Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Getting to an Anti-inflammatory Diet

I had a x-country ski accident last February and still suffer residual pain in my hip and so I sometimes lament the time it has taken to heal. Facing winter again, I have brought it up to friends and I am not alone... a litany of their own aches and pains abound.. do any of these sound familiar?

" Arthritis runs in my family, I expect to have some replacement part at some point in my future."

"The pain seems to travel to different parts of my body every day."

"It is just from over exertion, lack of sleep, sitting too long, running every day."

" I have had low back pain for years and just live with it."

What is Inflammation?
There are experts who are now stating that every chronic disease (asthma, allergies,arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and many others) is some how related to inflammation somewhere in your body.   What is inflammation? It is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation, or injury. Characterized by an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved, inflammation has different names when it appears in different parts of the body. As the initial response that fires up the immune system, inflammation is the crucial first step in fighting off infection and healing wounds. However, when inflammation persists - when the immune system is always activated - this is known as chronic inflammation and can lead to chronic disease.

My top five foods to  Fight Inflammation
In addition to making sure you get enough sleep and exercise, consider looking at addressing pain through a nutritional medicinal approach.   If we understand that certain foods/spices and herbs can truly relieve pain, we will feel more empowered towards healing ourselves and our families with pain fighting nutrients:

#! Tumeric: Top of my list: I have started taking tumeric (fresh or powdered) everyday and add it into whatever I eat by sprinkling on the dry powder to soups, salads, steamed veggies and even in smoothies.  It is even more bio-available when taken with fat (my favorite is coconut oil).
#2 Salmon: Salmon is an excellent source of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two potent omega-3 fatty acids that douse inflammation. The benefits of omega-3 have been backed by numerous studies and they range from preventing heart disease and some cancers to reducing symptoms of autoimmune diseases and psychological disorders. Be sure to include some oily fish such as wild Alaskan salmon in your diet twice a week. If fish is not your type of food, you can also get omega-3 fatty acids from high-quality fish oil supplements.

 #3 Blueberry:  An antioxidant powerhouse, blueberry is high in phytonutrients that confer anti-inflammatory protection against many diseases such as cancer and dementia.

#4 Sweet Potatoes: a good source of complex carbohydrate, beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin B6 and C as well as dietary fiber. Working in concert, these nutrients are powerful antioxidants that help to heal inflammation in the body. Excellent for IBS.

#5 Kimchi: Kimchi is a spicy dish made of fermented vegetables, most notably cabbage. Kimchi contains the probiotic bacterium lactobacillus  along with other bacterias that benefit the gastrointestinal and immune systems. Kimchi is also full of vitamins,beta-carotene, iron and calcium.

Over all, when you are choosing anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce your inflammation and pain, choose fresh foods instead of heavily processed foods. Here are some tips:

    * Breakfast could be oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts, with a cup of almond milk.
    * Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables throughout the day.
    * Eat more fish and less fatty red meat.
    * Stay away from deep fried foods and bake or stir fry your meals instead.
    * Choose green, orange, and yellow vegetables for your side dishes.
    * Drink plenty of water, fresh 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and green tea.

HERBS/Mushrooms that reduce inflammation: Lemon Grass, Green Tea, Ginger, Tulsi, Rosemary, Oregano, Skullcap, Shiitake Mushroom, My Chaga :).

A Day on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes

 For a short general guideline to work into an anti-inflammatory diet, watch this 3 minute video from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Marie Frohlich, Certified Health Coach
For more information about my program (including a free half hour health consultation),  workshops and herbal products: