Heal Yourself with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There are a lot of factors that contribute to your quality of life – stress level, amount and quality of sleep, movement throughout the day, job environment – but, what you eat is often the thing that you have the most control over.
If you’re dealing with symptoms like chronic pain or digestive upset, you can end up spending thousands of dollars on diagnosis and treatment to essentially end up back where you started. I’m certainly not suggesting that you shouldn’t seek medical advice for these symptoms, as they can be indicators of serious conditions. But, once those conditions have been ruled out, or even while dealing with the diagnostic runaround, consider that you have some control over the way you feel.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s natural healing response to a toxin. It works to heal injuries, and fight viruses and allergens. Coughing, mucous, tears, redness and swelling are all examples of inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is where we get into trouble. When the inflammatory response is essentially unable to complete it’s job, it can lead to reactions like arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, obesity, cancer, and Alzheimers.
Signs of chronic inflammation include:
- Chronic pain
- Digestive disorders
- Food sensitivities
- Environmental allergies
- High blood pressure
- Blood sugar issues
- Skin conditions
There are a variety of substances that your body will view as toxins and create an inflammatory response to fight off, for example chemicals in household cleaners or cosmetics, pollen, and viruses. But, for the purposes of this blog let’s stick to dietary toxins:
- Food altered by humans like trans fats, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oil
- Refined sugar
- Commercially produced meat and dairy
- For some people, all dairy
- For some, nightshades, all grains and/or legumes
This may seem like an extensive list and leave you wondering what’s safe to eat. But the solution is simple, really. Eat whole foods, preferably organic.
Here are some basic tips:
- Only eat foods without packaging or with only one ingredient.
- Shop the perimeter of the store.
- Use EWGs Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen guides.
- Start with removing processed foods, gluten and refined sugar. Then, assess and consider removing other items in the bullet-ed list above.
Have you tried removing inflammatory foods? Let me know how it went in the comments section!