutrients are the basic Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats that make up the food we eat. Here are some food examples of these macronutrients.
Meats, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Soy Products, Cottage Cheese
Fruits, Vegetables, Cereals and grains, Candy, Sodas
Cooking Oils, Olive Oil, Butter, Margarine
(Some vegetables and nuts are high in fat content also)
Carbohydrates: Too much of a good thing?
Excess carbohydrates are the main fuel of chronic inflammation. Carbohydrates are sugars. Excess carb consumption causes the body to release too much insulin. High insulin levels start what amounts to an inflammation cascade in the body. So high carb diets are inflammatory diets.
We live in a society that is carb addicted. Fortunes are made every year by companies pushing carb laden inflammatory foods. These foods are cheap, readily available, and convenient.
Breakfast cereals, desserts, fast foods, many processed foods, and alcohol are staples of the inflammatory diet. They result in obesity, diabetes, and chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and alzheimers.
All Carbohydrates aren't bad
Like many things there are good and bad. Bad carbs, like the examples above, are high in sugar, salt, and calories. They're also low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Good carbohydrates, like fruits and vegetables, are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also generally low in calories because of their water and fiber content. You have to eat a whole lot of salad greens to equal the calories of just one candy bar. But that candy bar won't fill you up like a huge salad will.
If the carbs in your diet are mainly low calorie, high fiber fruits and vegetables, then you have taken the first step towards reducing inflammation.
What about fats?
There are good and bad choices when it comes to fats also. Good fats like olive oil have little effect on your hormones and can actually reduce inflammation. Bad fats such as those found in margarine, fried foods, and meats are examples of inflammatory foods.
An omega-6 fat found in egg yolks and organ meats, called arachidonic acid, should be avoided as much as possible. It is the building block for pro inflammatory hormones in the body. Arachidonic acid is a high octane fuel for the chronic inflammation fire.
Margarine, processed peanut butter, and other processed foods can contain trans-fats. These are not naturally occurring fats and cause many problems in the body including increased inflammation. If the label lists hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils as an ingredient that means it also contains trans fats. Leave it on the shelf.
Real butter, for instance, is probably a better(and tastier) choice than margarine. Margarine is loaded with unhealthy hydrogenated fats.
Avoiding inflammatory foods like saturated fats, trans fats, and arachidonic acid is another step toward reducing inflammation.
What does protein have to do with inflammation?
Too little protein results in a carb heavy diet. An adequate amount of protein with every meal keeps your hormones in balance and inflammation from getting out of control.
Find the right amount of daily protein for you and stick with it.
Avoid inflammatory foods such as fatty cuts of meat and organ meats. These contain lots of nasty saturated fats and arachidonic acid.
Lean meats, fish, chicken, and low fat dairy are better protein choices. Eggs whites are an excellent source of protein. It's the yolks that need to be limited.
The only vegetable sources of high quality protein come from soy products.
But I combine beans and rice...
Although many vegetables like beans and rice contain proteins they are way too high in carbohydrates to be considered good protein sources. To get healthy amounts of protein from vegetables like beans and rice would mean overloading the body with carbohydrates. That translates into an inflammatory diet.
Inflammatory Foods: The Root of the Problem
Arthritis drugs like corticosteroids, aspirin, and other NSAIDS do not get to the root of the chronic inflammation problem. They are used to try to block the inflammatory hormones that are produced by poor food choices.
The foundation of chronic inflammation is an inflammatory diet.
Such diets frequently contain the following foods:
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
Animal Fats including Dairy Fats(full fat milk and cheese)
Egg Yolks(contain arachidonic acid)
Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats
Inflammatory Foods to Limit
Fruit Juices (eat the fruit!)
Vegetable Oils (other than olive oil)
Cereals and Grains
Other High Glycemic Index Foods
All the above are foods to avoid with arthritis.
Limit foods containing Advanced Glycation End Products or AGE's
AGE's are produced by overcooking, charring, or otherwise cooking foods at high temperatures like frying or barbecuing. AGE's cause much inflammation and cellular damage in the body. Limit your intake of foods cooked with these methods. Your level of chronic inflammation will be reduced as well.
So What's the Next Step?
Switch to an anti inflammatory diet!
Return from Inflammatory Foods to Inflammation