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9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

Migraines and headaches have long been known as symptoms of inflammation. A natural response to bring healing to an area. When you sprain or bruise any part of your body, it will become hot and inflamed.

Naturally, your body is sending energy to heal, however when there are multiple areas of inflammation, this can lead to chronic disease.

Inflammation has been given much attention of late. Due to scientists finding that inflammation is associated with most lifestyle-related chronic illnesses. In the west, lifestyle-related chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are the main cause of death.

Which is sad, because simply choosing better daily habits could save many lives.

For this reason, lifestyle medicine is on the rise, providing a global mainstream movement for change. One of the major contributing factors of the development of chronic illness, and thus inflammation, is dietary choices.

Additionally, low-grade inflammation (metaflammation) is characteristic of ageing. Healthcare focus has quite rightly shifted to how we can reduce inflammation by pursuing healthier lifestyles.

One such approach is ensuring that you are consuming adequate amounts of anti-inflammatory foods. In this article, we’ll delve into the 9 best evidence-based nutrients that have been proven to reduce inflammation. So you can pack your diet with these foods as part of your healthy routine.

What is Metaflammation?


Metainflammation is a low-grade form of systemic inflammation, associated with most, if not all modern lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

Metabolic and immune systems have a bidirectional relationship and are among the most fundamental requirements for survival.

These findings have changed the focus for much of the medical community, from simply clinical solutions to a more inclusive approach that takes into consideration lifestyle and environmental factors.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the foods that reduce inflammation…

1. Grapes


Grapes contain an antioxidant known as a “phytoalexin,” which has chemoprotective and therapeutic effects, especially on the skin.

Resveratrol is another active compound in grapes that’s been proven to have anti-ageing properties, especially related to the skin.

Other antioxidant properties that grapes provide, thanks to the compound resveratrol, mean that it is cardioprotective.

Curiously people living in Southern France have very low mortality rates from coronary heart disease (CHD), one of the biggest killers in western civilisation. Despite them consuming a high-fat diet and often smoking copious amounts of cigarettes.

This paradox has been attributed to their plentiful consumption of red wine, which is high in resveratrol.

2. Blackberry (Leaf and fruit)


Blackberries have anti-inflammatory properties that protect many systems of the body.

One 2013 study found that blackberries protect your teeth against some of the bacteria that cause oral disease. Blackberries may also improve brain health, according to a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The antioxidants in blackberries fight off free radicals that contribute to illness and ageing. 

Blackberry leaf tea has traditionally been used to treat mouth ulcers as well as sore gums and throat. The anti-inflammatory properties of blackberry leaf, in part, is due to the high vitamin C content.

3. Black cherry


Cherry (especially black cherry)  is rich in anthocyanins which are pigments known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Interestingly, anthocyanins give the cherries their vibrant colour, and also can be used as pH indicators. The deeper the colour of cherry, the more alkaline the cherry is.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between acidic foods and acid-forming foods that promote acidic conditions in the body.

Research has revealed that antioxidants in cherries can reduce both inflammation and pain. One study where volunteers drank cherry juice for 21 days in a row reduced pain in those suffering from osteoarthritis (OA).

When the scientists tested the blood of participants, the markers for inflammation had dropped significantly.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant antioxidant-rich yellow-orange root that’s anti-inflammatory, a free radical scavenger, and antimicrobial.

Used in Ayurveda to promote health and wellbeing for thousands of years. Curcumin is the bioactive, fat-soluble nutrient derived from turmeric root that contains many life-giving qualities.

Cellular degradation due to oxidative stress is prevalent in all forms of illness and injury, both chronic and acute. Free radicals are formed in high quantities after injury, strenuous exercise, excessive stress, or trauma, and all trigger the body’s inflammatory response.

Curcumin works to effectively promote a healthy anti-inflammatory response while also removing toxic free radicals.

Related9 Proven Turmeric Benefits for Skin, Arthritis, Diabetes & More

5. Green Tea (and certain mushrooms)


A lot of people have a cup of tea to unwind and relax, especially in Britain. Historically drinking tea has been synonymous with relaxation, and for good reason.

Science is now backing up this long-held belief. L-theanine, a compound in tea, discovered in 1949, was singled out as the amino acid responsible for tea’s soothing properties.

The supplement L-theanine is often taken by people to relieve stress, promote sleep and reduce anxiety. Although often it is chemically synthesised, and not derived from green tea.

If you’re looking for a natural way to relax and also reduce inflammation, green tea is a great source of L-theanine.

Specific mushrooms (Xerocomus badius) also contain L-theanine and polysaccharides that have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Related: A Guide to Mushrooms – Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

6. Blackcurrant


It has been confirmed that black currant is a potent anti-inflammatory, thanks to the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the fruit.

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that can reduce inflammation in the body. Blackcurrants also contain anthocyanin’s that further reduce inflammation.

In one study, participants could reduce their pain medication thanks to the consumption of GLA’s.

Concentrated blackcurrant supplements have also been found to boost the immune response in those who habitually exercised.

Allowing them the ability to exercise for longer, in turn, boosting athletic performance.

Blackcurrant seed oil was also used in another study of healthy older adults and was found to boost their immune system.

7. Redcurrant


Redcurrant is a powerhouse for healing and nutrition.

When consumed regularly, red currant has been found to reduce chronic illness, which is characterised by high levels of inflammation.

Again it’s the anthocyanins that give red currants their health-promoting properties.

This is especially true when you select red currents that are high in the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-rutinoside.

Interestingly, anthocyanins offer a wide range of healing properties including chemoprotection, boosting eye health and also healing blood vessels.

8. Elderberry


Elderberries are another fruit that you should consume if you want to reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that elderberries provide many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Elderberries have been used as a natural medicine for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Some studies have shown that drinking elderberry juice may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Elderberries are also bursting with nutrition, namely vitamin C, flavonols and anthocyanins.

Flavonols can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes of inflammation.

One amazing quality of consuming concentrated elderberry juice is that it boosts the immune system. In one study, elderberries were found to reduce the severity of flu symptoms.

Related5 Compelling Reasons to Eat Berries

9. Plum

Plums are bursting with antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals that cause inflammation.

In particular, plums contain high amounts of polyphenols that boost bone health and have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in some studies.

Plums contain double the amount of polyphenols when compared to peaches.

In one study polyphenols were found to reduce inflammatory markers associated with lung and joint diseases.

Plums may also help with reducing blood sugar, despite being high in carbs. Similarly, plums are very acidic (pH 3) but don’t create an acidic environment in the body.

In Conclusion

Berries are some of the most healing foods on the planet. Especially when consumed daily.

If you concentrate berry juice, then you will be taking an elixir for health. It is important to note, however, that regular juice concentrate bought in a supermarket is filled with sugar and not a suitable form of berries.

The juice must be extracted and concentrated in a specific way to retain its healing qualities.

All berries offer a wide range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation, and cleansing the blood to enhancing vision and boosting skin health. Reducing inflammation protects cells from damage by allowing them the freedom to move and thrive.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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hands holding up letters which spell ENZYMES

Systemic Enzymes for Cleansing Blood and Reducing Inflammation

Systemic Enzymes for Cleansing Blood and Reducing Inflammation

Enzymes are active proteins found in all living cells. They perform an incredibly important role in our bodies by speeding up the chemical reactions that keep us alive, so without them, we couldn’t survive.

Enzymes are essential for our metabolism, respiration, digestion, energy production, nerve and muscle function, as well as our body’s ability to maintain and repair itself.

We naturally produce enzymes ourselves, but their production reduces as we age. To boost our enzyme potential, we can provide our bodies with digestive enzymes by eating raw, sprouted and fermented food; and we can take supplemental enzymes.

What are Systemic Enzymes?


Systemic enzymes look after overall health by supporting vital bodily functions. In this way, amongst other things, they can:

• Cleanse the blood

• Reduce inflammation

• Modulate the immune system

• Help to protect us from infection, illness and disease

• Break down toxins and allergens

• Remove fibrin, a fibrous protein that in excess can contribute to blood clotting, cancer development, high blood pressure, inflammation and excessive scar tissue.

Some people supplement with systemic enzymes to help with specific issues, such as a replacement for NSAIDs to reduce swelling and pain. Others use them to support their general health and wellbeing.

Proteolytic Enzymes for Overall Health and Wellbeing


We produce proteolytic enzymes in the pancreas and stomach in the form of peptidases, proteases or proteinases.

They are well known for their use as digestive enzymes, aiding gut function and helping digestive issues such as heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.

However, when taken on an empty stomach between meals, they can also have a systemic enzyme effect, playing a vital role in the body’s maintenance, repair and function. For example, bromelain (found in pineapples) is a proteolytic enzyme that has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and may also protect against cancer.

The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Systemic Enzymes


Inflammation has its place when it comes to protecting your body from infection and illness. But problems occur when inflammatory processes get out of balance and out of control, leading to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

Circulating immune complexes (CICs) in the blood are associated with autoimmune diseases including lupus, vasculitis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, they are also found in healthy individuals and are needed as part of the early stage of healing.

It’s the modulation of the CIC response that’s vital, because if they are not cleared from the tissues and blood, CICs can form deposits throughout the body, and that’s what can lead to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease.

Systemic enzymes can regulate the CICs and reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines such as Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

While the exact reasons for, and mechanism of action of, systemic enzymes is not entirely understood, this ability to modulate the immune system can partly explain why they can be effective anti-inflammatories.

According to Dr Mercola, they also help to support immunity by dispelling foreign proteins, protecting us from viral invasion, bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi.

There are several studies to support the use of proteolytic enzymes for the reduction of inflammation, some of which are listed below.

Enzymes for Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis


Pooling of data from several studies shows that oral supplementation of bromelain can reduce the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

Although more research is needed into the correct dosage, longevity of treatment and reaction times, another review of ten studies showed bromelain to have great promise in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

These studies focused on osteoarthritis of the knee and included one trial published in 2000 which compared a proteolytic enzyme preparation containing bromelain with standard NSAID treatment.

The systemic enzyme therapy (SET) equalled the effect of conventional anti-inflammatories, showing a reduction in pain of 80% in the participants during three weeks of treatment and four weeks of follow-up.

This is not the only study showing comparative results in knee osteoarthritis between bromelain and NSAID medication.

A 2004 study on 105 patients with knee osteoarthritis divided them into two groups over six weeks. One half took an oral proteolytic enzyme-rutosid or ERC (a combination of bromelain, trypsin and rutin) while the other half were prescribed typical anti-inflammatory medication.

Once again, the systemic enzymes equalled the NSAIDs in their analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, with a slight superiority in the results of the enzyme combination group.

Patient tolerability of the ERC was good, and the researchers hypothesised that it could be used as a safe alternative to ‘NSAIDs such as diclofenac in the treatment of painful episodes of OA of the knee’.

Given that there is a link between NSAID use and heart attack risk, with the risk shown to be highest in those taking higher doses, it is wise to consider an alternative.

Enzymes for Muscle Stiffness, Soreness and Damage

Recent research published by Tobias Marzin et al. in 2017 confirmed “a substantial and significant effect of systemic enzyme therapy on fatigue, muscle soreness and damage, as well as immunological and metabolic biomarkers, in male sportsmen with medium performance level (mostly runners and general athletes).”

The researchers used a product called Wobenzym which contains bromelain, trypsin, pancreatin, papain, chymotrypsin and rutin. In this randomised, placebo-controlled, two-stage clinical trial, selected male subjects were split into two groups, the first with less strength training and the second with more.

Then systemic enzyme therapy was orally administered for 72 hours before, and 72 hours after, a day of ‘exhaustive eccentric exercise’.

While the study didn’t show any significant improvements in muscle soreness and strength in the men who had a higher level of strength training, it did show a marked reduction of inflammatory biomarkers across the board for all training levels.

The researchers saw this as an indication of SET’s ability to support the inflammatory processes associated with muscle recovery and suggested that clinicians recommend its use for muscle soreness and fatigue, and for negating any potential muscle damage in endurance athletes.

What’s interesting is that the researchers discussed how inflammation contributes to fibrosis (the thickening and scarring of connective tissue) which impairs muscle function, and that it is a common practice to use drugs to reduce it.

The problem is that there is a fine line between inflammation protecting injured tissues to ensure recovery vs inflammation hindering recovery by causing more damage to the muscles.

Standard anti-inflammatories are not sensitive or intelligent enough to strike the right balance, and so they stop inflammation altogether, leading to a potentially ineffective or harmful course of action.

Step in systemic enzyme therapy, which can intuitively modulate inflammation, allowing things to progress naturally without any harmful side effects.

A small 2004 study administered an oral systemic enzyme combination containing trypsin, papain, bromelain, amylase, lipase, lysozyme and chymotrypsin to 10 pairs of runners.

The couples received four tablets a day or a placebo, for four days, starting one day before running downhill. Positive results were found for muscle soreness and the speed of healing in those taking the systemic enzyme supplement.

Another small study in 2009 administered a proteolytic enzyme blend including bromelain with added turmeric extract and vitamin C to healthy and untrained subjects, ranging in age from 18–45 years. After 30 days there was a significant reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), pain and tenderness post-exercise vs the placebo group.

Those taking the supplement also had reduced inflammatory markers, including CRP, as well as decreased muscle damage.

Proteolytic Enzymes for Symptoms of IBS and IBD


Circulating immune complexes are found in those suffering from irritable bowel disease, and this may partly explain the reason why systemic enzymes have shown some potential in the reduction of symptoms in both IBS and IBD.

Bromelain has shown promise in reducing inflammation in those with IBD, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Papain has also been shown to ease the symptoms of IBS, improving bloating and constipation.

Purifying Blood, Fortifying the Heart & Immune System


Systemic enzymes are prolific blood purifiers. We already know that they can help to clear inflammation-causing CICs from the blood, but systemic enzymes can also break down foreign inflammatory and blood-thickening proteins including excess fibrin, the fibrous protein which can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke, harmful blood clotting, cancer development, high blood pressure, inflammation and excessive scar tissue.

SET can also oxygenate the blood and increase circulation by breaking down debris still circulating in the blood including dead blood cells, bacteria, viruses and toxins.

In fact, systemic enzymes could potentially play a significant role in the treatment of heart disease as high levels of harmful bacteria in the blood have been cited as a potential cause by French researchers.

In the words of Michael Sellar, editor of ‘Enzyme Digest’, systemic enzymes can ‘inhibit aggregation of platelets, break up fresh clots and accelerate blood flow. Local blood circulation is normalized, the chemicals that give rise to pain are eliminated more quickly, oxygenation is improved and oedema is reduced.’

He suggests that systemic enzyme therapy could be useful and effective in treating cardiovascular disorders such as thrombosis, phlebitis and varicose veins

Introducing Multiple Proteolytic Enzyme Concentrate by Progurt

The International Probiotics Institute in Australia specialises in creating high-quality probiotic and gut health supplements under the trading name of Progurt.

Made from a superior blend of fermented vegetable enzymes, their Multiple Proteolytic Enzyme Concentrate is specifically helpful for optimising blood flow and nighttime circulation. Each tub contains a one-month supply and it is best taken in the evening before sleep.

Although chiefly beneficial for blood flow and circulation, making it especially useful for both ageing individuals and athletes, Enzymes – isolated from fermented plant bacteria – is also recommended for people battling inflammatory or skin conditions. Like all Progurt products, it is extremely pure.

While it may contain traces of soy, Enzymes is free from wheat, milk, egg, gluten, shellfish and traces of nuts. It is also suitable for vegetarians. Enzymes can be taken on its own or combined with Progurt’s gut health-focused products such as Probiotic, Prebiotic, Chloride and pH Caps.

Conclusion

Hopefully we have helped to describe the incredibly important role enzymes play in our bodies. As mentioned at the outset, without them we could not survive – and their ability to break down rogue proteins in your blood and soft tissues is second to none.

To combat the gradual reduction in natural enzyme production that inevitably comes with age, make sure to eat plenty of raw fermented food (preferably organic) and, if necessary, use a supplement.

This article is written by Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, a Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

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Suffering with Chronic Inflammation? Try These Top 5 Foods for Balancing Acidity

Suffering with Chronic Inflammation? Try These Top 5 Foods for Balancing Acidity

Acidity, or an abnormal pH blood level, cannot be seen; however, it is one of the most dangerous conditions known to the human body. As the main cause of chronic inflammation, acidity almost always leads to some type of disease, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, as well as symptoms such as headaches, coughing, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and frequent colds.

Luckily, acidity can be balanced through diet and healthy lifestyle choices. For example, highly processed food and sugar contributes to acidity while the antioxidants in alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables, combat it.

The following is a list of the top five foods for balancing acidity and disease prevention.

1) Avocados

Toxins do not only come from food. They can be found in the air we breathe, electromagnetic toxicity, clothing, cookware, cleaning products, and pesticides. Avocados are one of the world’s richest sources of glutathione, a potent antioxidant that can detoxify environmental pollutants.

Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a key role in aging and the pathogenesis of many diseases, including kwashiorkor, seizure, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, HIV, AIDS, cancer, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes (Wu et al, 2004).

Glutathione has been associated with individuals who are in excellent health. A recent study tested 87 white women who ranged in age from 60-103 years who reported they felt healthy. These women were given physical examinations, clinical chemistry profiles, psychosocial assessments, and glutathione blood levels. The evaluation was performed in three waves over a five year period. The findings were compared to the results of individuals with normal national data. The results verified that these healthy women were in top physical and mental health. The study also found that the women had high levels of glutathione in their blood (Lang et al, 2002).

2) Beets

Dietary inorganic nitrate is present in numerous green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, celery, and broccoli, but is especially abundant in beets. Recent studies have revealed that nitrate consumption in the form of beet root juice can significantly elevate plasma nitrite levels that influence blood pressure and exercise tolerance (Kolluru & Kevil, 2012).

Beets also contain bioactive agents, including betaine and polyphenols, which help to protect the liver, an essential organ for detoxing the body and restoring proper pH levels.

3) Blackberries

Blackberries are high in gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, a known chemopreventative, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. They are also notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and the essential mineral manganese. In fact, British folk medicine uses blackberries to treat a number of health issues, including dysentery, colitis, labor pain, and toothaches.

Additionally, blackberries may have positive effects on brain health. A recent animal study using approximately 344 19-month old rats that were fed a diet of 2 percent blackberries were found to have improved motor skills on three tasks that rely on balance and coordination: the accelerating rotarod, wire suspension, and the small plant walk. Blackberry-fed rats also had significantly greater working, or short-term, memory performance than the control rats.

4) Spirulina

Spirulina may be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It has a unique blend of nutrients that no single source can offer, including a wide spectrum of prophylactic and therapeutic nutrients that include B-complex vitamins, minerals, proteins, gamma-linolenic acid and the super anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, trace elements, as well as a number of unexplored bioactive compounds (Kulshreshtha et al, 2008).

Spirulina is able to stimulate the whole human physiology by exhibiting therapeutic functions such as antioxidant, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, Anti-allergic and anti-diabetic. It also appears to promote the growth of intestinal micro flora as well.

Recent studies have shown that spirulina also significantly increases exercise performance, fat oxidation, and glutathione concentration.

5) Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain, a mixture of proteolytic enzymes typically derived from pineapple stem, which decreases production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and leukocyte homing to sites of inflammation (Hale et al, 2011). 

Be sure to eat pineapple as a whole fruit, or drink fresh pineapple juice, as the anti-inflammatory components of pineapple are heat-sensitive. Fresh pineapple juice can also remove cell surface molecules known to affect leukocyte migration and function. 

Bromelain may also be effective in eliminating physical symptoms and improving general well-being in otherwise healthy adults suffering from mild knee pain. Therefore, pineapple may be effective in treating joint pain associated with acidity.

References

Hale, L., Chichlowski, M., Trinh, C., & Greer, P. (2011). Dietary supplementation with fresh pineapple juice decreases inflammation and colonic neoplasia in IL-10-deficient mice with colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 2012-2021.

Kolluru, G., & Kevil, C. (2012). Beets, Bacteria, and Blood Flow: A Lesson of Three Bs. Circulation, 1939-1940.

Kulshreshtha, A., J., A., Jarouliya, U., Bhadauriya, P., Prasad, G., & Bisen, P. (2008). Spirulina in Health Care Management. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 400-405.

Lang, C., Mills, B., Lang, H., Liu, M., Usui, W., Richie, J., ... Murrell, S. (2002). High blood glutathione levels accompany excellent physical and mental health in women ages 60 to 103 years. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 413-417.

Verma, R., Gangrade, T., Punasiya, R., & Ghulaxe, C. (2014). Rubus fruticosus (blackberry) use as an herbal medicine. Medknow Publications, 101-104.

Wu, G., Fang, Y., Yang, S., Lupton, J., & Turner, N. (2004). Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health. 489-492.

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How to Prevent Inflammation in 8 Simple Steps

How to Prevent Inflammation in 8 Simple Steps

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to a stimulus. It is responsible for many chronic diseases and is caused by pathogens (bad cells) such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and injury. There are two types of inflammation.

Acute inflammation starts rapidly and becomes severe quickly, such as in the case of injury. Chronic inflammation is long term and has likely been building up for months or years. This type of inflammation is responsible for serious health conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Diet and lifestyle play a major role in the presence of inflammation. Making healthy choices can significantly reduce existing inflammation as well as prevent further occurrence. The following is a list of the eight best ways to prevent inflammation.

1) Address Your Sugar Addiction

Sugar consumption has been linked to a weakened immune system. Refined dietary sugars result in an overgrowth of bad bacteria, such as C. difficile and C. perfringens, by increasing bile output (Brown et al, 2012).

Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables alters gut bacteria as the high amounts of fiber result in an increased short chain fatty acid production, which decreases pH level in the intestines. This prevents the growth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract, where 70 percent of the immune system lives.

2) Remove inflammatory oils and fats.

Higher intakes of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are associated with elevated concentrations of inflammation, whereas higher intakes of non-hydrogenated oils are associated with lower plasma concentrations of these biomarkers. 

To reduce inflammation, eliminate highly processed oils that are rich in trans-fats, such as partially hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola and other vegetable oils. Replace them with cold pressed oils, such as coconut, avocado and olive oils.

3) Add in stress-relieving exercise.

A study out of the University of Cambridge in Britain found that a lack of exercise causes twice as many deaths as obesity, making exercise more important than once thought. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. Researchers found that brisk walking for 20 minutes per day can help reduce the risk of premature death by 30 percent. 

Furthermore, stress and anxiety can have a negative effect on the gut. When left untreated, stress and anxiety suppresses the immune system and increases your chance for developing chronic inflammation.

4) Consider cutting gluten and dairy.

Gluten and dairy are two irritants that may be causing inflammation regardless of an individual’s tolerance level to them. Both foods are highly acidic, which affects pH levels in the blood and creates an acidic environment in the body where inflammation can thrive. 

In place of milk and cereal for breakfast, try a smoothie made with almond or coconut milk, a cup of blueberries and a cup of spinach.

Bake your own energy bars with coconut flour in place of a store bought bar for an afternoon snack. At breakfast and dinner, skip on the bread and experiment with more vegetables.

5) Remove processed foods.

Eating a diet rich in processed foods is a major contributor to inflammation. Processed foods produce an inflammatory microbiota in the upper gastrointestinal tract. 

For example, sweetened fruit juices contain high levels of fructose, and levels are significantly greater than those found in whole, fresh fruits. 

The best way to eliminate processed foods from your diet is to replace them with whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything canned, boxed or packaged.

6) Increase sleep.

According to Tom et al, 2009, an estimated 43 percent of women in the United Kingdom have experienced trouble sleeping. Sleep is the way your body repairs itself. 

Long term effects of sleep deprivation have been associated with an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke (Colten et al, 2006).

To increase sleep, make an effort to go to bed sooner. Turn off electronics and consider practicing relaxation or breathing techniques to help you fall asleep quicker.

7) “Eat” your vitamins.

Although taking a daily multivitamin certainly isn’t a bad idea, some nutrients are better absorbed when they come from food.

For example, synthetic and food-derived vitamin C is chemically identical. However, fruit and vegetables are rich in numerous micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), dietary fiber, and phytochemicals (e.g., bioflavonoids), and the presence of some of these may affect the bioavailability of vitamin C (Carr et al, 2013). 

To reduce inflammation, eat real fruits and vegetables and utilize supplements as a back-up plan.

8) Love your bacteria.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that promote healthy bacteria in the gut. Ingesting probiotics can affect the composition of the resident gut microbiota. They may also have more direct effects on the immune system and the permeability of the mucosa. Low grade inflammation may cause lipopolysaccharides (a strain of bacteria) to leak out into the body. Probiotics may improve the gut-barrier membrane and prevent bad bacteria from leaking in to the GI channel.

Certain medications, such as antibiotics and NSAID’s, kill good gut bacteria, causing abdominal pain and diarrhea. Probiotics help restore good bacteria to the gut. Probiotics can be taken in the form of a daily supplement. They are also naturally occurring in fermented foods and by eating foods rich in fructooligosaccharides you will be helping to feed and continue growing the ones you already have inside your gut.

References

Brown, K., Decoffe, D., Molcan, E., & Gibson, D. (2012). Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Nutrients, 1095-1119.

Carr, A., & Vissers, M. (2013). Synthetic or Food-Derived Vitamin C—Are They Equally Bioavailable? Nutrients, 4284-4304.

Colten, H., & Altevogt, B. (2006). Cover of Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation. National Academy of Sciences.

Tom, S., Kuh, D., Guralnik, J., & Mishra, G. (2009). Patterns in trouble sleeping among women at mid-life: Results from a British prospective cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 974-979.

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assortment of fruit, veg

Consuming Any of These 6 Foods Is Keeping Your Body Inflamed

6 Foods that keep your Body Imflammed

Poor food choices are everywhere. Go through a typical day of any Westernized culture and you probably had coffee with milk and sugar for breakfast, a doughnut on the way to work, fast food for lunch and some type of alcoholic drink with dinner. While hitting up the pound or saver menu at McDonald’s may seem like a good financial decision, the impact that bad food has on your health will catch up sooner or later, most likely in the form of inflammation.

Inflammation and Disease

Damaging inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases. If left untreated or if the stimulus continues, such as it would in making poor daily food choices, inflammation can last for years.

The body is equipped to handle a small amount of inflammation; however, in many cases this leads to tissue damage. Damaged tissue is repaired by replacement of cells of the same type or connective tissue. In some cases, tissue is not able to be repaired and the inflammation remains.

Diseases Associated with Inflammation

Inflammation may be the cause of such diseases as asthma, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Additionally, a number of chronic diseases have inflammatory components, such as atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and perhaps even Alzheimer's disease (Drake 2007).

The Top 6 Inflammatory Foods

The following is a list of the top six inflammatory foods, and a list of foods they may be hidden in:

1) Processed sugar.

Present in most packaged and baked foods, soda, sports drinks, condiments such as ketchup, and foods that claim to be healthy, such as granola or nutrition bars. Instead, use your own sugar in a natural form of raw local honey, maple syrup, fruit, and coconut or date sugar.

2) Sodium.

Like sugar, sodium can be found in most packaged foods and soups in order to extend shelf life. A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods that do not spoil. Although there are exceptions to any rule, it’s also a good idea to avoid canned foods. Research shows that a diet high in salt is associated with enhanced inflammation and targets organ damage by increased albuminuria in treated hypertensive patients independent of any blood pressure effect (Yilmaz et al, 2012).

3) Wheat flour.

Studies show how the daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains could contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases by triggering inflammation, especially in those with digestive disorders. A better choice for baking is coconut flour, which has health boosting properties for the gut and acts as an anti-inflammatory food.

4) Unhealthy Oils (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower oil, partially hydrogenated oil).

These oils are used in many restaurants because they are cheap. So next time you’re dining out be sure to ask how your food was prepared. A better option is coconut oil, which helps regulate blood sugar, improves digestive health and immune function, and has antimicrobial properties to fight off viruses and bacteria.

5) Cow dairy.

Humans were never meant to consume cow’s milk. In fact, the milk of cows used to make humans sick until people who lived around cows evolved the ability to digest milk as adults (Pollan 2008). A better choice is almond milk, which has an alkalising effect on the body, or coconut milk.

6) Alcohol.

Alcohol intake results in compromised immunity and increased risk of infectious disease. Alcohol is especially irritating to the digestive tract. Water is always the best choice for hydration. In social settings, consider herbal tea, which can be relaxing and healing.

Treating Inflammation with Detoxification

To kick start a healthy nutrition program, consider a detox program to eliminate toxins and re-boot the palate to crave healthier foods.

A juice or smoothie cleanse can give your digestive system a much needed rest and provide instant energy as foods that are already partially broke down are easier absorbed into the blood stream. For added nutrition, consider supplementing with a superfood powder blend to get everything you can out of your cleanse.

Antioxidants are the all stars during a cleanse. They bind to free radicals, or toxins, and prevent them from attaching to other cells, helping to safely remove them from the body via sweat or a bowel movement.

A toxic internal environment can lead to impaired tissue and organ function, which slows down metabolic function. Detoxing is an effective way to eliminate inflammation that may have been stored in the body for months.

Furthermore, a cleanse is a great opportunity to make permanent changes to your diet. After a cleanse, slowly reintroduce healthy solid foods back into your diet. Processed or junk foods should not sit well after a cleanse as you have created a clean slate in your body.

To take full advantage of your new clean start, be sure to fill your diet with foods that fight inflammation, such as green leafy vegetables, coconut oil and avocado.

References

Drake, V. (2007). Two Faces of Inflammation. Oregon State University.

Karr, J. (2015, January 4). The Top 6 Inflammatory Foods How To Detox From Them.

Pollan, M. (2008). In defense of food: An eater's manifesto. New York: Penguin Press.

Yilmaz, R., Akoglu, H., Altun, B., Yildirim, T., Arici, M., & Erdem, Y. (2012). Dietary salt intake is related to inflammation and albuminuria in primary hypertensive patients. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1214-1218.

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