Inflammation – You could say it’s the “root of all illness.” It really is our body’s natural defense system. The body signals the immune system to heal or repair damaged tissue and protect against invaders like bacteria or viruses. The blood rushing to the area causes swelling and …. inflammation.
Why is it a bad thing?
In auto-immune diseases like arthritis, the body’s defense system, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. The effect is that the normally protective immune system damages its own tissues. This leads to chronic inflammation, stiffness, pain and lack of mobility with arthritis.
When the inflammation is in other organ systems the problem can be much more widespread. The heart, lungs, kidneys and bowels can be effected and the symptoms can lead to a tricky diagnosis or ‘mystery illness.’ Elevated blood glucose levels in pre-diabetes and diabetes can cause inflammation in the blood vessels and heart disease.
Doctors often prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs to help but they have other side effects. And you KNOW what I’m going to say…
FOOD = MEDICINE
Yes, food is a wonderful medicine for helping decrease inflammation. And no negative side effects! Eat LESS of the inflammatory foods and more of the anti-inflammatory to put you on the track to health!
Foods that cause inflammation
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts. Seeds like flax and pumpkin seeds.
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
- REALLY – eat as the RAINBOW! Not the Skittles candy-coated kind, but all colors of vegetables and fruits!
What does a day or a week of anti-inflammatory eating look like?
Below I’ve put together a *FREE* week of anti-inflammatory eating to include recipes I’ve posted on this site, some new ones below, simple meal combinations and some lunches and dinners that can be ordered from a restaurant menu.
|Sunday||Raspberry Smoothie||Veggie Chili||Chicken lettuce wraps|
|Monday||Steel Cut Oats with berries and toasted walnuts||Mexi Bowl: greens, black beans, pico/salsa, avocado||Grilled tuna, kale salad with pumpkin seeds and pomegranates|
|Tuesday||Quick veggie scramble||Chicken lettuce wraps||Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and sautéed garlic green beans|
|Wednesday||Raspberry Smoothie||BOWL: Kale salad with tuna and quinoa||Veggie Chili|
|Thursday||Steel cut oats with pineapple, pumpkin seeds and coconut||BOWL: Greens, broccoli slaw, chick peas, sunflower seeds, avocado||Baked glazed salmon, roasted broccoli with slivered almonds.|
|Friday||Quick veggie Scramble||BOWL: Quinoa, salmon, spinach.||Burgers: Grilled turkey burger on lettuce wrap, side spinach /strawberry salad|
|Saturday||Protein Pancakes||Tuna salad lettuce wraps.||Steak house: grilled chicken, sweet potato, steamed broccoli, side salad|
Quick Veggie Scramble
- avocado oil
- 1/4 chopped bell pepper
- handful of spinach
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 T grated cheese
- Heat the oil in a skillet.
- Add the pepper and saute until soft.
- Add the spinach and salsa then stir in the beaten eggs.
- top with cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb ground chicken, organic preferred
- 1/2 cup low sugar teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 c water – optional as needed.
- 1/2 cup diced green onion
- 2 cups broccoli slaw or cabbage based slaw blend
- broad leaf lettuce like butter, bib or romaine
- Cook the ground chicken in a skillet in 1 T avocado oil until cooked through.
- Stir in the teriyaki sauce and up to 1/4 c water to desired consistency. Some sauces are thicker than others.
- Serve chicken blend with green onions and slaw wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Health is cumulative. It’s the choices you make through out your day, week, month, year, etc. You don’t have to eat 100% Anti-Inflammatory to enjoy the benefits of these foods. Do the best you can to avoid the Inflammatory Foods and eat more of the colorful Anti-Inflammatory foods as well as drinking plenty of water, getting daily exercise and sleep and you’ll be well on your way to health and wellness, decreasing your inflammation!
Want help developing an anti-inflammatory eating plan for you or your loved one? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started!