An Essential Process
The inflammatory process of the human body has gotten a bad reputation. At first glance, it is unpleasant to look at and uncomfortable to experience; but a deeper exploration shows a vital healing reaction in the body. Pathogens and damaged cells are identified and targeted. Reactive processes flood the area with nutrient-rich blood to clean out dead tissues and begin repair, causing swelling.
The site of injury heats up, which accelerates the function of healing enzymes. Both cause pain- which is also important, as it keeps us from using and re-injuring the site during rebuilding. Without inflammation, many small injuries would accumulate and lead to a slow, progressive destruction of tissue.
Poor Choices, Unpleasant Consequences- The Top Three
There are many foods today- often very tasty, convenient foods- that carry a terrible price for their ease of preparation and consumption. Multiple pathways of excessive irritation can be stimulated by the wrong dietary choices. An unpleasantly wide variety of foods are destructive to the body, but can be divided into three broad categories.
There is a terrifying amount of refined sugar present in the typical American diet. According to guidelines set out by the American Heart Association, daily dietary sugar should be limited to 38g for men and 25g for women. Unfortunately, in 2008 average American sugar consumption weighed in at almost 80g.
Excessive refined sugar causes deadly overstimulation and strain on the body’s immune system. In particular, refined sugars cause excessive production of inflammatory messengers in the body called cytokines. These bring about unnecessary irritation of the lining of the blood vessels, joint pain, and fatigue. Chronic conditions associated with sugar overload include type II diabetes, obesity, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Fat- healthy fat- is absolutely essential to a well-balanced diet. However, not all fats are created equal. Trans fats (as found in stick margarine) are not only incredibly processed, they are also a contributing factor to increased bad cholesterol (LDL) and systemic inflammatory processes.
Saturated fats are included in this unhealthy category, stimulating the inflammation of adipose tissue. High concentrations of inflammatory saturated fats can be found in red meat, cheese, and refined grain products; these can cause an exacerbation of arthritic processes and heart disease. Additionally, metabolism of these irritants can cause painful outbursts of gout.
These carbohydrates can be found in white flour products like pastries and white bread, and are incredibly common in the American diet. Overconsumption can result in the production of destructive end products that stimulate systemic inflammatory issues. Chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes are all more common in populations that eat excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates. They also put an undue burden on the liver and impair its proper functioning.
Delicious Healing- The Top Three
As common as unhealthy foods are, those with healing factors are luckily also very accessible. In general, these anti inflammatory foods are commonly labeled the ‘Mediterranean Diet’. All the approved foods in this diet are high in fiber and minimally processed, loaded with nutrients and healthy fats.
The incredibly wide array of foods included in this diet provide both delicious variety and have been documented to increase overall health. The additional benefit of these foods is the ease with which they can be assimilated into any diet. Three small dietary adjustments can decrease inflammation and bring about immense benefits in the long run.
Replacing synthetic and processed oils is the first step to establishing an anti inflammatory diet. Healthy fats can be obtained from both animal and plant sources, with differing values attributed to each. Regular inclusion of fatty fish in a weekly meal plan is essential; salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are all rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
These are important for the short term reduction of inflammation and the long term prevention of heart disease. Plant-based fats span a wide range: from nuts to avocados to extra virgin olive oil. These in particular are beneficial for the reduction of inflammatory processes that aggravate both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
2.Brilliant Fruits and Vegetables
The Mediterranean Diet is a mainly plant-based plan, with great emphasis on fresh foods whenever possible. In particular, the consumption of vividly colored fruits and vegetables is encouraged. These foods not only reduce harmful inflammatory processes, they also stimulate healing.
Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, good choices include green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and berries. Factors specifically protective to joint cartilage can be found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks, garlic, and onions. The great advantage with these foods is their amazing spectrum of amazing flavors, making their inclusion an easy change.
Bleached and refined white flour is the epicenter of multiple dietary woes; that does not mean that all grains are unhealthy. Whole grain breads and cereals containing wheat, rye, oats, and brown rice are all excellent dietary upgrades. New world grains- quinoa and amaranth- are also good fits, being endowed with a rich load of protein as well as fiber. In general, whole grain products provide slow digesting, long term energy sources. This prevents blood sugar spikes and reduces the inflammatory strain on the liver. All whole grains additionally contain healthy amounts of fiber which assists the body in daily detoxification and stimulates digestive processes.