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Healing the Physical; Reducing Inflammation

Posted Feb 16 2011 1:22pm

Chronic inflammation is at the basis of many health problems and has been linked to diseases including cancer, heart disease and alzheimer’s. Inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against a multitude of harmful invaders including unwanted bacteria, viruses and other harmful pathogens. If the inflammatory reaction becomes chronic and does not switch off, it becomes a problem. There are many factors that can contribute to inflammation and many factors that can reduce it. First of all, pay attention to the fats you are using. Stay away from all hydrogenated oils and trans fats. Use extra virgin olive oil to cook but only at reduced temperatures or drizzle on food once it is cooked. You could also use organic expeller pressed canola, o.e.p. sunflower or o.e.p. safflower oils. Reduce your saturated fat intake by cutting out whole fat sources of dairy products. Cheese is a big source of saturated fat so choose skim sources of cheese or low fat alternatives. Try dairy substitutes like rice and almond milk to reduce fat content if you experience sinus congestion on a regular basis which may red flag a dairy allergy. Many brands of rice milk are fortified to make them a reasonable alternative to milk. Avoid red meat and all processed meats (read luncheon meats with nitrates). Avoid pork and bacon. Free range grass- fed bison is an alternative to store bought ground beef. If you have a high degree of inflammation in your body, I would limit red meat including bison to 2 servings a week max. Avoid sugar which is very proinflammatory. Reduce flour consumption and consume whole grains such as brown rice, whole oats, buckwheat, and quinoa. Aim for 40 grams of fiber daily. Avoid alcohol to reduce inflammation. Red wine has health benefits but if you have inflammation avoid it. Cut out all fast foods.

You need to flood your body with healthy nutritious rich food. So what do you focus on? Start with an abundant source of fruits and veggies. Choose to eat three veggies to one fruit. Because fruit is high in sugar in high amounts in can lead to higher insulin levels which is more proinflammatory in the long run. Green veggies are phenomenal at reducing inflammation and this is why I recommend blending up green drinks daily. Vegetables like carrots, beets, and white potatoes should be eaten in lesser amounts due to their high glycemic index. Make sure to eat them with a source of protein like nuts or beans which have healthy fats to help stabilize blood sugar. Choose soybeans versus processed forms of soy or fermented forms of soy such as miso or tempeh. Choose raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds which can help reduce inflammation. Fish is not always a good choice for your health because of the amount of toxins in our oceans. If you eat fish, choose wild salmon versus farmed. Black cod is okay as are sardines packed in water or olive oil and herring.  Consuming 2000 mg of a molecularly distilled high quality fish oil with food is a great way to get the antiinflammatory benefits of fish minus the toxicity. A high quality fish oil will have antioxidants added such as some form of Vitamin E to preserve the stability of the oil. Consume avocado, ground hemp or flax seeds for vegetarian sources of healthy fat. Consuming tea such as oolong, green or white tea gives you additional inflammation reducing benefits as does eating one dark square of chocolate daily (cocoa content 70% +).   

Lastly, stress is a big source of inflammation in the body and possibly the greatest source of inflammation. My in house treatment of choice for reducing stress is emotional freedom technique. 30 – 60 minutes of exercise daily and learning how to breathe (20 deep breaths daily is a start) will help to reduce stress. Take time out of your day to have some fun! Make time to do things that you love and make time for the people that you love!

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