THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET
by Bradford S. Weeks, M.D.
Corrective Health Institute Medical Education Services – CHIMES
WHY BOTHER WITH AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET?
The anti-inflammatory diet is the smartest way to reduce inflammation, which is a condition, which drives ALL chronic degenerative illnesses. The wise doctors in the days before junk food knew this truth about nutrition: “When the food is healthy, the medicine is worthless. When the food is unhealthy, the medicine is worthless.” Be smart: Make food your medicine by choosing smart and healthy foods. Eat this anti-inflammatory diet for 3 months faithfully and reclaim your health.
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK
Too many uninformed and overly trusting people spend their hard-earned money on pain medications including anti-inflammatory medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) yet at the same time eat inflammatory foods – taking one step forward and two steps backwards. These poor people are stepping on the gas and the break at the same time and burning out their immune system.
Inflammation is not a bad thing. The miraculous human body uses inflammation to kill parasites and other infectious situations. Acute inflammation – the creating of an intense but short term inflammatory process is an indicator of health. But chronic inflammation, the wearisome process where the immune system is up regulated and continually releasing inflammatory cytokines and other defensive chemicals, is indeed an indication of poor health. Unregulated and suboptimal health processes as reflected by persistent inflammation indicates a bad prognosis because of what solders call “friendly fire” – the immune system attacks ones own tissue and joints. This is how auto-immunity happens as well as how cancer spreads.
All chronic ailments from A to Z are made worse by chronic inflammation: Alzheimer’s disease, Asthma, Bursitis, Back ache, Cancer, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes, Eczema, Fibromyalgia, Gout, Heart disease, Hypertension, Inflammatory bowel disease Irritable bowel syndrome all the way to O obesity and Z: Zits – all these illnesses are driven or made worse by inflammation. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and you are doing your best to correct the problem.
WHICH ARE THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS?
First of all – it is high time to eat only organic. Yes it is more expensive, but failing to eat organic is really expensive: its called illness. Glyphosate, which saturate genetically modified foods (GMOs), are highly inflammatory and disrupt the stomach and intestinal lining creating leaky gut syndrome and auto-immunity. So all the food recommendations which follow must be understood to be organic and not drenched in pesticides and food preservatives. Eat only food which you can see was once growing in nature. Chicken wings? OK. Chicken nuggets? Nope! (Who knows what was put in that piece of chicken-ish food?) How about Pork Ribs? Yes. Hot dog? Nope. (Again, what is INSIDE that thing?) Shop the periphery of the supermarket where real food is offered. Eat organic non-GMO seeds and nuts which are the most concentrated food in nature. Seeds have 20-30X more nutrients in them than is found in the flesh of the fruit or vegetable. Seeds are the nutritional treasure chest and yet you and I have thrown away the seeds for years! No more. Great to sprout seeds – wheat grass, sunflower seeds – so many choices to sprout! The other hidden treasure of seeds can be found in your spice rack! Fresh ground pepper anyone? Fresh ground nutmeg on your coffee? Fennel, coriander, sesame – all these seeds are highly beneficial. The revolution in nutrition is to “eat the seeds!”
Although meats were used in the paragraph above to describe the difference between real food and processed and preserved junk food with all sorts of sordid additives, meat itself is quite inflammatory so it should be minimized in an anti-inflammatory diet. Milk too – in fact all dairy must be stopped – except moderate amounts of butter (organic again!) because butter’s butyrate is beneficial. (Say that 3 times fast!)
Stop buying and eating extracted seed oils. These convenient, bottled oils are already turning rancid and are adulterated being, as they are, processed and preserved. If you are not eating and chewing thoroughly the nutrient-dense seeds and nuts, try this: freeze various organic non-GMO seeds in individual glass containers and grind a helping of each every morning in a second-hand coffee grinder. Why freeze them? Not just to preserve them, but also because frozen seeds are brittle and will grind finely whereas grinding room temperature is a gooey mess which doesn’t completely grind the nutrients dense seed husks to the point of bioavailability. You want to eat the husk too – highly nutrient dense with minerals and immune-protective glycoproteins.
Processed foods are preserved with adulterated omega-6 fatty acids which are used because they impart oil quality to the food but cannot oxidize because they are already destroyed by hydrogenation (think “hydrogenated” oils). Avoid food with these preservative oils: canola oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil etc.) Why? Because they, like fish and krill oil are adulterated and simply screw things up at the molecular and cellular level – they suffocate the cells.
SACRED COW, SACRED FISH OIL
Fish oil capsules are the world’s most popular nutritional supplement. Why am I strongly recommending against eating fish oil? See below. But what about eating fish, itself? You can eat and enjoy moderate amounts of WILD fish – avoid farm raised fish. Being a meat, fish is somewhat inflammatory but the real toxin is fish oil in capsules. Stop all fish and krill oil capsules. Why, because while we can agree that, although we can agree that they are healthier than oxidized French fried oils or deep-fried oils, they still are unhealthy since they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and not the more healthy and valuable omega 6 fatty acids. Your cell membranes are constructed mostly of omega 6 and not of omega 3 fatty acids. fish oil capsules suffocate the cell membrane and create anaerobic fermentation and inflammation. Seeds oils put out that fire and allow for cellular respiration and great oxygen saturation and energy creation at the level of the mitochondria.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: AVOID these FOODS
White sugar (sucrose)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High starch carbohydrates (which convert to sugar)
Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese).
Extracted and adulterated (oxidized) seed oils.
Too much meat and avoid, in particular, corn fatted beef.
The last big category of food to avoid is refined foods in general and refined grains (such as those found in white bread and many processed foods) in particular. They burn you up with inflammation. Eat groats (that is the oat grain that is unfortunately either rolled or steel cut before you have eaten it – both actions are oxidizing and inflammatory.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: ENJOY these FOODS
Always have organic celery on hand and nibble on that when hungry
Organic seeds including coconut and other anti-inflammatory seeds (black cumin seed, grape seed and black / red raspberry seeds).
Organic nuts (raw – not dry roasted which are thereby oxidized)
Organic healing herbs – these are fabulous! Investigate myrrh for example (propolis)
Organic vegetables (not vegetable juices) – especially green leafie veggies but all colors
Organic fruits (not fruit juices as these are too concentrated)
Organic grains (low glycemic like quinoa, spelt, couscous, brown rice, groats)
Raw honey or raw cane juice (not white sugar or high fructose corn syrup or any artificial sweeteners: aspartame)
Fermented foods (sauerkraut, Kim chi, pickles, tempeh)
Fermented drinks (kombucha, pickle juice)
PROTEIN is healthy in moderation:
wild fish (not farmed fish) – but watch out for mercury
organic eggs (yes eggs are healthy!)
organic turkey, chicken, grass-fed beef and pork
organic seed based protein powder is highest in branch chain amino acids which help with weight loss and muscle building and fight cachexia.
Avoid whey protein powder (dairy-derived and inflammatory)
Avoid soy powder – most of GMO.
IS YOUR ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET WORKING?
There are certain inflammatory markers which are worth testing on a regular basis: C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (sed rate), IL-6, IL-8, NFKB are just a few. When your doctor will tells you that she or he does not typically do these tests, just look gently and with forgiveness in her or his eyes and say nothing until the idiocy of that excuse permeates the room. If they are indeed important tests, why is your doctor’s laziness or ignorance of their merit an adequate excuse? Hint: Get your vitamin D3 level tests too (25-OH D3) and your iodine level and your homocysteine and fibrinogen while you are at it.
It is true that eating junk food with a gratitude and enthusiasm is healthier than eating healthy food with a bitter, dis-spirited heart.
Pause before eating to relax and prepare the parasympathetic nervous system for digestion.
You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought.
Consciously celebrate your blessings and speak them aloud before starting to nourish yourself.
Eat healthy oils and fats which help you burn fat. Remember, it is the refined carbohydrates which make you fat: bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, pies, pastries and high starch carbohydrates.
DRINK GOOD QUALITY WATER
Avoid the scam of alkaline water machines.
Avoid water poisoned with chlorine and fluoride.
Avoid the scam of buying bottled water which is “bottled at the source” but not necessarily bottles from the source….
If necessary, buy a good water filter.
COFFEE, TEA ? only if ORGANIC!
Coffee and tea can be healthy (medicinal actually) or dehydrating and inflammatory.
Green tea – great
Fused coffee – great (non acidic and enjoyed by people who can only drink decaf)
Don’t add dairy or artificial sweeteners to either.
OK to add seed or nut milks and to sweeten with raw organic honey in moderation or coconut crystals.
So here are the rules again:
Before you eat, pause and relax and shift from flight or fight (sympathetic up regulation where digestion and absorption are compromised) to a calm grateful receptive state (parasympathetic regenerative state where the body is able to nourish and flourish).
Eat with gratitude. Food is never the enemy. You live in abundance. “Creation of appreciation” is the goal!
Before you sit down to eat, drink a big glass (10-16 oz) of healthy water. This prepares the stomach and intestines for digestion and takes off the edge of your appetite so you eat more slowly.
Eat organic and non-GMO food.
Eat living food
Eat organic food in the form which you can recognize as once having been alive.
Eat organic seeds and nuts.
Drink non-sweetened seed milks (coconut, hemp, almond, rice, hazelnut etc.) Makes these yourself with your Vitamix or blender.
Eat the rainbow (all colors of vegetables) and lots of fresh organic salads with organic oil based dressings.
Drink healthy water (no chloride and fluoride)
I recommend blending up whole organic foods into smoothies, soups, using a blender that will pulverize foods called the Vitamix (www.vitamix.com or the Magic Bullet (at Target stores). The advantage over juicing with a juice is 1) you get all the food (not just the sugar rich juice) 2) easy cleaning; If you want to order directly, see www.vitamix.com or call 800-VITAMIX
VIDEOS TO STUDY
– Bakker GC, van Erk MJ, Pellis L, Wopereis S, Rubingh CM, Cnubben NH, Kooistra T, van Ommen B, Hendriks HF. “An anti-inflammatory dietary mix modulates inflammation and oxidative and metabolic stress in overweight men: a nutrigenomics approach.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr;91(4):1044-59.
– Galland L. “Diet and inflammation.” Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):634-40.
– Geraldo JM, Alfenas Rde C. “Role of diet on chronic inflammation prevention and control – current evidences.” Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2008 Aug;52(6):951-67.
– Giugliano D, Ceriello A, Esposito K. “The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Aug 15;48(4):677-85.
– Masters RC, Liese AD, Haffner SM, Wagenknecht LE, Hanley AJ. “Whole and refined grain intakes are related to inflammatory protein concentrations in human plasma.” J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):587-94.
– Sears B, Ricordi C. “Anti-inflammatory nutrition as a pharmacological approach to treat obesity.” J Obes. 2011;2011. pii: 431985.