Virtually every disease we know of, especially the chronic ones, begins with inflammation. Then a combination of genetics, environment and nervous system function play a role in the resulting symptoms and disease. That’s why the most knowledgeable coaches, consultant and doctors begin a holistic approach with an anti-inflammatory diet. It’s also why two people can have the same diet, for example a married couple, yet one might have heart disease while the other develops diabetes or cancer (a simplification, but you get the point). Inflammation can also be a factor in a variety of problems that aren’t seen as disease from Dysmenorrhea (painful Menses) to obesity, stress response and far more.
In discussing diet, I like to invoke the 80/20 rule with a caveat. The 80/20 rule in diet, the way I advise people means that if 80% of your diet consists of fresh veggies, beans, nuts & seeds, berries and fresh fruit -pretty much in that order- the other 20% can be made up of starches (whole grains, potatoes, etc) and animal products. There are a couple of caveats here: (1) when I say whole grain I mean things like brown rice, millet, barley etc. in their WHOLE state; not pulverized as in flour or cornmeal (notes: quinoa is a seed and included in that category. I categorize yams & squashes as veggies but not white potatoes) (2) if you are already sick, you may need to observe the 95/5 rule until you, at least, become asymptomatic. (3) if you’re not overweight or otherwise ‘sick’ you can likely increase starches and/or animal foods a little without adverse effect.
The addition of super-foods to this diet will further enhance the anti-inflammatory effect of this diet. When I say super-foods, I’m referring to a list of foods- within the above categories- that have a high concentration of specific nutrients that are often lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Here is a partial list: flax seeds, Moringa, chia seeds, pomegranate, acai berry, gogi berry, blue berries, cacoa (raw chocolate), green tea, avocado, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, cabbage family) . Many people add raw coconut oil and wild caught salmon to this list. I use caution with adding them because (1) I don’t want to give people ‘permission’ to eat excessive amounts of fat; small amounts are fine in foods but I don’t think we have the evidence to justify more, (2) there are appropriate concerns about mercury in sea food and (3) there are plenty of non-animal sources for Omega-3 fats (nuts, seeds, olives).
A discussion of anti-inflammatory foods is, of course, incomplete without mentioning the most inflammatory foods that must be excluded. The main culprits on the list here are (1) white four (2) processed foods (3) sugar (4) dairy (5) Genetically modified foods (GMOs) and recently (6) ALL non-organic grains. When eaten to the degree they commonly are in the American diet, I also add chicken and beef to this category.
The reason for the addition of GMO foods and non-organic grains is 2 fold: (1) GMO foods disrupt a crucial metabolic pathway of bacteria in our gut and as such may play a role in many disease processes. (GMOs may be found in non-organic products containing corn; especially corn syrup, soy, canola, beet sugar, zucchini, papaya and soon in apples that don’t turn brown and salmon) and (2) both GMO foods and non-organic grains are sprayed with large amounts of pesticides (Glyphosate) that also effect both us and our gut microbiome.
Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process and a certain amount of it is necessary and good when we are injured or sick. It is part of the process that makes your ankle swell and hurt when you sprain it, for example. However, when we eat a predominantly animal product and starch diet, our body becomes highly acidic and produces much more pro-inflammatory chemicals than it needs. This is one reason why it’s not uncommon in our society, for an injury to become chronic even when a person stops doing what caused the injury. Excessive inflammation also plays a role in allergies and illnesses causing an increased non-specific immune response; making these conditions worse than they might otherwise be. In the inflamed state, our bodies heal more slowly; excessive inflammation actually impedes the healing process whereas appropriate levels of inflammation speed the process. With the Standard American Diet, we’ve upset the natural balance making it difficult for our body to advance from the acute stage of the injury to the healing phase.
Beyond this basic approach, people often want to look at which specific foods are best for their body. Food sensitivities are a real concern as well as the fact that some people may feel better with more protein that what I outlined above. These responses are individual and best handled in an individual way. However, for the vast majority of people, getting off of processed food and pulverized grains and decreasing animal proteins will make a huge difference and is a conservative starting place.
With this approach, you can begin to take control of your health and effect significant change in almost any process that is affecting your overall energy and vitality.
For some simple ways of adding additional nutritious foods, beyond diet, there are supplement that contain Moringa that you can learn about here: and is a whole food supplement of concentrated fruits and veggies that you can learn about here: If you are interested in ordering either of these products you can do so here: or here:
Feel free to comment below or email me with questions. You may also learn more through a FREE 30 minute Health Strategies Session with me.