After enduring many months in a pandemic, there appears to be no better time to strengthen your immune system by ingesting anti-inflammatory foods and supplements.
Within the last couple of years, I started adding foods and supplements into my daily diet/regimen that help to reduce inflammation, and have appreciated the benefits of very rarely experiencing illness, as well as a notable increase in my energy levels.
Quick Biology Lesson:
Inflammation is a part of your body’s normal response to infection or injury. It’s when your damaged tissue releases chemicals that tell white blood cells to start repairing. Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign, such as a chemical, invading microbe, or plant pollen, often triggering inflammation. Research shows that what you eat can affect the levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation in your blood. Sometimes inflammation can be low grade, spread throughout your body, and become chronic which consequently inflicts damage.
When Inflammation becomes your enemy, you become high risk to the following diseases:
• Heart disease
…and also are susceptible to the worsening of these symptoms:
• Inflammatory bowel syndrome
• Other autoimmune disorders
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from being thoughtful about what you put into your cart at the grocery store.
Rules of Thumb for Anti-Inflammatory Eating:
• Eat more plants – Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs.
• Focus on antioxidants – They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage. They’re found in colorful fruits and veggies like berries, leafy greens, beets and avocados, as well as beans and lentils, whole grains, ginger, turmeric and green tea.
• Get your Omega-3s – Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in regulating your body’s inflammatory process and could help regulate pain related to inflammation. Find these healthy fats in fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as smaller amounts in walnuts, pecans, ground flaxseed and soy.
• Eat less red meat – Red meat can be pro-inflammatory so reducing your intake is beneficial.
• Eliminate the Refined Carbs and Processed Sh*t – Soda, sugary cereals, fried foods, white bread and pastries are all pro-inflammatory offenders due to high levels of unhealthy fats and any high-fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.
• Limit Margarine, Shortening, and Lard
• Go easy(er) on the Booze – which causes inflammation in the intestines and impairs the body’s ability to regulate which worsens alcohol-related organ damage
Last year I had worked on a diet plan for my friend who had been diagnosed with Familiar Mediterranean Fever (FMF) which was causing severe abdominal pain, inflammation around the lining of his lungs, swollen joints, and chest pains, and when symptoms were at their worst, would land him in the hospital. He was on medication and suffering with this condition for 10 plus years, and after adding anti-inflammatory foods and supplements into his diet, reversed the disease within one month, and hasn’t taken a pill since. I had already began to introduce the below products into my diet, but witnessing his miraculous healing through adding anti-inflammatory foods, prompted me to dig deeper.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME:
For my daily breakfast, I add each of these to my So Delicious or Trader Joe’s brand of coconut milk yogurt:
• 1 TBL of Hemp Seed – reduces risk of heart disease, promotes healthy weight loss, aids healthy digestion, improves nail, hair and skin health
• 2 TBL of Ground Flaxseed – helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation, and fights cancer.
• 2 TBL of Ground Chia Seed – super high in antioxidants, levels of fiber, source of Omega-3s, great protein source, high in calcium
• 1 TSP of Missouri Bee Pollen – increases metabolism, detoxes liver, improves prostate health, helps allergies, reduce bad cholesterol, improve skin health. (Refrigerated section of Whole Foods)
• 1 TBL of Powdered Acai – loaded with anti-oxidants, improve cholesterol levels, boost brain function, can have possible anti-cancer effect, nutrient dense with high fats and low sugar.
• 2 TBL of Gelatin Protein– helps growth and repair of every cell in your body and support heart, kidneys, and liver. Callogen is high in glycine and proline which aren’t as prevalent in other protein supplements and aids In the production of amino acids(which diminishes after the age of 25).
• Handful of GF Paleogranola for texture (listed in the Gluten Free section)
I also eat an avocado a day(typically on GF toast mid morning) as they are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, which can dampen your body’s inflammatory response.