We can look in any of our grocery and wholesale stores in America today, and we will find ourselves and others making pro-inflammatory decisions when it comes to the foods we buy. For example: oversized bags of chips, frozen and processed foods, refined carbs, grain fed animal products, seed oils, etc. Any busy city street will have several fast food restaurant choices to pick from, all serving calorie dense, nutrient weak, pro-inflammatory foods! Despite the current state of nutritional affairs it isn’t hard to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. There are healthy choices in our grocery and wholesale stores, and we just need to learn how to seek them out. The process doesn’t need to be stressful because, after all, stress is PRO-INFLAMMATORY!
So where do we start?
Visually, we want to flip the food pyramid on its head:
Avoid: grains, legumes, refined sugars, all packaged and processed products, and most dairy products
Consume: fruits and vegetables, omega-3 eggs, grass-fed and wild game animal products.
Breakfast becomes no different than lunch and dinner (protein and vegetables)
-e.g. Vegetable omelette over a bed of lettuce
Use: Anti-inflammatory spices i.e. ginger, tumeric, and garlic
Cook with: Organic extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter, and coconut oil (for high heat)
Drink: Organic green tea and water mostly
Avoid: Desserts that are made of flour products
-sample dessert (in moderation): organic half and half or heavy cream poured over cherries or berries, or simply berries, since they are naturally sweet on their own.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Avoid the middle aisles because, for the most part, that’s where your processed pro-inflammatory foods are.
What You’re Achieving:
- Fatty Acid ratio is improved. By improving the ratio, we improve our protective cell membranes which are made up of fatty acids.
- Ideally we want your Omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) and Omega 3 ( anti-inflammatory) as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible. The average American diet has a 25:1 ratio. For example, fish is about a 1:1 ratio while white bread is a 21:1 ratio.
- Improved tissue pH. The high acidity from pro-inflammatory foods is curved, and you achieve decreased pain and inflammation as well as increased tissue healing.
- Increased antioxidants/phytonutrients in your system whose numerous benefits are still being researched:
- Protection against collagen destruction, anti-ulcer, anti-histaminic, lower cholesterol, trap carcinogens, protects against – heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, liver disease, and bacterial/viral infection.
- Glycemic regulation to help protect you against insulin resistance.
In Part III of the anti-inflammatory diet we will review helpful supplementation.
Bertoia, Monica L, et al. “Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years.” Bmj, 2016, p. i17., doi:10.1136/bmj.i17.
Cassidy, A., et al. “Higher dietary anthocyanin and flavonol intakes are associated with anti-Inflammatory effects in a population of US adults.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 102, no. 1, 2015, pp. 172–181., doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.108555.
Seaman, David R. Clinical nutrition for pain, inflammmation, and tissue healing. NutrAnalysis, Inc., 1998.