Once again you wake up after what seemed like a good night’s sleep yet you feel all achy in your joints and the skin around your face is puffy. You’re thinking, I’m not that old, I didn’t stay out late, I didn’t drink, what’s the deal? This isn’t due to an obvious abuse of your body, but rather something normal you do every day – EAT!
The often ignored culprit is inflammation, usually caused by eating certain foods in quantity and combinations that could cause you to feel sick, or lead to a serious disease. It’s difficult to accept that something so necessary could also be so damaging. Experts in nutritional science have understood that what a person eats is directly connected to their resulting overall health, but new information is always surfacing.
I’m not a doctor, but as a believer in holistic health, I have devoted more than 20 years studying nutrition. Through trial and error experimenting with varied diets and lifestyle practices, I have addressed many of my own inflammatory symptoms. My younger, naive years of bad choices, chronic addictions, emotional trauma, along with pancreatitis and other serious health issues, shook me up enough to find the answers to a more balanced and vibrant health.
Studies have shown, inflammation is at the root of almost all mainstream physical issues today. It can be caused by chemicals, physical and emotional stress, anxiety and unhealthy lifestyle choices like poor diet, inadequate sleep/rest, and lack of exercise.
The usual signs of inflammatory symptoms are: elevated temperature, bloating, swelling, red and/or blotchy skin, joint pain and partial numbness or paralysis of certain bodily functions. Chronic inflammation can throw off your insulin levels, lead to chronic fatigue, allergies, arthritis, asthma, headaches, weight control, fibromyalgia, restless sleep, irritability/mood swings, and an array of digestive issues.
In fact, almost any ailment, sickness or disease could potentially be traced back to excessive inflammation. Fortunately current technological advancements, have delivered new knowledge on specific foods and their biochemical responses.
Read more about Anti-inflammatory Diets
Here are some examples of identifiable nutrients and the foods that cause inflammatory reactions.
- Phytic Acid — found in grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and soybeans
- Gluten — found in almost all grain products, except buckwheat, millet, rice, quinoa
- Tannins — in coffee, chocolate, most berries, persimmons, cinnamon, and vanilla
- Oxalates — in spinach, beets, potato chips, french fries, certain nuts and seeds
- Lectins and solanines — which are found in beans, wheat, rye, soy, certain dairy products and the nightshade family like potatoes, eggplant, peppers, goji berries. Tomatoes (skin and seeds)
- Trypsin inhibitors — in most grains, nuts, seeds.
- Isoflavonoids — usually in soybeans
Deflate the Problem
I am not saying to avoid all these fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables, if you did, there wouldn’t be much left to eat. All foods have specific chemical responses that can benefit each of us when consumed in the right quantities and combinations.
In effort to deflate some of the inflammation triggered by things you eat, first discover how many foods you are eating that are on the list above (and lookup other sources too). Then try to eliminate or cut down on certain foods for a while, and replace them with others known to reduce inflammation. You might want to keep a simple food log, making notes when you feel better or worse after eating.
To help you get started here is a list of Foods that fight inflammation from Harvard Health Publications:
- Tomatoes (avoid skin and seeds if possible)
- Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale and collard)
- Nuts (especially almonds and walnuts)
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines)
- Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges)
The other important factor, though you might not feel like it when you’re sick, is to do some kind of physical activity. Even walking at a good pace is better than not moving at all. I also believe in putting the body back in balance with certain exercises, stretches and strengthening techniques that I teach in my studio.