Improve Health by Reducing Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is part of  our body’s natural defense system; it can help protect our bodies and heal.

But chronic inflammation causes disease. When our bodies are constantly bombarded with processed food and sugar, too much animal products, stress and no exercise, our immune system shifts out of balance and an unseen inflammation rages in our cells and tissues.

[su_expanding_quote_book source_author=”Mark Hyman, MD” source_title=”The Blood Sugar Solution” full_quote=”We are seeing an epidemic of inflammatory diseases.  In fact nearly every modern disease — everything from autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and cancer to obesity, diabetes, and dementia — is caused by inflammation! These chronic diseases affect 125 million Americans. That means in the average family of three, at least one person has a chronic disease caused by inflammation.” short_quote=”Nearly every modern disease — from autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and cancer to obesity, diabetes, and dementia — is caused by inflammation.”]

The Standard American Diet – processed foods, trans fats, sugar, minimal fresh produce – creates inflammation. Too many sugary foods and white flour.

Changing what we eat can reduce inflammation in our bodies which reduces disease risks. Add exercise and stress management, and we can feel and even look better.

[su_expanding_quote_book source_author=”Mark Hyman, MD” source_title=”Blood Sugar Solution” full_quote=”Sugar causes pre-diabetes and diabetes, which often lead to significant memory loss. In fact, Alzheimer’s is now being called type 3 diabetes. So, get rid of sugar and flour products.” short_quote=”Sugar causes pre-diabetes and diabetes, which often lead to significant “]

So what to do?

Eliminating, or reducing to a minimum, processed sugar and white flour can improve memory and reduce risk of diabetes and other diseases.

I choose to eat a plant-based whole foods diet, not a vegetarian diet but one high in plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts) supplemented by animal products as nature intended (grass-fed, hormone free, humanely raised). My guidelines are:

  1. Reduce processed and fast food as much as possible. There are times for indulgence, birthday parties certainly or occasional treats. But these are exceptions not the norm. The key to success here is planning ahead to avoid that I’m-too-hungry-to-eat-healthy drive through the fast food lane.
  1. Replace those processed foods with real food. Fruits and vegetables with the highest antioxidant levels seem to reduce inflammation the most.
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”Nutrition Facts” source_url=”” full_quote=”Specific plant foods identified as being anti-inflammatory include apples; black pepper; broccoli; broccoli sprouts; Ceylon cinnamon; cilantro; citrus fruits; ginger; cloves; rosemary; chamomile; dragon’s blood; dried apples and dried plums; berries; crimini, oyster, maitake, and white button mushrooms; nutritional yeast,  flaxseed oil or flaxseed; green leafy vegetables; turmeric, which may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, treat knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce post-surgical pain; tomato juice, legumes, purple potatoes, nuts in general.” short_quote=”Specific plant foods identified as being anti-inflammatory include apples; black pepper; broccoli”]
  1. Reduce consumption of animal products. And pay attention to their origin. I opt for grass-fed, hormone-free meats, dairy and eggs. These are more expensive but become affordable by consuming less of them. I alternate “normal” days and vegetarian days. And rather than a full portion of steak, chicken breast or pork tenderloin, I use meat as an additional ingredient along vegetables and whole grains.
  1. Change of oils; “vegetable” oils are highly processed and even carcinogenic. I rely mostly on extra-virgin olive oil and when I can find it, I use avocado oil for cooking. Trusting Dr. Andrew Weil, I sometimes use expeller-pressed canola oil. Yes, I use butter but it is in moderation, and sometimes I use unrefined virgin coconut oil for pancakes, waffles and baking.
  1. Bring in the spices. Ginger, tumeric, cloves, cinnamon and rosemary have anti-inflammatory properties. I add them liberally into most of the food I make.

Meal planning and regularly making real food choices can decrease inflammation and improve our health. By incorporating regular exercise and reducing stress (through prayer, meditations, reading… whatever works best for each of us)  on a consistent basis we can eliminate chronic inflammation from our bodies to feel and look better!


For more empowerment

Nutrition Facts: Inflammation

Inflammation: How to Cool the Fire Inside You That’s Making You Fat and Diseased

Mind Body Green: 8 Strategies to Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Dr. Mark Hyman: We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

Nutrition Facts: The Top Four Anti- Inflammatory Spices



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