What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s innate immune response to any injury or pathogen that disrupts the natural balance of functioning in your body. Inflammation is the beginning of the healing process.
If you have a bodily injury, acute inflammation is short term and helps the body to enter repair mode. If inflammation is prolonged or chronic, however, it can damage to the body’s tissues. Inflammation in our patients has caused painful cramps, upset digestion, skin problems, and inhibits the efficiency of their reproductive health and conception.
Dealing with inflammation up front prevents long-term bodily harm and side effects of inflamed tissues, including impaired reproductive health. An easy way to maintain your immune system and reduce unwanted inflammation is through your diet. Plenty of foods have anti-inflammatory effects and can be incorporated into your meals as maintenance.
Changing your diet is intimidating, but don’t worry, lasting changes can start on in small steps. Start with these tips below and keep your acupuncturist updated on your progress. We also recommend journaling your meals to keep track of what you’re eating and the symptoms you notice disappearing or worsening after your meals. Bon appetite!
- Drink water. Drink water. Drink more water. And add lemons to your water.
- Organic foods are always preferable when it’s possible to get them. Chemicals and pesticides used to protect crops and animals from sickness can stay in the food and become culprits for inflammation in our bodies after we eat them.
- Fruits are the perfect anti-inflammatory solution to pep you up, particularly blueberries and papaya. Always check ingredients on dried fruit and make sure they don’t have preservatives and eat sweet fruits in moderation.
- Vegetables have so many excellent qualities. Include more broccoli, cauliflower and spinach in meals. Decrease your intake of nightshade vegetables, like tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant; they can have low-level inflammatory effects, especially affecting the joints.
- Kelp is excellent for you. Just be cautious with seaweed snack foods since they can contain vegetable oils, which irritate inflammation.
- Turmeric is an awesome herb to throw in your meals, on top of cooked food, or even in tea to fight inflammation.
- Ginger is spicy and slightly sweet. Better yet, it combats inflamed tissue while adding flavor.
- Reishi and Shiitake Mushrooms can be taken as an extract or capsule; while reishi mushrooms are hard to cook with, shiitake mushrooms can be easily cooked in your recipes.
- White or Green tea is recommended when you need hot or cold refreshment that treats your body right.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of your best bets for flavor-adding oils if on an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Healthy Omega-3 fats are so good for your body, your joints, tissues, and quality of life. Try eating more wild-caught salmon, walnuts, ground flaxseed, and avocados. If you fancy them, add anchovies, too!
Foods to Avoid
Some foods can aggravate or intensify inflammation. Try to avoid these!
- Sugar. We know you love it. We know it’s hard to cut out. But, it worsens the side effects of inflammation, causing uncomfortable symptoms that inhibit your progress.
- Red meat should be avoided or only eaten on occasion.
- Hydrogenated and polyunsaturated vegetable oils lurk in all kinds of snack foods and prepackaged items. Check labels and buy fresh stuff to avoid them.
- Fried foods don’t do anything good for you. Once you cut them, you’ll notice the cravings subsiding and see that inflammation going away, too.
- Coffee is addicting and the perk it gives you is misleading. The caffeine is drying and inflaming. Switch to tea and wean yourself off of that coffee - you can do it!
- Gluten sensitivity is all the hype these days. You might not know that gluten is often the cause of inflammatory problems. Eliminating gluten can seem daunting, but we’re here to help. Contact your acupuncturist about gluten-free eating tips.
- Processed cow’s milk and dairy products should be eliminated from your diet or greatly reduced.
- Food Preservatives wreak havoc on most people’s systems and don’t serve a nutritious purpose. The easiest way to avoid preservatives is to buy fresh stuff. Rule of thumb: shop on the outside of the grocery store, avoiding the aisles.