written by Dina-Marie of My Cultured Palate
I am Dina-Marie, and I am passionate about sharing with others the healing power of traditional real food because of the healing I, myself have experienced. Not until I was introduced to the GAPS diet, did I begin experiencing the reversal of several serious medical conditions – I am literally a new woman!
The GAPS diet focuses on healing and restoring the good gut bacteria. The bacteria found in our gut is of utmost importance to our overall health for proper digestion and immunity!
Did you know that 70% of our immune cells are in our digestive tract? And, they come into contact with the food eaten every day?
With this in mind, it makes since to have our digestive tract in good working order. I know from my experience with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and meat allergies spanning over 30 years, that once the healing in my gut began to take place through real food, I was a different woman! After being on GAPS for a year now, I have no arthritis pain (my joints are no longer inflamed, red or swollen), my osteoporosis is reversing and I am really enjoying meat after being a vegetarian because of my meat allergies!
Source of food-related inflammation
So, what is the source of food-related inflammation? There are two:
1. The bacteria in food, or a food flagged as an allergen can trigger an inflammatory reaction. Inflammation is important to the body in the aspect of healing. But, if there is chronic inflammation in the body, it can and often does lead to many serious conditions. Often, bad bacteria in the gut produces toxins which result in physical illnesses. These bad bacteria can be replaced through a diet which eliminates foods that feed them and adding probiotic foods, such as, homemade sauerkraut, fermented carrots, yogurt and kefir, to the diet.
2. Undigested proteins passing into the bloodstream trigger an inflammatory response.The last stage of digestion is performed by the enterocytes in the intestines. If they are not functioning properly, the proteins pass into the blood stream without being fully digested causing an inflammatory response. This is the case in patients with GAPS, like me. If this is the problem, the gut must be allowed to heal before complete digestion can occur. Read GAPS Review to learn more.
Many people are able to pinpoint particular food which contribute to inflammation. Here are a few inflammatory foods to avoid.
Top 5 Inflammatory Foods
1. Refined Sugar
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, which causes pain, overheating, redness and swelling. The Dartmouth Medical School also found that sugar causes acne. According to CNN:
High amounts of sugar in the diet increase advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs, a protein bound to a glucose molecule, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. As the body tries to break these AGEs apart, immune cells secrete inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Depending on where the AGEs occur and your genetic predisposition, they could eventually result in arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, poor memory or wrinkled skin.
A better choice is natural sweeteners like honey, black-strap molasses, fresh and dried fruit.
2. Refined Grains
Processed grains are similar to refined sugar in that have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and can increase inflammation. White flour breaks down quickly into sugar while still in your mouth! Compared to whole grains, the refined grains have very little fiber or vitamin B.
A better choice is properly prepared whole grains.
3. Artificial Sweetener
Many artificial sweetener cause inflammation especially if you are already prone to it. Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener than many people identify as a culprit.
A better choice is natural sweeteners like honey and black-strap molasses.
4. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oils including corn, soy, cottonseed, canola and trans fats are imbalanced in their omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids content. They have a very high omega-6 content and very low omega-3 content – this imbalance encourages inflammation.
A better choice is olive oil which contains oleic acid and is an anti-inflammatory. TheJournal of the American College of Nutrition found people consuming more oleic acid have better insulin function and lower blood sugar.
However, most imported olive oils are fake, so be careful to by a REAL oil.
5. Commercially Raised Meat
Feedlot raised animals are fed a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. They are fed grains like soy beans and corn. Due to the confined space in which these animal live, they are also given hormones to encourage growth and antibiotics to prevent illness.
A better choice is wild or grass-fed meat in which the animal has a natural diet of grass rather than grain. This yields meat which is higher in omega-3 fats.
Healthy cells, blood vessels and tissues can be attacked instead of protected by chronic inflammation. Over time, these overactive inflammatory cells and the accompanying hormones take their toll on our bodies. The symptoms may be subtle, often characterized by headache and fatigue and are dismissed. Listen to your body and its warnings.
Support your immune system with the foods you eat!