Monday, October 29, 2012

Food for Thought 2

I'll continue presenting some of the information gleaned at a continuing education conference with Dr. Merrily Kuhn.  For more about her credentials, please see my first post "Food for Thought 1".
I've been reading more and more about the role inflammation has to play in all sorts of diseases.  Merrily spent quite a bit of time talking about chronic inflammation and its negative effects on the body.  Our bodies are pre-programmed to deal with inflammation.  If we have a tissue injury of any kind our bodies respond with inflammation which increases the blood flow to the area and the ultimate purpose is to prevent infection in the injured tissue and to heal.  This is an acute response and is 8 - 10 days from onset to healing.  However, chronic inflammation is another story.  Our bodies become inflamed through toxins in the:

~water we drink
~air we breathe
~products we put on our body
~food we eat (hormone laden produce and dairy, omega 6 fatty acids, transfat, chemically lined cans   with BPA and High Fructose Corn Syrup)
~household products we touch
and from sleep deprivation and obesity (62% of Americans are overweight.) 

Toxins cause oxidative stress (basically our bodies become rusty) which leads to inflammation.  Inflammation has been linked to cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few.  So, we need to counter this inflammation and oxidation through ingesting anti-inflammatory foods and engaging in activities that promote health. 

Healthy habits that assist in decreasing inflammation include:
~Maintaining a healthy weight (especially losing belly fat)
~Avoiding excessive alcohol intake, especially beer and spirits because they have a depressive effect on the immune system
~Getting adequate sleep

Nutrients, foods and herbs that assist in decreasing inflammation include:
~Green tea
~Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa...not the milk chocolate kind)
~Red wines (these contain resveratrol found in the skin of red grapes.  Since white wines are not made with the skins, there is not the health benefit in white wine as there is in red.)
~Fish oils
~Red and blue fruits
~Cruciferous vegetables
~Fresh ginger, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano
~Vitamin D

Merrily elaborated on several of the items listed above.  I'll write more about some of the most interesting ones in future posts.  I've just been trying to include more of the items from the list in my menus.  I really don't want to rust.  It just doesn't sound fun.

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