By Krista Weikel Delaplane, ND
Many patients ask me, “What is inflammation anyway?“ Inflammation is a stage of the body’s natural immune response. You need a healthy inflammatory response to fight a cold, heal a sprained ankle or recover from a surgery. Inflammation becomes a problem when it happens over a long period of time and starts to slowly damage your joints, blood vessels, heart, lungs or other tissue. Chronic diseases are associated with too much inflammation in the body. Conditions such as heart disease, allergies, ulcerative colitis, asthma, diabetes, eczema, multiple sclerosis all benefit from anti-inflammatory treatments. A great place to start is with eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Many people find relief from symptoms that they have had for a long time by avoiding foods that trigger inflammation and eating ones that reduce inflammation.
Here is a quick guide to what to eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Read more about it at: http://theantiinflammationdiet.com/. Some people adapt this way of eating as a lifestyle, others use this as a guideline for a 30-day cleanse or tune-up before summer. Ask your doctor which approach would be best for your health.
Steamed or blanched vegetables:
The primary reason for using steamed vegetables is that steaming improves the utilization or the availability of the food nutrients. Use minimal raw vegetables except as a salad. Include at least one green vegetable daily.Eat a variety of any and all vegetables (except tomatoes and potatoes) that you can tolerate. It is best to try and eat mostly the lower carbohydrate (3, 6% sugar) vegetables. For example: 3% – asparagus, bean sprouts, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Swiss chard, cucumber, endive, lettuce, mustard greens, radish, spinach, watercress;6% – string beans, beets, brussels sprouts, chives, collards, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onion, parsley, red pepper, pumpkin, rutabagas, turnip, zucchini;15%: artichoke, parsnip, green peas, squash, carrot;
Poach, bake, steam, or broil deep-sea ocean fish. Cod, haddock, halibut, mackerel, sardines, summer flounder, wild Pacific salmon are preferred. Avoid shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, clam) and farm-raised fish.
Eat only the meat and not the skin of free-range or organically grown chicken or turkey. Bake, broil or steam.
Eat only 1 or 2 pieces of practically any fruit except citrus. If possible, it is preferred to eat the fruit baked (such as a baked apple or pear). Like the vegetables, try to eat mostly the low carbohydrate (low % sugar) fruits.
3% – cantaloupe, rhubarb, strawberries, melons;
6% – apricot, blackberries, cranberries, papaya, peach, plum, raspberries, kiwi;
15% – apple, blueberries, cherries, grapes, mango, pear, pineapple, pomegranate;
20+% – banana, figs, prunes, any dried fruit.
Occasionally maple syrup, rice syrup, barley syrup, raw honey or steviaAbsolutely no sugar, NutraSweet, or any other artificial sweetener is allowed.
Seeds and Nuts:
Grind flax, pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds and add to steamed vegetables, cooked grains, etc. You may also eat nut and seed butters, such as almond, cashew, sesame, etc.
For butter, mix together 1 pound of butter and 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (from a new dark jar). Whip at room temperature and store in the refrigerator.Use extra virgin olive oil for all other situations requiring oil.
Drink a MINIMUM of 6 to 8 glasses of spring, bottled, filtered or reverse-osmosis filtered water every day. Try to drink one glass per hour.
Eat one to two cups of cooked grains per day of those you tolerate, unless you have indications of high insulin levels such as overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.Allowed grains include: amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice, teff.
Eat a variety of any legumes that you are able to tolerate. Soak for 48-72 hours and cook slowly: split peas, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, fermented soy (tempeh or miso), mung beans, garbanzo beans, aduki and azuki beans.
Avoid the following foods
all animal milks
all animal cheeses
all corn products
commercial eggs (organic feee range are OK)
potatoes-red or white tomatoes
all wheat products and gluten containing grains breads
all fruit juices
all dried fruit
food fried foods
red meat (beef, pork)
all caffeinated teas, coffee