Food, Inflammation, and Disease – Part 2

Inflammation is a normal body function that helps us heal from injuries and fight off infection. An inflammatory response is part of our immune system and is what causes the swelling, heat, redness and pain in the injury site or in infected tissue, as blood is sent to the site with white blood cells and other immune molecules to protect and heal us.

When we eat highly refined foods and sugar, fatty and processed meats we are increasing our risk of chronic inflammation as our bodies react to the highly altered foods and chemicals. These foods also produce free radicals. Unhealthy eating and inflammation can lead to a wide range of diseases such as, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, obesity, inflammatory bowel syndrome, even cancer. Pollution can trigger inflammation as foreign and harmful particles need to be remove from our bodies. Pollution can also produce free radicals in our bodies and cause health problems. On the bright side, reducing your intake of these inflammatory foods and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods (along with exercise) should help your body restore its natural balance. Eating more whole foods will help, as you get all the good for you components of the food, not just bits and pieces. We evolved with whole foods not processed foods. There is synergy involved in eating. The whole is greater than its parts. There are many different processes going on in our bodies that need various nutrients and anutrients (fiber). Some good anti-inflammatory foods include: berries, cruciferous vegetable (which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts), green tea, grapes, and the spice turmeric. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants also help neutralize free radicals that can cause us harm and lead to disease. I use the website a lot for information, and Dr. Michael Greger’s website it is all science backed, has no advertisements, and he is not paid by any companies to promote their products. He is the author of the book “How Not To Die”.

Hopefully, this article is helpful for you in your research of what foods are best for you and your health. There is so much contradictory information out there, but certain facts start to stand out and you can make your own decisions. Adding a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to your diet and eliminating highly processed foods and seeing how you feel may be a good place to start. Do certain foods leave you sluggish and not feeling good; do other foods give you more energy? Keep in mind though, it can take some time to get used to the new foods as your gut microbiome adjusts. Fiber from whole vegetables and legumes can cause a lot of gas at first while your gut micros are adjusting to their new food sources. Certain foods are well known to cause allergic reactions, such as dairy, eggs, nuts and shellfish and if you are allergic you know it. But sometimes, foods can irritate our digestive system without us even realizing it, such as processed meats. It is best to talk to your doctor about changing your diet. You can get the usual health tests done to see where you are starting from. Then you can see if what you are doing is making a change for the better. Also, try and walk every day, it gets your heart pumping, helps you relax and remove tension from your body. And, if you can walk in nature, even better.

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