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HOLISTIC HEALTH - April 2016 - Kansas City
How to Naturally Approach
By Nancy Russell, M.D.
The foods that we eat can lead to, or prevent, inflammation, which is one of the final pathways for most of the common diseases. Inflammation is a crucial protective reaction; it is there to protect us so that healing can take place. What you eat can turn inflammation on, but more importantly, what you eat can turn inflammation off.
There are eight major foods/substances that contribute to inflammation.
The number one cause of inflammation is sugar, which exists is the form of corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose and sucrose. If you have any signs of inflammation or any problems linked to inflammation such as heart disease, memory loss, auto-immune diseases and arthritis, eliminate sugar.
There are good oils that have a very good omega-6 to omega-3 ratio such as olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia nut oil. The bad oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and should be avoided; these are cottonseed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil. These bad oils such as industrial vegetable oils are usually found in fast foods and processed foods. Trans fats are the worst fats and are found in deep fried foods, fast foods and commercially prepared baked goods.
Cow’s milk can lead to inflammation and is a common contributor to arthritis, skin rashes, chronic sinus conditions and irritable bowel problems. Lactose intolerance also causes inflammation and leads to stomach distress, diarrhea, gas and bloating.
Cured meats and red meats contain a substance called neu5Gc, which is a compound that the body sees as a foreign invader, so it produces antibodies and triggers an inflammatory response.
Excess alcohol consumption is linked to irritation and inflammation of the esophagus. Esophagus and throat cancers are linked to alcohol consumption as well as cirrhosis of the liver and alcohol-induced hepatitis.
Another cause of inflammation for many people is the consumption of refined grains, such as white bread and white rice and also turn quickly into sugar in our bodies. Grains plus added sugar and bad fats such as doughnuts is a triple whammy.
Artificial food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and all artificial sweeteners (Spenda, NutraSweet and saccharin) trigger the inflammatory response. Do not eat anything in a package unless you read the label and identify all of the ingredients. Raw honey, monk fruit and stevia are better choices for natural sweetness.
Inflammation is our body’s normal response to injury, infection, stress, foreign substances and anything that irritates the human body. Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease are all linked to inflammation.
Polluted air, chemical irritants, second hand smoke and pesticides are all seen by the body as foreign invaders so they turn on the immune system. This irritation can lead to chronic inflammation of the lung and increase the risk for cancer.
A sensitivity or allergy to a food causes an inflammatory response. These types of responses can present as chronic sinus issues, headaches, weight gain, bed wetting, asthma, joint pain, diarrhea, gas and bloating, skin rashes, fatigue and other issues. A food elimination diet or blood test for food sensitivities and food allergies can be very helpful in guiding you to lessen inflammation.
Another common cause of inflammation is midline weight, also known as excess belly fat. These fat cells are actually an inflammatory organ and they can produce cytokines, which raise blood pressure, cause inflammation and can lead to diabetes.
If you have a chronic sleep disturbance or even just a few hours of lost sleep, or sleep apnea, the body turns on its defense system, which leads to inflammation.
There are many ways to prevent inflammation, so start today to improve your overall health. Eat whole foods, fish high in omega-3, seaweed, and whole fruits and vegetables. Use healthy oils on your food. Drink filtered water, but do not drink water from plastic bottles unless they are BPA free. Get plenty of exercise and good sleep.
Other foods and herbs that protect your body from inflammation are turmeric, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, green tea, holy basil or Tulsi tea, ginger and basil.
And last but not least toxic stress, emotional, mental and spiritual stress can aggravate an already inflamed body. Take time to breathe, relax, and connect with loved ones.
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Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.
Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.