Dietary Changes Are Moderate and Not Too Extreme
Unfortunately, for many of us inflammation is a part of life. And most sufferers see their inflammation as an inevitable symptom of a larger disorder, or, even worse, as just part of who they are and how their body works. They feel they can't fight inflammation because it's all down to chance or medicine. But, to quote a famous Greek, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
What we eat affects our whole bodies, top to bottom, inside and out. And whether our inflammation is part of a disease or appeared spontaneously on its own, chances are our diet is making it worse. Many people find that if they adjust their diets to exclude certain foods, their inflammation improves, or, better yet, goes away. Why choose a diet-based approach? There are many very good reasons:
Firstly, a dietary solution to inflammation is healthier and often more effective than a medicine. This includes conventional, traditional, and complementary medicine by the way. How can this be? Well, in the case of inflammation often a medicine can be too effective. You need to understand that inflammation is your body's reaction to damage. It raises your body temperature to fight pathogens.
It pumps blood into the area to clot wounds and keep white blood cells fighting threats. It takes the pressure off damaged joints and stops us from overworking sore muscles. It is a recovery process. So, what happens when we take a medicine that takes away too much, or even all of our inflammation? We heal less effectively. And naturally, if we aren't healing well then as soon as we stop taking our medicine, the inflammation comes right back because it has a job to do. On the other hand, a dietary solution takes the edge off inflammation, but leaves just enough for optimal healing.
An anti-inflammatory diet is very important as it helps reduce inflammations and allergic reactions. Coming up with one, however, is at times not easy as most people know little about the inflammatory properties of the foods we eat. Most of the nutritional information about the foods we consume, written at the back of the products, only contain information about the nutrients in the given food; there is nothing on the inflammatory potential of the product. All we can do is to avoid the foods that we are allergic to or the ones we know to be pro-inflammatory.
The average human body tends to have natural defenses against any form of infection, which includes inflammation, but that does not mean that you can just let it go forever. The best way to help your body fight it is to make sure that you eat the right things. When it comes to your greens, the darker the better.
You're going to get more of a boost in vitamin production and antioxidants with spinach than you will with iceberg lettuce. Water will help flush your system and make it harder to keep around many causes for inflammation, so be sure to drink plenty of it.
An easy way to add to your body's natural defenses is to keep your food well spiced, but you may not know what you are wanting to add to your food yet. A body is a very unique ecosystem, so there are plenty of things that you might need that someone else might not. Maybe spicier spices are a little too much to be palatable in doses and you want to look into what other options.
Organic Foods to Prevent Inflammation
Many people falsely assume that organic foods are a fad that has no benefits whatsoever. The small truth in that belief is organic foods are not magic. They will not cure cancer or reverse the ageing process, and anyone who tries to tell you so probably has shares in an organic foods company. That said, there are some definitive benefits to going organic if you suffer chronic inflammation, or are prone to bouts of acute inflammation.
A lot of unexplained inflammation is caused by allergic reactions to things in our environment. This weakens our immune system, triggering autoimmune conditions, making us more vulnerable to injury and illness. This in turn leads to inflammation as our bodies fight to defend ourselves. And one common source of allergens are the pesticides and fertilizer used in our foods.
Going organic can be difficult and expensive, so sometimes it is wise to be careful, but not overzealous. Just like cutting back on smoking has an immediate beneficial effect on your body, albeit less than quitting smoking, going largely organic has an immediate beneficial effect on you too. Just because you can't do something one hundred percent doesn't mean you shouldn't do it at all. There are ways of increasing your organic foods intake without completely committing, and of reducing your intake of toxins without having to give up on all the foods you currently enjoy eating.
The Dirty Dozen
You need to start by learning about the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. These are two lists built by the EWG to make consumers aware of the foods with the highest and lowest concentrations of chemicals in the USA each year. The idea is that you should never consume the dirty dozen unless you are buying organic, and if you want fifteen foods you can buy non-organic without worrying at all, you can take your pick from the clean fifteen.
Today, the dirty dozen, in order from most to least pesticides, are: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes.
The Clean Fifteen
The clean fifteen, from cleanest to most pesticides, is: avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit. Beyond that, you need to consider how washable your food is. An apple may have more pesticides than some lettuce, but the apple is easy to peel or wash. Use common sense and choose organic for foods without peels that you cannot wash or trim easily.
Next, it is highly beneficial to examine your meat intake. Most animals raised for meat are fed genetically modified grains. Although genetic modifications in and of themselves are harmless, the obsession people have with demonizing them and companies have with defending them is hiding us from a bigger problem. Why are foods genetically modified? To make them strong enough to cope with heavy loads of stronger pesticides.
The natural plant would literally die if exposed to these pesticides. And more pesticides mean more toxins in the grains, more toxins in the meats from animals that eat them, more toxins on our plates and in our bodies. Choose organic meat to reduce the volume of pesticides that make it to your plate. Better yet, reduce your meat intake and focus on free range hen eggs and wild-caught fish for better nutrition and fewer pesticides.