The Food-Inflammation Connection
Foods are the leading ladies in your body’s ability to detoxify and fight inflammation. A rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables, especially berries and dark leafy greens, provide the phytochemicals – potent agents in plants that your body needs – to help you to naturally detoxify and fight the inflammation that is so commonly a result of our modern lifestyle filled with stress, often less-than-refreshing sleep, environmental toxin exposures, and less-than-perfect diets at times.
By the same token, not getting enough of these fruits and veggies, getting too much sugar and processed carbohydrates (pastries, cookies, pasta, flour products, and the like) or getting the wrong foods for your body if you have food sensitivities or food triggers (particularly gluten, dairy, and sometimes corn) can be the ingredients for harmful levels of inflammation. A number of additional foods commonly act as chronic inflammatory triggers, though these vary widely amongst individuals. These include soy, nuts, beans, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant), and yeast-containing products (baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, and vinegar).
Excess inflammation, which is like a fire or rust run amok in your body, can damage your cells and lead to a host of chronic symptoms — from allergies and food intolerances to aches and pains, from hormonal imbalances to difficulty losing weight, from headaches and brain fog to eczema and even autoimmune diseases.
Processed foods have been found to cause an incredible list of problems, including gut lining damage and impairment to the mechanisms that protect your DNA. They can also confuse the immune system over what to attack, leading to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease. Seven additives have the potential to cause the greatest harm: sugar, salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoemulsions. Highly processed, artificial foods (sometimes called “Frankenfoods”) tend to contain these ingredients.
How can you get to the bottom of which foods are problematic for you and at the same time cool down the harmful inflammation that is keeping you from feeling clear, vibrant and full of health? That’s exactly what you’re doing on this 4-week program! It’s called the elimination diet and it’s the first step I walk all of my patients through when we’re trying to get to the bottom of their health concerns and symptoms. Eating healthfully — and also learning which foods are not best for your beautiful and unique body, whether at this point in time, or for you more generally — is the most powerful mover on the health dial! An elimination diet is considered THE GOLD STANDARD for identifying food sensitivities. Its success is based on the fact that by eliminating foods that trigger inflammation in your body, you can get rid of many symptoms and diseases that have inflammation at their root. And this means most health conditions!
In my medical practice I see chronic and even serious health problems reversed every day because my patient made simple but important dietary changes based on what they experienced in their elimination diet. I have seen eczema, psoriasis, hormone problems, infertility, reflux, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, migraines, anxiety, chronic joint pain, gas, bloating, constipation, insomnia, chronic allergies and chronic sinus problems completely clear up — just to name a few! Patients go off of medications that they’ve been on for years! I’ve also seen patients quickly lose the weight that they’ve been trying unsuccessfully to lose for ten years or more.
I agree with food activist and journalist, Michael Pollan: If your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, or you can’t pronounce what’s on the food label, don’t eat it. While moving to a new way of eating can sometimes feel restrictive at first, I like to think of it this way: What you take away now that’s harming you, you more than gain back in terms of energy, clear thinking and having the health and body you want. There’s no doubt about it — healthy is the new sexy!