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The first step to control inflammation is to limit triggers such as injury and infection. Since it is nearly impossible to avoid all triggers, we must learn instead how to manage inflammation.
Inflammation is produced by transforming Omega 6 found in cell membranes into inflammatory chemicals. The production line can be affected at different levels: first at the level of the supply chain; the availability of Omega 6.
Next production can be affected at the level of reading the DNA instructions on how to make inflammation. This occurs when the transcription factor “nuclear kappa factor B” is blocked. This is the mechanism behind many anti-inflammatory medications and herbal botanicals; they work by preventing access to the instructions found within the DNA.
If enzymes that are required to catalyse the biochemical reaction are affected that will also alter inflammation production. Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory medications interfere with enzyme function.
In addition, inflammation can be reduced by combating it with anti-inflammatory compounds produced by Omega 3, also found in cell membranes.
Strategies to manage inflammation include adopting an “anti-inflammatory lifestyle”. This includes removing inflammatory foods such as trans fats, sugar and any food triggers. Increase dietary Omega 3 by eating more fatty fish or taking good fish oil supplements. Omega 3 is transformed into anti-inflammatory chemicals that control inflammation. The herbal botanical curcumin found in turmeric can block the transcription factor required to read instructions on how to produce inflammation as well as it can interfere with the enzymes that catalyze inflammation production.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle means a permanent change in your dietary habits. I follow an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet. There are 2 excellent resources for this diet plan I would suggest:
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne PhD- She is also known as the PaleoMom and can be found online under the award-winning website: ThePaleoMom.com. Sarah is a PhD medical biophysicist and mom who struggled for years with her own autoimmune health issues. She transformed her life and can help teach you how and why you should follow in her foot steps.
Another brilliant doctor of medicine is Dr Terry Wahls MD
She has multiple sclerosis and was dependent on a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years until she reclaimed her health using a diet and lifestyle program she designed specifically using a Functional Medicine and Paleo approach. The diet Dr Wahls designed is also a Paleo Approach, but it is more catered to individuals with neurological autoimmune disease.
She wrote The Wahls Protocol®—A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles to help guide readers to reclaiming their own health.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and diet is a big commitment and can be a big change for some; it was for me. Previously, I lived on cereal, granola bars and salads; they were all quick and easy. I did not eat enough quality protein and I was missing a rainbow of phytonutrients. I bought into the "fats are bad" narrative and I was not eating enough quality fats.
Many people today are eating on the run, grabbing food at the drive-through and eating out at restaurants for convenience. While this is definitely "time-saving"; it is "health destroying". First thing I did was get Dr. Ballantyne's book and select a few recipes I could manage. I figured out where I could buy the ingredients and how to make them. If you have favorite meals try to switch up some ingredients to make them more anti-inflammatory. You do not have to change your meal plans all at once. Just start incorporating some new alternative anti-inflammatory recipes into your repertoire.
Removing inflammatory foods like: gluten, dairy and night shade vegetables is the first step but you do not want to feel deprived. If you take the time to find some alternative recipes and meals you will learn that you do not have to sacrifice too much and that the reward of feeling better will be worth it.
People have asked me when I am going back to eating like "normal"? This is my new norm and I am OK with it because I feel better and I understand the importance of nourishing by body for repair and longevity. Either you embrace the change, or fight it and begrudge it because it feels like too much of a sacrifice. If it creates stress in your life it is not helpful. If you become obsessed with avoiding particular foods you can create "orthorexia" -a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful. This is also not helpful for your life. Remember it is all about balance, "Goldilocks", not too much, not too little, just the right healthy amount!
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