Image courtesy of community/thehotplate.com
I like to think of myself as a bit of a smarty-pants. Even though I haven’t really done a lot of reading on inflammation, I decided to challenge myself to an Inflammation IQ test on sharecare.com (Dr. Oz is a partner so it qualifies as an information source for me). I got a whopping 14/20 right. I am slightly humiliated admitting that to you, but it just shows you how little I really know about this important barrier to good health. Think you are so smart – take it for yourself http://www.sharecare.com/quizzes/inflammation-iq and tell me how you did! Go on, I dare you, the only condition is that you have to be honest.
There is a lot of information out there on the topic which is a very good thing. The one common theme that I have found so far is that diet and lifestyle can be a huge contributor to inflammation. According to Ashley Koff, a registered dietician and author, “The lifestyle you choose dictates the extent to which you experience inflammation. What you choose to eat for nourishment, for example, factors into this equation as much as the level of toxins you’re exposed to or how much you engage in physical activity and reduce your stress. Foods high in processed sugars and unhealthy fats, for instance, can exacerbate inflammation. This, in turn, antagonizes energy metabolism and puts you at a higher risk for weight gain among a host of other health problems. It also sets in motion a vicious cycle that leads to more and more inflammation.” It is really hard to be perfect when it comes to diet, but being mindful can help. As I mentioned, I’ve been doing the Dr. Oz 2-Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan again to get my eating back on track after a weekend of poor food choices. The thing that I find most interesting this time is how much easier it is for me to follow and how much better I feel than the first go-round. My energy has improved and I don’t even hate the smoothie. Weird…but good, because it means that my fairly clean eating meant that my body didn’t go into such a shock. I don’t have any cravings – I couldn’t get my mind off of pizza the first time. Overall, I just feel better. I’m going to do it next month as well – just because I understand how much better that I feel.
Processed food used to be a huge part of my diet. Lean Cusines were a staple and I would argue up and down that a Subway Turkey Breast Sub was good for you. Now, I know better – I’m not saying that I’ll never have them again, just that I’m not fooling myself anymore. You can still have the convenience of eating out, you just have to find the best possible option. I’ve been reading menus before I go to restaurants and trying to eat more fish when I go out. I went to an Italian restaurant last night for dinner and had a perfectly good chicken salad. Sure, I would have rather have had pasta, and maybe I’ll have it next time, but I was happy with it and even better for me, I didn’t leave feeling ill from being overstuffed. I’ve been ensuring that one meal a day for the past few months has been a chicken salad or fish with vegetables when I need a change. It’s really kept me on track with eating cleaner. As I mentioned, I had a lapse last weekend, but I knew I was going to do the Dr. Oz plan again. It’s not a sustainable way to eat for me, but I can do it for 2 weeks every month until I no longer feel like I need it as a crutch.
Speaking of eating well, there are three foods that are scientifically proven to help inflammation according to sharecare.com:
- Cherries are powerhouses of anti-inflammatory nutrients. The tough part is you have to eat them 28 days in a row to produce a decrease in C-Reactive Protein, a marker for inflammation that can ultimately lead to heart disease and stroke (Leo Galland, Integrative Medicine). I love cherries, but they aren’t always in season – I’m going to do a little investigating to see if there cherry juice is just as good since so many people swear that it alleviates pain
- Pineapple contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme which is supposed to soothe your cells like a little spa, by reducing the migration of white blood cells to the site of inflammation (i.e. arthritic joints). It may not contain enough since you need about 100mg. a day, so Dr. Oz recommends a supplement. I have to do some homework before I think about taking another supplement and I will let you know what I find out
- Olive Oil, particularly extra virgin is filled with anti-oxidants and I’ve read article after article touting it’s health benefits so I’ll be using this oil for life or until a study discounts it
It really is a huge topic and even after a few entries, I can’t pretend to even think that I’ve scratched the surface. Luckily, a bookstore in Toronto was having a 50% off sale so I was able to buy “You On A Diet” – another Roizen/Oz collaboration and there is an entire chapter on it! Today, I am grateful that I was able to find another great resource for this blog and the fact that tomorrow is a holiday Monday. Happy Victoria Day to my fellow Canadians. I believe next week that my readers in the US have the Memorial Day long weekend so I hope that you are all looking forward to that.