Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inflammation & The Crap We Put In Our Maws To Make It Worse

Arthritis, Tendinitis, Bursitis, Periodontitis, allergies, Inflammatory Bowel Disease-- most of us are afflicted by inflammation at one time or another. It's pretty much common knowledge that anti-inflammatories in pill form such as Vioxx and Celebrex have lead to ulcers and bleeding of the stomach wall. Luckily for us, there are other options. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates supplied us with that wonderful quote I included above, so we might as well take his words to heart. I found a newspaper article in amNewYork yesterday that tells you a little of what foods to eat that will help inflammation, and which to avoid that will cause more of it. Here's what amNewYork had to say:

Papaya possesses powerful enzymes that reduce inflammation, such as papain, a protein-digesting enzyme. Together with other nutrients, papain helps reduce inflammation while aiding digestion.
For a really good Papaya recipe, check out my Pork Tenderloins with Spiced Papaya Chutney recipe on! And yes, that was totally a shameless plug. lol

Coldwater fish, such as salmon, anchovies, mackerel and sardines are an excellent source of eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA), the two potent omega-3 fatty acids that can dramatically reduce inflammation.
And just an FYI, that picture is Oven Roasted Miso-Seseame Salmon from The Savory Notebook, just one of the myriad of food blogs I like to take notes from.

Turmeric contains the powerful, non-toxic compound, curcumin. Studies show that the anti-inflammatory effect of this spice are as effective as any prescription drug on the market, but without any side effects. I can tell you from working with this in curries that it's very hot, and you shouldn't handle it with bare hands because if you rub your face or eye by accident, you'll feel like you just jabbed a lit cigarette into it. No joke.
Here's a great recipe that uses Turmeric: Spinach, Red Lentil and Bean Curry from

Berries are antioxidant powerhouses that provide anti-inflammatory protection against many diseases, such as cancer and dementia. That's why I'm always pushing my friends at the Valley to eat as much as possible. It's uber-good for you and they taste great. Go buy some right now!
Well, you can finish reading this post first.

Foods to avoid if you're having inflammation issues:

Fried Foods are a huge no-no for many reasons. Heating oil at high temperatures creates toxins that are destructive to healthy cells. Instead, bake, boil or steam food and add olive or grapeseed oil as a dressing after it's cooked.

Vegetables in the Nightshade family, such as tomatoes, white potatoes, red and green bell peppers, chili peppers, paprika, goji berries and eggplant can worsen arthritis pain. Nightshades contain high levels of alkaloids such as solanine, which causes the bones to excrete calcium and trace elements from the body when consumed in excess.
Learn more about Nightshades from this site.

Fatty meats and high fat cheeses such as ribs, bacon, lamb, duck, goose, sausages, hamburger, hot dogs, cheddar, brie and cream cheese contain saturated fats and are loaded with arachidonic acid, a powerful inflammatory agent when consumed in excess. Frankly, if you're that concerned about your diet, you should be eating most of this stuff anyway.

Shortening and refined baked goods (including vegetable shortening and margarine) may taste really good, but it's super bad for inflammation. Also, stay away from corn, safflower, peanut and other vegetable cooking and salad oils. These products almost always contain rancid oils and trans fatty acids.

For more information about foods that help inflammation that aren't mentioned here, check out Body Ecology's Top 10. Hope this post helps you. Feel free to leave any and all feedback!

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