Inflammation: How the foods you eat contribute

Nothing we put into our bodies goes unnoticed by our bodies.  Some food choices can have a great effect, giving us good nutrition, good energy, build muscle, and/or help us heal.  While other food choices give very little nutritional benefits and instead cause inflammation in our systems.

The more foods you consume that cause inflammation in your body, the more injuries/aches/pains you may deal with, the longer it takes to heal from those, and the worse you feel in your day to day life.  Knowing how different foods respond in your body can also be a huge factor into your performance when training and competing, regardless of your sport.

When talking about inflammation causing foods, the simplest place to start is with processed foods.  First off, processed foods contains a lot of chemicals in them, many ingredients that you cannot pronounce.  Simple rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce it or sounds like it was something that was produced in a lab, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Processed foods also contain added sugars, processed sugars, and artificial sweeteners.  Starting with sugars in general, sugar thrives off sugar, meaning the more you eat, the more your body craves.  As you put more sugars in your gut, you can develop Candida in your gut, which is a yeast that forms in the gut.  This therefore causes inflammation and can cause a lot of digestive issues as well as aches and pains in your body as your body is then not absorbing other nutrients well.

When it comes to processed sugars and artificial sweeteners, this can be two fold.  Going back to the chemicals part, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame contains a number of chemicals.  Research has shown some negative effects it can have on the body.  And research aside, I know a number of people who get migraines from these artificial sweeteners.

Other processed sugars are varied in which are good and which are bad.  Anything labeled “high fructose,” such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, is something that is highly processed and can cause negative reactions in your body.  When looking at added sugars on labels, stick to cane sugar, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and honey.  In my opinion, the worst of the “good” sugar options are agave nectar and stevia.  They are more processed than the others, but your body still responds well to them.

Other foods that can cause inflammation in people are foods that contain the common allergens, especially gluten and dairy.  Even though you don’t have an actual allergy to them, does not mean your body knows how to process them well.  Both of these are easy things to eliminate from your diet to see how you feel when you are off of them.

Now, other than eliminating some of these foods that can causing inflammation, there are some other things you can eat to help decrease inflammation.

Any foods with high antioxidants will help decrease inflammation.  Some of the better ones are berries, broccoli, and dark, leafy greens.

Pineapple contains bromelain, which helps to regulate the immune response, and thus helps to improve your immune system and decrease inflammation.

Coconut oil also has some natural anti-inflammatory properties, both in your body and in your digestive system.  It is a great oil to integrate with your cooking to add healthy fats as well as decrease inflammation.

Omega fatty acids are also very important for decreasing inflammation.  Your body does not naturally make these types of fatty acids, so they must be ingested.  Great options for adding Omega fatty acids to your diet include fish, especially the fattier fishes such as salmon and halibut, walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds.

Many spices and herbs also have great healing properties.  An easy way to incorporate this is to cook with a variety of spices, but you can also get things in supplement form. 

Curcumin (Turmeric) has been found to have greater response at decreasing inflammation than over the counter anti-inflammatory medication.  This one needs to be coupled with Bioperine (black pepper) in order to get the best absorption possible.  Ginger is also a great natural anti-inflammatory, as it is in the same family as curcumin.  These are easy to add to your diet when cooking, make tea with them, or take in supplement form.

Cinnamon can assist with decreasing inflammation as well, but does not do as well as curcumin or ginger.  This an be a simple one to add to foods when cooking or to your coffee or tea.

Now you have an idea of some simple things you can do through the foods you consume to start addressing inflammation issues you may be dealing with.  Email me at brianne@getyourfixpt.com with any further questions.

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