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Inflammation And Your Diet

Kim Shapira
April 17, 2023
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Inflammation (from Latin: inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants,[1][2] and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.

What is the connection between inflammation and your diet?

There are always NEWS headlines that suggest that inflammation is the crux or foundation of diseases. Inflammation is a necessary evil that can also be good for some and others it is not good, like those suffering from chronic inflammation.

We all know that when you get sick or injured your body launches an inflammatory response to protect you. The problem lies in unresolved inflammation, and over time it can unleash mayhem on your body and can contribute to many chronic diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disorders, diabetes or even asthma. Plus, there’s joint disorders, digestive disorders, skin changes, sleeplessness, and so much more.

Let’s check out what can cause inflammation:

A poor diet, stress, and environmental toxins are the biggest contributors to inflammatory issues. A poor diet can mean so many things, and first things first, it’s important to focus on progress over perfection. Your diet, the way you eat always has room for improvement. Let’s not judge our diet but rather find ways to add foods that love our body. One actionable step you can take today is to add something new, let’s see how that goes. Stress can be emotional or physical. Lack of sleep, anxiety or overwhelmed feelings, hunger, chronic pain, and the list goes on and on. We can’t necessarily prevent stress but we can work on remaining unaffected by it. You know I love a good deep breathe. Environmental toxins also are everywhere: they are germs, hormones, chemicals, everywhere and our body does a great job or detoxing them for us. Water is an excellent detoxing tool here. Our body is 60% water, and our cells are 43% water. Drink up.

Since inflammation is the body’s way of raising awareness against harmful stimuli and we do not always listen to the our body’s cues, we can make impulsive decisions when listening to the signals and miss the mark. We can choose the wrong food or decide not to exercise or even see a doctor. We need to honor the cues our body gives us.

Living in a culture of instant gratification where we can have access to quick meal fixes that deliver foods of convenience -over foods that may be more nourishing for your body. We make 221 food choices every day, in a mind that has over 60,000 thoughts in a single day. Practicing eating when you are hungry is the first step in listening to your body’s cues. Starting with half of your normal portion and checking back in at fifteen minutes will give you space between the thought to eat and the action to eat and figure out what are you really hungry for?  

Stress causes inflammation. Overeating and under-eating are stressful for your body, too. As you know, we have so many thoughts that we engage in every day. Taking a deep breath, giving yourself a single second to check in will help you make the right food choice. This breath can and will lead you to make better choices that will lead to weight loss, less inflammation, and less pain.

There are simple ways to manage inflammation and improve your health.

*Get 10,000 steps in any form

*Regular sleep patterns of 7 hours of nightly.

*Manage stress – use Mood Boost, take 3 deep breaths often.

* Drink 8 cups of water.

*Know what foods love your body and what foods don’t.

We all live in different bodies. We could not possibly all need and love the same foods. Each one of our bodies is experiencing various levels of inflammation and have dissimilar needs. It is not one size fits all. I love a good food sensitivity test like, it will really help you figure out what foods love you back and which do not.

Here is a list of some foods and food types that have ingredients that are known to affect inflammation in your body. After you’ve tried them and see how your body responds you can learn what's the best for you.

If you love these foods be mindful on how they make your body feel-  They can affect your body within 15 minutes of eating them and up to three days after you eat them. Your goal is to eat what you love and to make sure the foods you love, love you back.

Notice how they affect your body, some affect me and some don't. "Healthy" isn't always the same for me and you. So let's not label a food as good, bad, healthy or unhealthy- let's call it food and see how we feel.

Fiber Rich- foods that have greater than 5 grams of fiber per serving, help our body detox.

Fruits and Veggies have antioxidants that help clear stress or inflammation from our cells.

Plant-based proteins like nuts, lentils, legumes, beans, and seeds.

Foods high in Omega-3’s: flax seeds, chia, and hemp seeds. Heart -healthy, fights inflammation and works as a mood booster.

Herbs and spices because many spices add flavor and they have anti-inflammatory properties. Think turmeric, ginger, lemon.

Sugar because foods that are refined like white bread, cookies and sweets increase your blood sugar which may lead to bacterial overgrowth in your gut and cause inflammation.

Trans and saturated fats because these types of fats linger in your body and release inflammatory proteins into your bloodstream.

Meat because the saturated fat in meat can actually trigger the inflammatory process and if you must choose lean or grass-fed organic meats.

Refined Grains because these grains are void or stripped of nutrients and are made with enriched grains.

Charred or Grilled Foods because foods that are grilled or charred have more pro-inflammatory end products, instead of grilling outside use stovetop or oven to steam or broil or bake.

Remember you are in charge of your own decisions; you get to make 221 a day. Pause, breathe, listen to your body, honor, and respect what your body needs. You cannot screw up, but if you feel like you did- you need to keep going, you don’t get to sit this one out. Push through and work on trusting your body – work on connecting to your body, it gets easier, you will get better. Nobody felt like they could drive a car until they practiced.



Kim Shapira

Kim Shapira

dietitian and nutrition therapist.

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