Inflammatory Foods

Derivation: inflame. My definition: To produce a flame inside you.

Inflammation is the new buzz word now being related to many chronic medical conditions such as: allergies, Alzheimer's, asthma, high cholesterol and narrowing of the arteries, cancer, heart disease, celiac disease, chronic pain of muscles and joints, recurring "tendonitis", Crohn's disease, colitis, I.B.S. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), dementia, diabetes, eczema and psoriasis, high blood pressure, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory arthritis; fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, Parkinson's, slow healing response, osteoarthritis, etc and the list goes on.

So, how can we influence the amount of inflammation going on inside us? One accessible way is through manipulation of our diet. Certain foods have been shown to create inflammation in the body, whereas others can decrease the amount. The following is a list of pro-inflammatory foods: Bacon, bologna, bratwurst, brownies, (white) breads- including buns, rolls and bagels, butter, cake, candy, cereals*, cheese (American, cheddar, creamed, gouda, jack, mozzarella, provolone, swiss), cookies, corn chips, corn syrup, crackers*, cream, croissants, corn chips, danish, doughnuts, egg rolls, french fries, french toast, (deep) fried foods, fruit juices, granola*, hamburgers, hash browns, honey, hot dogs, ice cream, jam/jelly, margarine, molasses, muffins, noodles*, onion rings, pancakes, pastrami, pepperoni, pie, pickles, pita bread*, pizza, pasta*, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, puddings, relish, ribs (beef or pork), rice (white), salami, sausage, sherbet, shortening, sodas, soft drinks, syrup, tortillas (flour), tortilla chips, waffles, whipped cream, whole dairy.

*Unless 100% whole grain and high fiber.

The following are considered anti-inflammatory foods: Acai, amaranth, anchovies, apples, arugula, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bananas, beans (green, black, kidney, garbonzo, pinto, lima, and soy), bean sprouts, beets, berries (blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, goji berries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries), bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, canola oils, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, dairy (non-fat), eggplant, endive, gooseberries, grapes, grapefruit, herring, honeydew, kale, lemons, lentils, mackerel, mango, mangosteen, millet, mushroom, mustard greens, nectarines, noni, nuts - raw (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, walnuts), okra, olive oil, onions, oranges, papaya, parsnips, pears, peas, peaches, peppers (bell and hot), persimmons, pineapple, pomegranate, plums, poultry (no skin), prunes, pumpkin, quinoa, rhubarb, rutabaga, salmon, sardines, scallions, seeds (flax, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), spices (cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, ginger, green tea, parsley, pepper, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, turmeric), spinach, squash (butternut, crook neck, summer, winter, zucchini), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, trout, tuna (water-packed), turnips, water chestnuts, watermelon, wild game, yams.

If you analyze these lists you will notice that pretty much all the fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, spices as well as poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and wild game are on the good list. And guess what? Processed foods, fried foods, breads (not whole grain), sweets (simple sweeteners), fruit juices, snack foods, sodas, margarine, whole dairy, many cheeses are on the "No-No" or "Here Comes the Heat" list. Does this sound all too familiar? Now we have yet another reason to try and reduce or delete from the "No-No" list. To quote Michael Pollan, "Eat food (real) and mostly vegetables". Simple as that.

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