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Anti-Inflammatory Diet – What’s Right for You?

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August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Health & Nutrition Articles

I have six nutrition books on the subject of the “anti-inflammatory diet”. And guess what? They all say something different. The key here is to find what works for YOU, not for the general population. If you’ve tried an anti-inflammatory diet but gained little improvement, there may be a good reason for it: You didn’t eliminate YOUR inflammatory foods.

Inflammation is caused by an immune response triggered by foods, chemicals, the environment, degenerative diseases, stress and many other factors. There are some triggers we simply can’t eliminate, but using diet to reduce our “total inflammatory load” is a good first step. If we can really get our own anti-inflammatory diet down pat, the daily impacts of inflammation could be significantly reduced.

How Do You Start?

The best way to really notice a difference is to do an elimination diet and a liver cleanse at the same time. This way, your liver has a fighting chance to clear any toxicity accumulated from your previous diet, and get you sensitized again to what is right and wrong for you.

With immune response and inflammation, telltale signs of “what’s wrong” often get covered up due to an increase in tolerance of our reactive foods. The idea behind a liver cleanse is to break the tolerance pattern so we can once again get a clear picture of what’s going on. Your body will tell you.

What to Eliminate

There are many “blanket” foods known to cause inflammation. All of these foods should be eliminated completely while on a liver cleanse, just to make sure you’re covering all the bases. Not all of these foods will cause inflammation for you… At least let’s hope. But you owe it to yourself to find out.

Here are a few of the key players highlighted:

All Gluten Grains – Gluten is a protein in the wheat family of grains known to cause inflammation in the gut and other systems in the body. Since wheat is a staple food in our culture, we tend to eat it everyday. Our bodies are not genetically adapted to eat the same foods day in and day out, and we can eventually create an immune sensitivity or intolerance to them. Other people can develop (or are born with) a more complex immune reaction to gluten that can affect many organs and systems. Gluten grains include: wheat (white or whole grain), barley, spelt, kamut, rye, bulgar, triticale.

A Note On All Grains – During the second week of my Super Liver Detox Program, I eliminate ALL grains, including non-gluten grains. Many people report that even these grains (quinoa, millet, corn, brown rice) have an inflammatory impact on them. All grains have chemical compounds called saponins that inhibit digestion. From the “Paleo Diet” perspective, early man ate very small amounts of grain, and we may not be genetically adapted to eat them in the large quantities that we do today.

Nightshade Vegetables – Most cleanses allow consumption of an unlimited amount of vegetables, including tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cayenne, and eggplant. In fact, hot peppers are touted as being “anti-inflammatory” foods. While true for some, these can cause swelling, aches, pains, and indigestion for others. Why? Peppers (and all nightshades) are high in alkaloids. For certain people, alkaloids cause inflammation. I recommend taking them out of the diet for the full 21-days of a cleanse, then slowly reintroducing them, taking note of any inflammatory responses.

Over-Consumed Vegetable Oils – Too much of certain fats can cause inflammation. Obviously, trans-fats should be avoided completely (on or off a cleanse), but over-consumed “healthy” oils like corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil and soy oil should also be eliminated while cleansing. Fatty acids trigger either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways inside our bodies. Stick only with the fats that trigger the anti-inflammatory ones, like fish oils, walnuts and olive oil.

Other pro-inflammatory foods to eliminate on a cleanse (eliminate for at least 3 weeks):

  • Dairy Products
  • High-Starch Gluten-Free Products
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Peanuts and Cashews
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated and Highly-Caffeinated Beverages
  • Processed Meats
  • Packaged and Processed Foods
  • Meat Substitutes
  • Cane Sugar and Sweeteners

Undoubtedly, there are several other foods that are causing significant reactions for you. These foods will be different person-by-person. What may be an anti-inflammatory food for someone else, may be causing serious problems for YOU.

The best way I know to detect inflammatory foods within each individual is the Mediator Release Test (MRT). It’s the most sensitive food allergy test out there. Please email me if you’d like more information on the MRT.

Stay tuned for my Super Liver 21-Day Detox Program right around the corner! You’ll be eating an anti-inflammatory diet for a full 21 days, which will re-sensitive your body to which foods cause an inflammatory response in you. This detox will naturally hand you over the potential to take your health to the next level. More information on the detox will follow in the next few weeks… Stay tuned!

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  • Brandie

    Thank you so much for this article. I have conversations like this with my clients all of the time. They are constantly confused by all of the conflicting information and I keep telling them that every person is different and we need to figure out what works for them. Breath of fresh air right here.

  • Salt Water Cleanse

    I have not much time, but I’ve got many useful things here, love it!