Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the seemingly endless advice as it relates to diet and lifestyle? I know it can be confusing to navigate all the information provided as we begin to make choices to improve our health. Michael Pollan, the author of In Defense of Foods, utilized the term “nutritionism” to illustrate the fact that dietary recommendations tend to change on an annual basis. This generally occurs when a new scientific study claims that a certain component of food is negatively, or positively, affecting our health.
Consider the fat-free craze and correlate that with our increased rates of neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. It is obvious that replacing healthy fat with sugar and highly processed “fat-free” food-like-substances may not have been the best option. Although more are beginning to understand the detrimental consequences of food science, we continue to see food marketers promote fat-free options. Quite honestly, we should not be purchasing food with health claims on them. This generally indicates that the food is highly processed and in a package. Processed foods are generally laden with sugar and hydrogenated fats (highly inflammatory). Inflammation, chronic inflammation rather, is the base of all chronic disease. We are not necessarily fans of a diet per se, but provided below are examples of foods to begin introducing into your diet, as well as foods to work toward reducing, or eliminating from your diet.
Foods that Reduce Inflammation
- Healthy oils/Fats: olive oil, grape seed oil, Avocado oils, Coconut oils, Avocado, Coconut milk
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds
- Fruits: Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Pineapple, Raspberries
- Spices: Garlic, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Cumin, Chili Pepper, Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon
- Green Tea (include Lemon as well!)
Foods that promote inflammation
- Support the gut-brain connection by avoiding sugary, alcohol, grains, processed and canned foods, soy, and instant coffee.
- Avoid Gluten (Protein found in wheat, barley, and rye), Fried and Processed Foods, Refined Sugar, Dairy Milk, Alcohol and Tobacco, Vegetable oils, and Trans-saturated fats (partially hydrogenated oils), fried or battered foods, margarine, and artificial creamers)
Keep in mind the fact that these are simply general suggestions. Every individual is unique; therefore, it is not easy to make generic recommendations. We prefer to perform a detailed blood workup analysis to determine one’s degree of inflammation. We assess for acute phase reactants, or proteins, in blood that may be altered during inflammatory states. We also assess for autoimmunity. Autoimmunity occurs when our own tissue begins to attack itself. This could result from a poor environment, genetic predisposition, hormone imbalance, chemical exposure, stress, or leaky gut. More to come on this topic later! We take significant steps to dampen and reduce the inflammatory state observed in cases of autoimmunity. Medication, although commonly necessary, does not generally reduce one’s exposure to the causal pro-inflammatory habits of the individual.
It is our role to test for certain markers that may indicate that one’s system has gone haywire. If you would benefit from this type of approach, please contact us for a phone consultation at no charge. Please share this post if you found it valuable. We look forward to hearing from you!
- Pollan, Michael. In defense of food: an eater’s manifesto. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.