The Trumpet Medical Advisor
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Patricia Naeder, RN, BS.
July, 2011 Edition ew3
~ ~ ~ ~ ANTI INFLAMMATORY DIET ~ ~ ~ ~
Summer is here and fresh vegetables, fruit, and seafood are readily available. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is easier than ever. It calms and anti-inflames your body and will go a long way to foster good health for all of your organs, including the very important endothelium which is the lining of your blood vessels. Your circulation is tasked with carrying blood which carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your entire body.
An anti-inflammatory diet staves off a long list of diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, prostate BPH, auto-immune diseases, arthritis and even cancer.
For example, atherosclerosis, which is the inflammatory thickening of the walls of your blood vessels, is a silent disease. When your vessels are thickened your blood pressure goes up. Then the damaging process of accumulated debris and deposits onto your large and small vessels begins, and causes a cascade of health challenges.
The results of this inflammatory process are silent and steady. You feel nothing at first. Then your BP begins to go up. You may feel out of breath and out of shape.
Eventually the damage from the inflammation can cause vessel swelling, irritation, cracks, fissures, reddened swollen areas and bumps on your blood vessel walls, which attract platelets and other debris to accumulate there and produce a bump which adheres to the vessel wall and grows.
This accumulation and thickening of the inflamed vessels is called atherosclerosis, which used to be called “hardening of the arteries” This causes your vessel lumen space to gradually narrow, sending your blood pressure up.
Then your body responds to this increased stress by hypertrophy, or enlargement of anatomical structures. Your heart reacts to this strain and the walls of the heart muscle thicken, especially the left ventricle which has to work harder to pump against this increased back-pressure out in the body, in order to pump the blood out to your body. Blood carries oxygen in hemoglobin packages and serves your entire body including your brain, organs, muscles, bones, eyes, etc.
A thrombus can then form and then it can break off and travel. If it travels to your brain it is a CVA, a cerebral vascular accident or stroke. If it travels to your heart, it is an M.I. or myocardial infarction or heart attack. If it travels to your lungs it is a pulmonary embolism.
You can prevent some of these pathologies by:
1- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet.
2- Lowering your stress level and the cortisol and adrenaline chemicals that are released into your body, by blocking time for yourself to relax, and removing stressful situations and toxic people from your daily life.
3- Walking or taking moderate exercise 4X a week for half an hour or so.
There are many physicians, nutritionists, dieticians and health care experts that have anti-inflammatory recommendations but I will summarize some of their top suggestions.
- There are foods and supplements that are anti-inflammatory which will prevent the damaging inflammatory response in your body, and calm your anatomy down.
- Conversely there are foods which are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided.
Naturally you must tailor your choices to your specific health profile including your allergies, sugar metabolism of hyper or hypoglycemia, your genetics, your blood work, the medications that you’re on and your lifestyle, but generally the following is a good guide.
1- Eat fresh whole colorful unprocessed anti-oxidant vegetables and fruit. You can use the ORAC scale, Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, as a guide to the anti-oxidant capacity of specific foods. Free radicals running rampant within our bodies do a lot of damage. Eating anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory food blunts that pathological process.
2- Sugar and fats are pro-inflammatory foods. Avoid them. You can use the Glycemic Index to check sugar content. The object is to have an even blood level. Not to have bursts of sugar which will call on your pancreas to shoot out insulin which metabolizes sugar but stores fat, which is an inflammatory substance.
3- Try to make 50% of each meal colorful vegetables. They have very high anti-oxidant values. Oxidation at the molecular level inside our bodies, due to free radical scavenging, needs to be prevented as much as possible.
4- Lose weight if you are overweight. Fat is inflammatory.
5- Choose fruit for dessert rather than sugary pastry. Blueberries are super anti-oxidants. Red grapes contain resveratrol in their skins which is a strong anti-oxidant. Cherries have antiseptic properties. Kale is a super anti-oxidant. A yam can also be eaten at the end of a meal instead of sugar. Use the Glycemic Value Scale here.
6- Avoid saturated fats. Choose the healthy unsaturated fats instead. Reference the Cleveland Clinic’s suggestion that saturated fats from meats, butter and dairy should be substituted with fish, and nuts which contain Omega 3 which is one of the strongest anti-inflammatories. Olive oil is good.
If you are a vegetarian, instead of eating fish, eat what the fish eat in order to obtain their Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which is green leafy veggies. (they eat algae) You can take the plant derivative form of Omega 3 which is flaxseed oil or algal oil. Also eat seeds and nuts.
Omega 3 (DHA, EPA, alpha linoleic acid) the poly unsaturated oil is called an essential fatty acid because it is not made in the body. We must take it in by eating fish or by taking supplements.
7- Vitamins, now called anti-oxidants, are anti-inflammatory. Taking one multi-vitamin a day is good if eating some of the food is not possible. Shakes and smoothies are also great. If you are over 50 yrs old, take a multi-vit with trace minerals or eat foods which contain minerals.
8- Ask your physician if you should take the supplements Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carniitine to control your blood sugar metabolism.
9- Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of big meals. Grazing is a good method to keep your blood level even. A balanced meal might be Salmon, garden salad with lemon and olive oil, or any veggie. Then some melon or berries at the end.
Pro inflammatory foods such as saturated fats, starches, and sugars should be avoided. Potatoes, pasta, sugar, butter, candy and flour are inflammatory foods. Substitute for them.
Eat protein first if you can. It repairs tissue.
Hydrate yourself. Drink water, seltzer, or natural, sugar-free blender drinks. Do not drink any sugary drinks. Besides being pro-inflammatory and fattening, sugar leaches minerals from your body.
Eat whole grains like whole wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, and quinoa which are anti-inflammatory.
General food suggestions:
- Fresh fish, especially cold water.
- Fresh vegetables.
- Swiss chard.
- Bok Choi.
- Bell peppers.
- Collard greens.
- Mustard greens.
- Sweet potatoes.
- Carrots. (People who are allergic to carrots are usually allergic to celery).
- Berries. All.
- Cherries have antibiotic type properties, as do mushrooms.
- Whole wheat if you’re not gluten free.
- Ginger. Get a whole knuckle and grate in on everything. Great for the digestive system, as is pineapple which contains bromelain.
- Small dried red beans.
- Pinto beans.
- Black beans.
- Red kidney beans.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Lemons, limes.
- Yogurt with probiotics. Add flax seeds and berries.
- Eggs. Cook with oil instead of butter. You won’t notice the difference, and your arteries will thank you.
- Blueberries and kale are super anti-oxidants. Indicated for vision. Kale is actually sweet if you just eat it plain. You can also cut it up and pop it into a toaster oven and make kale chips.
Good news: Two servings a day of anti-inflammatory foods can reduce your body inflammation up to 50%.
When speaking to your Physician:
1- Ask if you can get a C Reactive Protein blood test. This test indicates the level of inflammation present in your body.
2- Also ask for an A1C blood test. This will give you the mean average of sugar present in your blood recently. An excellent guide to know whether to cut back on your sugar which is pro-inflammatory.
Enjoy your healthy foods!
Good Health to You!
column is for informational purposes only, and represents the opinion,
and reporting of the author only. Any discussions with the Author should
be presented to your own personal Physician for his/her Professional
opinion. It is not meant to substitute for seeing one's own Medical
Doctor, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist for Professional care.
This article is copywrited by the Author.