Sunday, August 19, 2012

Decrease Inflammation In Your Body and Increase Your Health And Vitality

Working with athletes, my goal is constantly to reduce the inflammation level in their body, which will decrease the pain and soreness associated with high-level training. As a trained chiropractor, I do not advocate the use of muscle relaxants or other pharmaceutical drugs to relieve this type of pain.

Exercise-induced inflammation is caused by anaerobic exercise as well as the excessive aerobic exercise needed for elite athletes to train. Inflammation occurs as a result of their training program. Even the weekend warrior will experience inflammation following long bursts of exercise. Inflammation is also caused by the foods we eat.

Inflammation is a necessary reaction in our body to an acute injury, such as a cut or an insect bite alerting the immune system that it needs to begin the healing process in that particular area. The foods consumed by the average American and encouraged by mass advertising and the media, however, is pro-inflammatory and is the root cause of many of the disease processes that are becoming epidemic in America. This type of inflammation is bad. Very bad.

How bad? A short list of the consequences of excessive inflammation in the body includes: Arthritis, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, aging, osteoporosis, chronic pain, skin problems such as acne, candidiasis, and gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Although I work with athletes who cannot necessarily cut short their training, I teach them that they must limit all pro-inflammatory foods in their diet since they cannot avoid the inflammation they create from the mere stress of using their body beyond normal limits. We all need to heed this advice though, since everyone is exposed to stress of different types on a daily basis. Stress increases inflammation, be it beyond normal exercise or frustrations at work. There are things in life we cannot control, but diet is not one of them.

In my years of nutritional counseling work, I have witnessed miracles occurring when people changed their diets to include anti-inflammatory foods. Not only did their weight and blood pressure return to normal ranges, but they also lost the joint aches and pains, the feeling of exhaustion, indigestion, their inability to focus and concentrate, and the high/low blood sugar cycle that had plagued them for years.

Switching to real food, whole food, food in its natural condition, unprocessed, unrefined, not packaged, and with no artificial anything added to it is the first step that brings you closer to an anti-inflammatory diet. Avoid all sugars, refined carbs, alcohol, caffeine, sodas, bottled juices, processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, white rice, white flour, white bread, white potatoes (avoid the whites), all packaged crackers, cereals, donuts, cookies, all fast foods, and even large amounts of very sweet fresh fruits and dried fruits.

What's left? The best of foods.  Real foods. Almost all fresh vegetables, sweet potatos, brown rice in small amounts, beans, lentils, fruits that have the least amount of sugar in them, nuts, and seeds, as well as good fats like flaxseeds, hemp seeds, avocado and extra virgin olive oil.

Fighting inflammation is only one reason we all need to eat fresh, green, clean real foods. Now more than ever we must be in total control of the food we eat if we want to enjoy a lifetime of excellent health.

*Note:  You can find Natural Remedies for Inflammation on the Natural Remedy Reference Guide II (available for purchase as a refrigerator magnet HERE.)

About the Author: Genko Tano, DC has over 25 years of experience in the fields of Chiropractic and nutrition and currently works as a freelance nutritional consultant for elite athletes. He and his wife, Maxine, have written a book, Eater's Quest, available on Kindle, discussing inflammation as well as the glycemic index and practical ways to change your diet. You can read more insights by Dr. Tano at his website or by following his facebook page.