Your immune system defends you from viruses and bacteria that are on the attack. It can be a good thing, for example, inflammation helps cuts heal. Inflammation also helps damaged muscle tissue heal. It’s necessary for keeping you well.
Inflammation is part of your innate immune system. In other words, you are born with it. When your immune system is not right, your own immune cells, usually the white cells called lymphocytes, think your own cells are the bad guys and attack them instead. That’s when inflammation becomes chronic and long-term. Chronic inflammation can occur in asthma, TB, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, Grave’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, psoriasis, allergies and many more disorders.
Some medicines are anti-inflammatory. NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen are anti-inflammatory. So is a new kind of drug called an ImSAID. Your doctor will often suggest using corticosteroids as an anti-inflammatory, too. Natural corticosteroids occur in your body like cortisol. There are oral and IV steroids, and sometimes they are inhaled.
Some herbs are anti-inflammatory such as ginger, cannabis and turmeric. Ice is anti-inflammatory, too. Fish oil, green tea and tart cherries are more examples of things that fight inflammation. In addition, some therapies fight inflammation like acupuncture.
The first thing you can do to fight inflammation though, is to change your diet to one that is non-inflammatory. (A lot of folks call it anti-inflammatory.) That involves not eating foods that contribute to inflammation.
The simple list of things to do with diet is do not eat gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, and dairy. There are some exceptions in this list.
Gluten causes gut inflammation in most people. In addition, about a third of us develop antibodies against gluten proteins. Almost all of us have the potential to develop those antibodies. Antibodies that fight gluten can end up attacking some organs like the thyroid or pancreas creating problems like hypothyroidism or type 1 diabetes. Gluten is in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Don’t eat it!
Peanuts are another inflammatory food. Tree nuts are good to eat, but these ground nuts are bad news for your body. They are also a common food allergen, another source of inflammation.
Fresh corn is anti-inflammatory so go ahead and enjoy it. However, corn flour, corn syrup, and corn products in medicines are inflammatory. Cut them out of your diet.
Soy when it’s processed can cause inflammation. Avoid soy protein isolate and concentrates and soy foods like cheese, ice cream, oil and burgers. But, do eat fermented soy and whole soy products. Miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk and edamame area all good to eat.
Dairy is very inflammatory. It can cause gas, bloating, acne and allergies. There are two elements in milk that cause the most problems, the sugar, lactose, and the proteins, casein and whey. In fact, casein is similar to gluten in structure and people with gluten intolerance are often casein intolerant, too. Milk is also acid forming and damages alkaline reserves like calcium, magnesium and potassium in your bones.
Cut back dairy or eliminate it. One study showed that eating a little yogurt and good quality cheese is good for you, but test it for yourself. Eliminate dairy for a week or more and then add it back in. How did you do?
Those are the main foods to start with modifying in your diet. One way to do it is to plan ahead, buy substitutes, and set a date for stopping each food. Have you tried doing this before? What do you think about it?