Oftentimes people relate inflammation to a sore tooth, a cut or other injury or joints but inflammation is present in a large majority of U.S. citizens. Why is this so? It’s true and due to the endless choices of fast foods and junk foods that are made up of too much sugar, refined flour, refined oils, and other ingredients that are used for flavor, freshness and longer shelf life. Think about this; have you ever bought food when you didn’t plan on it or grab a snack because it was available even when you weren’t hungry? I think we all have – and often we have made a choice we otherwise wouldn’t have, again, solely because it was there. The extreme availability of food around us truly hurts us.
- How many symptoms of inflammation do you have? Do you have any:
- Pain/stiffness in your joints and/or muscles?
- Feeling bloated or gassy?
- Feel tired or fatigued easily or often?
- Have brain fog?
- Mood swings?
- Allergies, seasonal and to certain foods such as dairy and/or wheat?
- Skin problems, rosacea, eczema, flushing, rashes?
- High Blood Pressure?
- High Blood Sugar?
If you have even one of these symptoms on a regular basis, you could have body inflammation. After you eat do you feel light and energized or heavy, tired and too full? By eating the right foods, you can feel satisfied, energized and awake – which will help you digest to absorb nutrients and digest to eliminate toxins that can cause inflammation.
A quick list of foods to avoid includes:
- Omega 6 foods – polyunsaturated oils such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil and soybean oil.
- Trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
- Refined foods including sugar, flour and refined oils
- Simple carbohydrate foods – cookies, cake, chips, donuts, ice cream, soda, sweetened iced tea and Kool-Ade mixes and other snack foods and junk foods.
- Red meat and processed meat such as hot dogs, deli meat, sausages
- Limit or eliminate gluten foods such as refined bread, pretzels, pasta, wheat, crackers, some whole grains (bulgur, barley, rye, seitan, couscous, farina, graham, spelt, durum, kamut).
If you don’t choose to cut these foods out completely, if you’re not quite ready to give them up, at least try to limit them and note the personal changes doing so makes. Leaving not-so-good foods out of your daily diet isn’t as hard as it sounds. When you increase better food choices into your daily meals, you forget about the inflammatory foods, especially when you feel the positive changes that eating better makes.
Eat more of the following foods:
- Lots of vegetables – green, red, yellow, purple, white, orange
- Fruit-up to 3/day – be careful not to eat too many each day as it will raise blood sugar which will feed inflammation
- Spices & herbs like turmeric, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, ginger, green tea, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili powder
- Wild caught fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, shellfish and a good quality fish oil supplement. Vegan sources of Omega 3’s include flax oil and algae sources, search “Algan Sources”.
- Nuts, seeds, walnuts and ground flaxseed are highest sources of omega 3’s for this category and are high in fiber and protein.
- Olive oil dressings – opt to make your own dressings with oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs and spices.
Pain from inflammation isn’t always because of age, activity, work, injuries and the like; pain can be caused by chronic inflammation in your body. The foods you choose to eat on a regular basis can hurt you or help you. Take control of your eating habits and reap the benefits of healthier eating. Not only can you have less pain and bloating, you will likely lose some weight as well and many of us wouldn’t mind dropping a few pounds of useless waste.