|Eating right and getting regular exercise is the best way to achieve and/or maintain health. I remember hearing Jack LaLanne say, “Diet is King & exercise is Queen, and when you put them both together you build a Kingdom.”
Inflammation can be low-grade or it can flare up or progress into chronic or acute disease states, including serious autoimmune problems such as arthritis. Although inflammation should lead to tissue repair and remodeling, when it becomes chronic, it prevents healing and should be viewed as a disease process.
Nutritional imbalances (deficiencies and excesses of various nutrients) can cause inflammation .
Vegetables are always at the top of the list. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory, including fish and, to a lesser extent, plant foods like flax seeds and walnuts.
Because plant-based foods are among the richest sources for powerful antioxidants and phenolics (including flavonoids) that reduce inflammation, the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh plant-based foods and phenolic-rich olive oil, has grown in popularity.
I recommend not eating grains and enjoy high-fiber foods like beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, nuts, and avocados. Consume more fish, especially salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish that contain those omega-3 fats.
Processed Foods and Meats
Avoid anything with more than a very small amount of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, white flour products, sodas and sweet drinks, chips, and fried foods of all types, other than lightly stir-fried vegetables.
White flour increases inflammation.
Red meat isn’t necessarily bad. It is what we do to red meat that makes it bad for us by feeding cattle grains such as corn, instead of allowing them to eat the field grasses that they were intended to eat. An alternative to beef is buffalo or bison—these animals are grass-fed and, interestingly, will not eat corn.
For the carnivores among us, the preferred protein solution is buffalo or bison, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish, particularly salmon and tuna.
For those with rheumatoid arthritis: Increase EPA intake from marine sources such as oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring, trout, black cod) and oysters, aiming for consuming these foods several times a week, and to reduce dietary sources of arachidonic acid (meat, high-fat milk and cheese products, eggs) as much as possible. Make sure your diet is low in arachidonic acid and supplement with fish oils.
In a recent study at Lund University’s Antidiabetic Food Centre in Sweden, 44 healthy, overweight subjects aged 50 to 75 were fed an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of antioxidants, slow-release carbohydrates, omega fatty acids (oily fish), whole grains, probiotics, and viscous dietary fiber. After only four weeks, the results showed LDL cholesterol had dropped by 33 percent, blood lipids by 14 percent, blood pressure by 8 percent, and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 percent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced.5
A diet free of gluten has positive effects on symptoms and clinical signs of inflammatory diseases. Such a diet would be void of arachidonic acid, free of potentially allergenic wheat, dairy, and egg products, and high in plant-based antioxidants and other potentially anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
What Sodas Bring to the Table
Supplement with anti-oxidants – these will stimulate the immune system, decrease platelet aggregation, modify cholesterol metabolism, reduce blood pressure, and possess anti-bacterial and antiviral activity. One of the most effective supplements I use for inflammation is using the UltraInflamX protein powder by Metagenics. This can be taken as 2 scoops with water or fresh juice twice daily.
1. Seaman DR. Clinical nutrition for pain, inflammation, and tissue healing. Self published. 1998.
2. Seaman DR. The diet-induced pro-inflammatory state: A cause of chronic pain and other degenerative diseases. J Manip Physiol Ther. 2002; 25:168-179.
3. Adam O, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of a low-arachidonic acid diet and fish oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatol Int 2003 Jan;23(1):27-36.
4. Salas- Salvadó J, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts on metabolic syndrome status: one-year results of the PREDIMED randomized trial. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(22):2449-2458.
5. Hafström I, et al. A vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: the effects on arthritis correlate with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens. Rheumatol 2001;40(10):1175-79.
6.Dhingra R, et al. Soft drink consumption and risk of developing cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults in the community. Circulation 2007;116:480-88.
In the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), Wendy Marcason, RD, writes about the “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet” as a possible route to minimizing diseases linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.
I would add obesity to this list as well, since various research studies have likened obesity to inflammation. I have used the anti-inflammatory diet as a weight-loss diet but I prefer the Paleo diet for pure weight loss. If my client is does not need the anti-inflammatory recommendations for health issues, I do like the Paleo diet.
There is about 300 books under the topic of “anti-inflammatory”; some plans call for the elimination of entire food groups or the omission of foodstuffs such as corn, wheat, soy, dairy, red meat, eggs. A few even claim that certain vegetables are linked with chronic inflammation.
Some common threads, seem to run through the various anti-inflammatory eating plans:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you’re ingesting a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, fish-oil supplements, and walnuts. (I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics. Order @ www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com)
- Include plenty of whole grains, such as bulgur wheat and brown rice.
- Eat lean protein sources (e.g. skinless chicken) while decreasing your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy products.
- Keep saturated and trans fats to a minimum.
- Avoid (as much as possible) processed and refined foods.
- Consume alcohol in moderation (no more than 1 glass of wine daily for women and 2 per day for men).
- Include a variety of spices in your meals, such as ginger and curry.
These guidelines aren’t earth shattering but they can perhaps serve as a reminder of what to aim in your diet most of the time, especially during this holiday season.
Most people don’t know they have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. Most practitioners overlook this disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten.
On top of infertility, other gynecological and obstetrical problems may also be more common, including miscarriages and preterm births. For men, problems can include abnormal sperm — such as lower sperm numbers, altered shape, and reduced function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also have lower testosterone levels.
The good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved.
Trouble digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley is actually pretty common. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that as many as one in every 133 Americans have Celiac Disease. Probably many more people have gluten intolerance.
What is Celiac Disease?
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an autoimmune response, provoking your body to attack itself and destroy healthy tissues, especially the villi in your small intestine. This can also have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
Some of the most common symptoms of this disease process include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Acid reflux
Even a small amount of gluten can trigger a response.
How Celiac Disease Can Affect Your Fertility
In the New York Times article above, Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia, provides information about a slightly lesser known side effect of celiac disease, namely infertility, which can affect both men and women with the disease.
Studies from various countries indicate that fertility problems are indeed more common in women with untreated celiac disease, compared to women who do not have it.
In addition, other common menstrual disorders that frequently affect women with celiac disease include:
- Later onset of menstruation
- Earlier menopause
- Secondary amenorrhea (a condition in which menses starts but then stops)
These menstrual abnormalities, along with other hormonal disruptions they cause, can lead to fewer ovulations, which in turn results in a reduced chance of pregnancy.
Men with the disease, especially if it’s undiagnosed, can also face fertility problems due to:
- Abnormal sperm (reduced sperm count, altered shape, and reduced function)
- Reduced testosterone levels
How to Diagnose Celiac Disease
There are reliable blood tests that can screen for the disease. Your doctor will need to test your blood for high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).
Please keep in mind that you need to continue eating a diet containing gluten, such as breads and pastas, in order to obtain an accurate test result! If you go on a gluten-free diet prior to being tested, the results may come up negative for celiac even though you might in fact have the disease.
The Case for a Low- or No-Grain Diet – Whether You Have Celiac Disease or Not
Most people simply consume far too much bread, cereal, pasta, corn (a grain, not a vegetable), rice, potatoes, snacks and junk foods, with grave consequences to their health.
A diet high in grains causes insulin resistance which causes far more problems than this dangerous autoimmune response.
How to Treat Celiac Disease
In my experience, gluten intolerance can be treated by eliminating gluten and most grains from your daily diet.
It’s important to realize that gluten can be hidden in many foods including soups, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, so check the labels before you eat it.
Also watch out for malt, starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and natural flavoring.
Some pharmaceuticals, vinegars and alcohol can also contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease, it’s imperative that you do not eat gluten in order to avoid further damage to your health.
Remember, if you stick to a diet consisting mainly of whole foods, preferably locally-grown organics, you’ll reap all the other beneficial side effects as well, such as increased energy, an enhanced mood, and a lower risk of other chronic illnesses.
Try a gluten-free diet for 6 weeks, you’ll probably feel much better.
These 4 supplements plus the gluten free anti-inflammatory diet are my current protocol
UltraInflamX® Plus 360 — 2 scoops twice daily in a shake.
LactoFlamX™ — 1 capsule daily
EPA-DHA 6:1™ Enteric Coated — 2 softgels three times daily.
3™ — 1 tablet three times daily.
Regarding the Anti-inflammatory Diet: The whole point of the avoid list is to remove as much of the inflammatory foods and commonly allergenic foods to give the body a much needed rest and hopefully begin to rejuvenate. This is similar to an allergy elimination technique. For example, you know that wheat & dairy products are everywhere and one of the most allergic foods. These foods need to be eliminated first.
I have my patients follow the anti-inflammatory diet for a month and then add 1 food every few days. If eggs ( I also know they are a perfect protein food) are what you miss the most… make it the first thing to try. Patients find this sooo easy to do themselves.
I want my clients to feel responsible and enpowered to take charge of their own health using nutrition. Each day I hear new clients come in and share with me their disappointing stories of things they have already tried. After they have been on my anti-inflammatory diet program for a month (sometimes sooner), they come to find out they had an exaggerated immune reaction (IGG). Clients get the message quickly without any nagging from me. Please don’t think I’m going to be upset with you for not following the diet to a tee. I love watching patients teach themselves their own lessens.
This is an example of one of the product protocols I use to help ‘miracles’ occur in my patients.
Choice 1: Ultraclear/Advaclear 28 day from Metagenics. This is a great maximum bang for the detoxing buck.
Choice 2: Xymogen OptiCleanse GHI, Mitochondrial Kit 28 day cleanse. Both have simple directions.
I keep track of patients progress using the body composition analysis. I personally evaluate and work with each patient to ensure weight loss progress.
Chronic pain patients can have slower pogress….sometimes several years and patience is the hardest thing to do. I look for the slow and steady slope with my chronic pain patients.More