Monday, February 18, 2013

Interesting Article About Inflammation and Food

As I was browsing through Facebook this morning, I came across this really helpful post about eating healthy and how foods can cause inflammation.  Lately we've been trying to cut out the bad food and eat healthy, wholesome food so this really was an awesome read.  I asked Jean from What Jean Likes if I could repost it and she said yes, thank you, so here it is.  

I hope you all find it as helpful and informative as I did!! 

As so many of you know, I've been on a mission since the beginning of this year to change my life and get healthy.  I've lost 20 lbs so far and though the journey seems like a roller coaster of challenges and triumphs, it's going pretty well so far.  Lately as I've taken a break from juice fasting (I eat one meal a day) and have been eating small amounts of healthy, organic food, my weight has plateaued.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I haven't exercised as much as Ishould for my body/situation, but I digress...  After sharing the post about Anne Hathaway and how she got lean for her role as Catwoman by avoiding foods that cause inflammation, I've been a bit obsessed with learning as much about which foods cause inflammation and which don't. 

I love pages like Raw For Beauty on Facebook because my feed is constantly being filled with posts about health and which foods are good for you and which aren't.  I got the photo above from that page, you can "like" them {here}.  

The web, as you know, is a wealth of knowledge.  There is so much information out there to read that sometimes you feel like you're drowning in it.  A lot of you may not be familiar with what inflammation is and why I'm eating foods that are non-inflammatory.  Here is a quick summary of what inflammation is. For more information, you can also read an article fromHarvard Medical School and how what you eats can fuel or cool inflammation. 
For most people, inflammation is something that occurs in the joints, the back and the neck. Inflammation in the knees, knuckles and elbows will cause stiffness, pain and swelling and this also happens in the neck and the back. However, inflammation can also affect the whole body including muscles and major organs. Inflammation can also quicken the aging process. For total health and freedom from these aches and pains, it is practical to start taking an anti-inflammatory supplement along with exercise and eating healthy foods.

Other causes of inflammation include lack of sleep, too much stress and lack of exercise. There are several causes right from our environment such as water, air, food pollutants and toxic metals. The lack of Vitamin D is also a cause of inflammation. Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun, but be careful not to get too much and still use a sunscreen. 
Here's a general list I've compiled from the last few days of research I've been doing. I'm not suggesting or saying any of you should become vegetarians or vegans though I am a vegetarian now.  I don't really eat any meat except lean, wild caught fish and the very occasional small piece of organic chicken breast.  What I've gathered from my research that eating primarily organic fruits and veggies is the best way to combat inflammation.  I'd say if you're eating more non-inflammatory foods than inflammatory foods, you'll be fine.  

Here's the list. 

Avoid these foods, which can trigger your body’s inflammatory response:
  • Refined grains, such as white bread and white rice
  • Red meat, or any meat that’s high in saturated fat
  • White Sugars
  • Sweets/candy
  • Sugar substitutes (poison for the body)
  • 3 P's: Packaged, Processed or Prepared foods.
  • Food/Flavor Enhancers:  colors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc. Some of the main ones include sulfites, benzoates, and colors named FD&C #”X.” Unfortunately, many foods consumed by children are loaded with these harmful, toxic ingredients.
  • Fried foods 
  • Trans fats/foods cooked in hydrogenated oil, vegetable oil, Crisco,
  • Alcohol
  • Iodized Salt (use Celtic sea salt, Kosher salt instead). Not harmful on its own but sodium is naturally found alongside other valuable minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Choose unrefined salt which naturally contains many different minerals, not just sodium.
  • MSG: Monosodium Glutamate.  This is literally poison for your body.  Eating this is terrible for your body, organs,everything.  A lot of Asian restaurants cook with this and you'd be surprised how many regular food items have this hidden away in it (watch out with salad dressing!!)  
  • Processed corn. You’d be shocked at just how much corn there is in processed foods. The food processing industry uses a number of corn derivatives such as high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil because it is cheap and plentiful. In its refined form, corn spikes blood sugar, leading to an increased insulin and inflammatory response.
  • Nightshade vegetables, including onions, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. 

Eat these foods, which can help your body combat inflammation:
  • Dark, leafy greensSpinach, kale, and romaine, etc. are all terrific inflammation fighters because they’re rich in antioxidants and other natural anti-inflammatory agents. 
  • Broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous veggies. These foods are high in anti-oxidants, and they have a natural detoxifying effect. Therefore, you can eat them and cleanse your body of any harmful chemicals that are contributing to inflammation.
  • Colorful fruits and veggies. Eat the rainbow. Stock up on antioxidant powerhouses such as kale, carrots, blueberries and raspberries.
  • Cherries. “These red fruits significantly reduce inflammation because they contain potent antioxidants called anthocyanins,” notes Keller.
  • Flax Seed.  Flax contains omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory. Try sprinkling a little freshly ground flax on your salad.
  • Turmeric and ginger. Both of these spices contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Chia seeds. Chia is high in inflammation fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avocados. These luscious fruits are high in carotenoids, which fight inflammation. They contain easily digestible monounsaturated fat, but don’t overdo it. 1/2 of a medium one is a day is a good maximum daily amount- and skip the oil on a salad if you are eating the avo with it.
  • Fish. Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines contain fatty acids that help your body fight inflammation.
  • Olive oil. Even a small amount of olive oil gives you a hefty dose of monounsaturated fat, which wards off inflammation.
  • Peanuts and peanut butterNot only do they contain healthy fats, but peanuts and peanut butter are also great sources of protein if you don’t eat meat.
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate. Yes, chocolate is on this list! In fact, research shows that regularly eating dark chocolate helps reduce inflammation.
There's a ton of information out there.  This is just a general list I've compiled in all the reading I've done this weekend.  

I hope you have a happy and healthy week ahead and Happy President's Day!


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