Some issues in your life can be solved with eating. (Wait…what did she just say!?!) That’s right, eating can heal and solve problems. Inflammation is one of them. I’m not suggesting you gorge on Twinkies, buffet-style portions and extra large, everything-on-it pizzas. Far from it.
What you eat makes all the difference in the world, especially when it comes to inflammation in the body.
I know this approach might trigger or be challenging territory for many people, especially those who struggle with emotional eating, binging, out-of-control portions, or dis-ordered eating. Many of us (myself included at times) use food to cope with stress, loneliness, anxiety and low self-esteem.
How often do we get what we’re really after?
Unconsciously reaching for food won’t fulfill the deeper desires we all have—the desire for love, connection, acceptance, freedom to be who we are, and sexual fulfillment, to name a few. More often than not, these foods are filled with sugar, processed flours, and all kinds of additives that cause inflammation in the body.
I have good news—awareness and consciousness can change everything.
When you make the conscious choice to eat anti-inflammatory foods that actually heal your body and promote internal harmony, you satisfy a very important desire—the desire to be healthy, strong, and vibrant.
The human body is 100% onboard with that intention.
If you or someone you know is dealing with chronic inflammation, or one of the many diseases that associated with it—Type II diabetes, arthritis, IBS, heart disease and even cancer—food can be an incredible medicine.
You can add these powerful foods into your diet and make a difference in your health. However, if you continue to eat pro-inflammatory foods and surround yourself with things that continually create inflammation, you’re not going to be making much progress.
Shifting the way you eat as well as the foods you eat is one of the surest ways to increasing your internal harmony while decreasing inflammation.
Here are some tips for how to incorporate an anti-inflammatory way of eating into your life.
Tip #1 – Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Food is medicine. Fresh—ideally organic and local—fruits and vegetables are high in all the essential and trace minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and ingredients for a healthy, thriving body.
Tip #2 – Reduce your intake of unhealthy fats
Reduce oils high in Omega-6 fat. Too much Omega-6 can cause inflammation, and most of us eat too many foods that contain corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut and soybean oils. Reduce your consumption of foods high in saturated fat, and limit your intake to the healthy plant-based forms of saturated fat (which your body needs) such as coconut oil and avocados.
Tip #3 – Increase your intake of healthy fats and oils
Believe it or not, fat is your friend when it’s one of the healthy ones. Include more extra-virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, which can be found in walnuts and walnut oil, flax and flaxseed oil, and hempseed and hempseed oil, as well as in coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish and fish oil (make sure you buy top quality to minimize heavy metal exposure).
Tip #4 – Eat whole grains
Add in more brown rice, quinoa, millet, and amaranth. Many people find that their health, weight and mood improve when they go off of gluten grains.
Tip #5 – Reduce refined or processed foods
Avoid consuming large amounts of unhealthy, refined carbohydrates and processed foods such as pasta, bread, white rice and other foods high on the glycemic index.
Tip #6 – Reduce or eliminate refined sugar
It may be the single biggest cause of inflammation in the body. It’s in everything these days, is highly addictive, and craves itself. (Evil cackle in the background)
Tip #7 – Eliminate foods that cause or trigger sensitivities
If you don’t feel great after eating bread, dairy, red meat, peanuts, candy bars or anything else, stop eating them (or at least reduce them.) Your body is incredibly wise, and may be trying to tell you something: that a particular food doesn’t work for your body right now (or ever).
Tip #8 – Add some spice
Ginger, curry, turmeric and other spices can have an anti-inflammatory effect and begin healing the body by increasing circulation and supporting the immune system.
Tip #9 – Reduce your stress
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone (the “fight or flight” sensation), and can cause inflammation if it remains in the body too long. In the first of its kind, a new Ohio University study has shown that “Dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body.”
Tip #10 – Move your body
Movement and exercise reduces stress, keeps your body’s systems and organs functioning properly, increases circulation and releases calming and “feel good” hormones. Extra weight on the body puts added stress on your systems and joints, and can actually increase your risk for diseases such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
Don’t let internal inflammation rule your life. It’s time to get back in the driver’s seat and incorporate some of these simple steps into your life. Your internal harmony is waiting.