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An Anti-Inflammatory Diet - The Antidote to Pain

by Jesse Cannone(more info)

listed in nutrition, originally published in issue 145 - March 2008

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Could be the Answer to Eliminating Your Pain

When I say Inflammation, thoughts of painful joints, muscles, swelling and loss of mobility probably come to mind. But did you know that recent research shows that chronic inflammation in your body can lead to serious disease such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few?

The amount of inflammation in our body varies and is dependent on many circumstances such as activity level, amount of sleep or stress in our lives and the foods we eat. These factors are all accumulative, and as the levels increase the risk for disease increases.

Early in life these levels can be so low that you would not even know that you have any inflammation in your body, and that is because our bodies do a fair job at controlling the inflammation, at least for a while. Then one day you wake up; you are in your 40s and something is just not right. Then the fear sets in and you think to yourself what did I do, what did I do wrong or what can I do right now to help myself?

Well, the first step is to get your C-Reactive Protein levels tested; you will need to ask your doctor and may even need to demand to have the test done. All it takes is a blood sample and then have your levels evaluated by your doctor or a registered dietician to help you formulate a plan of care, because our diets can play a large part in achieving optimal health.

If you have pain from inflammation, you may choose to take the traditional medical path for inflammation including, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids and even joint replacement surgery in severe cases. The good news is that there are more natural ways to fight inflammation, and they do not have the undesirable side effects caused by most typical medical treatments.

What you eat Makes all the Difference

The food we eat is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to controlling inflammation. The average American diet consists of high fat, high sugar, lots of red meat and a frightening amount of processed foods. These are all likely to increase inflammation, not to mention contributing to obesity, yet another high-inflammatory culprit. By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet plan made up of healthy, whole foods you can actually decrease inflammation and in turn ease the pain and associated discomfort.

The first step is to avoid processed foods, foods high in sugar and junk food whenever possible. Instead choose fresh, whole foods including anti-inflammatory varieties like lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. But choose carefully; in fact even some vegetables and pre-packaged health foods can work against you. Use the quick list below of the best and worst foods in controlling inflammation:

In addition to these dietary changes it is also recommended that you:

•    Maintain a healthy weight – There is no question that eating healthy is not easy, either at home or at a restaurant. But you must at least start to do three things. Decrease your sugars, decrease your hydrogenated oils and increase your daily intake of fibre to 35 grams. That is a ton of fibre but just try, you may hit it, you may not; the point is to try;
•    Get better sleep – seven to nine hours is mandatory for optimal health; the one thing that most people do not know it that quality sleep is the key to controlling systemic inflammation;
•    Relax more often to lower stress levels – Find time for yourself, morning, noon and night and focus on your breathing and clear the clutter in your mind, learn to stay focused on the most important tasks in your life;
•    Exercise on a regular basis – Everyone always asks me what is the best exercise to do and all I can say is “Do something you like to do, granted you can tolerate it, shoot for 15 to 20 minutes three times a week;”
•    Demand to have you CRP levels tested – This simple blood test is the best indicator of the level of systemic inflammation in your body. It is recommended that you have the levels evaluated by a certified health care provider to take the most appropriate action for you and your condition.

So if you are in pain and you are going to make a conscious choice to help yourself get better then…

Making these changes to your diet and lifestyle will most certainly improve your overall health, and help reduce the pain from inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Atlantic salmon (wild)
Fresh, whole fruits, vegetables
Bright, multi-coloured vegetables
Green tea
Water
Olive oil
Lean poultry
Nuts, legumes and seeds
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Old fashioned oatmeal
Spices, especially Turmeric and Ginger

Pro-inflammatory foods

Sugar, from any source
Processed foods
French fries
Fast Foods
White bread
Pasta
Ice cream
Cheddar cheeses
Snack foods
Oils such as vegetable and corn
Soda, caffeine and alcohol

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About Jesse Cannone

Jesse Cannone CFT CPRS. Fitness and Rehabilitation expert, together with Massage therapist Steve Hefferon co-founded The Healthy Back Institute in 2001 and is the author of The 7 Day Back Pain Cure. Jesse has helped many people achieve their weight loss and fitness goals through his articles, books, audio programs, videos, and seminars. In addition to being a certified fitness trainer, Jesse holds many other certifications, including Post-Rehabilitation Specialist, Specialist in Performance Nutrition, and Master Fitness Trainer. He may be contacted via jesse@gethealthyandfit.com; www.losethebackpain.com

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