Symptoms of chronic inflammation such as headaches, cough, or backache are often overlooked or taken for granted to be part of the “normal aging process”. Most of us just assume that because of our stressful lives these niggling aches and pains are just a part of life. It never once occurs to many people that pain is the body’s way of crying out for help. Pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong. Because all of these symptoms and many more are a sign of chronic or silent inflammation it means that our cells have been under attack and inflamed for quite some time.
Once again, I feel it necessary to point out chronic inflammation leads to serious illness if left unchecked. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s Type II Diabetes, asthma, IBS, Chron’s, vitamin and mineral malabsorption, and every single autoimmune illness out there (including Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Uriticaria, Polymositis, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Disease, Addison’s Disease…..need I go on?) are caused by silent chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a vicious cycle as well. It is the culprit behind illnesses such as adrenal fatigue however the very nature of adrenal fatigue leads to more inflammation. When I am treating a client for adrenal fatigue I must address the underlying cause – inflammation- to restore balance in the body.
Nutrition far exceeds modern medicine’s ability to treat and prevent chronic inflammation. In fact, there is not one single medicine on the market today that effectively targets inflammation. Doctors rarely discuss the role of nutrition in treating inflammation. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find many doctors that treat inflammation at all. Instead they choose to look at each illness as a separate entity which fails to recognize that ‘disease’ indicates the whole body is out of balance. Nutrition, for instance, is the absolute best treatment for Type II Diabetes, however, it would also stand to reason that proper nutrition that would treat diabetes would do so by balancing blood sugar which would control insulin release, which would treat chronic inflammation which would treat or prevent any other underlying condition. Because a healthy, mostly plant-based diet is the healthiest diet to treat diabetes, it would also correct not only inflammation but the delicate alkaline/acid balance in the body which keeps a myriad of biochemical reactions in the body in check and running smoothly.
Below are 10 foods that help calm inflammation allowing the body to heal, balance and restore itself to health and vitality.
Cherries and berries including blueberries, cranberries, goji and açai berries, are high in inflammation-busting phytonutrients. Phyto-nutrients are also great pain relievers. Acerola cherries, for example, are 10 times more effective than aspirin in relieving pain and inflammation. Blueberries, nature’s most powerful fruit for aging gracefully, are also excellent anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age. When heat-shock proteins are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.
Pineapple and Payapaya are rich in vitamin C and the enzymes bromelain and papain respectively, which have been linked to decreased pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Bromelain also helps dilate bronchii in asthmatics and is fabulous as a home remedy for upper respiratory infections and bronchitis.
Walnuts are packed with Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Due to the anti-nutrients present in all nuts and seeds make sure you prepare them properly before eating by soaking them in water overnight and then dehydrating by placing them in an oven at just below 100 degrees C (about 210F) for a day. Or if you have a dehydrator, you can drop the temperature down to 46 degrees C (about 115F) for a long, slow bake – keeping as much nutritional value as possible. Whichever way you do it, the process ‘activates’ the nuts by simulating what happens in nature when they’re germinating, so they move from being dormant to shedding their protective enzyme coating and getting into their growth phase, releasing all their goodness as they go. A handful of walnuts a day is a great inflammation fighting way to boost fertility in women and sperm count in men!
Note:: Careful to buy them VERY fresh, store them in the freezer and eat them in moderation as they are high in PUFAs.
Broccoli is packed with vitamins, calcium and alkaline minerals such as sulforaphane which helps eliminate potentially carcinogenic compounds and scavenges for free radicals. Don’t all of my raw foodie readers gang up at once but this delicious vegetable releases some of it’s goiter centric qualities and increases the bio-availability of it’s trace minerals by cooking it well before eating it. Other green vegetables that are fantastic are spinach, kale, and chard. Make sure these are cooked well and served with a little healthy saturated fat like butter or ghee.
Celery contains more than more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds , including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Celery juice is a wonderfully alkalizing inflammation buster and is great on its own or as the backdrop for countless vegetable juice recipes and green smoothies.