Inflammation is a major problem causer in the human body. Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, autism spectrum disorder, general “puffiness” and many other common ailments are due to chronic inflammation.
We’ve mentioned before that inflammation does have a positive role to play in human health. It is how we defend ourselves against foreign invaders. When you get a splinter for example. The tenderness, redness and eventual puss (if you leave it in that long) is your body’s way of expelling the splinter. But when it becomes chronic (i.e. it can’t expel the foreign invader), it’s a problem.
There are two ways to address chronic inflammation: One – stop taking in foreign invaders (i.e. don’t get a splinter). And two – ingest substances to turn down the inflammation response (foods or drugs).
Which foreign invaders are you taking in, maybe on a daily basis? Animal proteins; specifically, dairy products and the worst of the worst – cheese. Reducing, or even better eliminating, these “splinters” will allow your body to step down from high alert and reduce the number of “troops” running around fighting foreign invaders.
You body also creates inflammation, free radicals and the like. You can reduce that by taking in antioxidants and fiber. We’ve talked extensively about the role fiber (only found in plants) plays in removing toxins and reducing gut inflammation (remember that fiber supplements don’t create the same happy-gut benefits). Today, let’s focus on whole-foods that can blunt the inflammation caused by animal-based foods and keep inflammation in check.
White button mushrooms (cooked) – a cup a day has been shown to be great. We don’t eat that much. But we do include mushrooms in many of our meals.
Cherries – in this case sweet cherries (like Bing) are better than tart and yellow, while having fiber and nutrients, don’t have the same effect on inflammation. Fresh is best but frozen (how we get them) is a close second.
Berries – All berries are a great option. Don’t forget that avocado is a berry. Make sure you scrape all the dark green fruit off of the skin. That is where the highest concentration of antioxidants is found.
Cruciferous veggies – Bring on the broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussel sprouts (and many others)!
Spices – There are several spices that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric (don’t forget to add a pinch of black pepper to increase the bio-availability), cloves, ginger and rosemary top the list.
The first thing many of our clients notice when they start moving towards being whole-food plant-based is the reduction in puffiness in their face and how quickly their gut starts to feel better. For me (Robyn) I didn’t realize how miserable I really was until I stopped being miserable. I would encourage you to give it a try. You’ll be shocked how much better you’ll feel when your body isn't chronically inflamed.
If you are ready to address how your food choices are negatively affecting your health, let’s set up a free get-to-know-you chat. Send me an email and let’s get you on track to taking control of your stress eating. Health@RnRJourney.com
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.