More about Inflammation

Anti-inflammatory Food/ Ingredients

Limit total Calories:Limit Daily Calories less than total metabolic rate total energy expenditure.
#1 driver of body inflammation is consumption of too many calories where daily calories exceed a person’s total metabolism (rate we burn calorie) where excess weight inflames your body’s organs cells.
Calculator your metabolism.

For women, an average metabolic rate is 1500 to 2500 depending on the level of exercise.

Using 2000 calories a day and assuming 3 meals a day with no snacks, each meal needs to be less than 666 calories. Foods with empty and bad calories is a main driver of excess calorie.

High Nutrient per Calorie:Not all calories are equal. Inflammatory foods consists of bad and empty calories. The best way to ensure consumption of good calorie is nutrient density. The Nutrient Institute has create a proprietary simple measurement to separate good, bad and empty calories by its Nutrient Density to Calorie measure.

All Essential Nutrients: Your body must get all essential nutrients daily and a major cause of inflammatory is the lack of essentials nutrients in our foods. They call called Essential because our bodies cannot produce them, we have to have them and must get them in our foods. They are 12 essential amino acids, 14 vitamins, 14 minerals, 2 healthy fats, fiber and water. Even the best foods, so called superfoods, lack all the essential nutrients so it so it is critical to make sure your daily diet includes all essential nutrients, the right ones, in the right amount.

Limit Total carbs < Basal Metabolism Rate (BMR): Make your Carbs count. Your body need Carbs because they are the best source of your body’s energy. Using other macronutrients, fat and protein as your energy source, long term, damages your brain, organs and muscles and is inflammatory. However excess carbs are inflammatory and total carbs should not exceed your BMR (amount of calories burned when in resting state).

Calculate your BMR

Make your carbs count, with carbs that are nutrient dense

Good Carbs: good carbs are complex carbs which are not processed, with high refined ingredients so the body absorbs slowly and we
have sustained energy. Foods with a low glycemic index (conversion of foods into glucose) are a good measure of good carbs. Bad carbs are go quickly into the blood stream giving us a quick energy spike follow by an energy crash – the dreaded pop and drop. Avoid ultra processed food, which is a good indicator of high glycemic foods.

Low Sugar: High sugar is a major inflammatory ingredients. Americans consume about 130 grams day vs a recommended about of <50 grams. The body processes natural and added sugars the same so a total sugar count is all that matters – the movement to treat “natural” sugar and added sugar is silly. The worse sugar is fructose (fruit sugar) which only our liver can process. It is not realistic to assume a no sugar diet for taste, plus our body and brain needs some sugar. The brain can only burn sugar. If we eat 3 meals a day and some snacks, a good guideline is every meal should less than 10 grams of total sugar which would produce between 30 and 40 grams of sugar daily, enough for what our body’s need without inflaming our systems.

Gluten Free:Gluten is not as bad as its reputation, but it is inflammatory to a segment of the the population: 1) those with celiac (~1%); 2) some people who are not celiac are still sensitive to gluten (~0.5%) and 3) for some menopausal women gluten cause a cortisol release leading to depression of
estrogen and progesterone (population effected, unknown). When in doubt, eliminate gluten from the diet.

Low Saturated Fats:Saturated fats inflame the body by causing it to releasing immune fighting cells, like endotoxin. Total saturated fat a day should be no more than 20 grams so each meal should be less than 7 grams.

Low Omega 6/Omega 3 Ratio: Fat is good, if it is the right kind of fat. Omega 6 is inflammatory and Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory. General people get too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 which is very inflammatory. Today’s foods the average Omega 6/omega 3 ratio is 10 to 20:1 which is way too high. To ensure anti-inflammatory, the ratio should be less than 10:1. Working both sides of the ratio is important: increasing Omega 3 and reducing omega 6 (which comes mainly from vegetable oils, so fried foods are high in omega-6s).

High Fiber:high fiber is anti-inflammatory as it helps your gastrointestinal tact and promotes a healthy microbiome. Each meal should have at least 20% of your daily requirements or 5 grams. The American diet is significantly low in fiber and thus, inflammatory.

Vegetable Protein:Your body does not process protein but breaks it down into amino acids. All Protein is NOT equal. The quality of protein is determined by it profile of amino acids and its PDCAAS score. Animal protein has an excellent PDCASS score but also comes with high saturated fats if you eat meats and cheese. Meat and Dairy also contain arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated omega 6 acid, which is inflammatory. Vegetable protein PDCASS score is weaker, except for Soy which has a complete amino acid profile. The Weston A Price Foundation, with ties to dairy industry, has done a fake news job on soy (see below) but in general vegetable protein can be a good source of amino acids if you are aware of what each one lacks.

Secondary Drivers: Anti-inflammatory Food/Ingredients

Water: our bodies need a lot of water daily as our body’s are 70% water. Foods with a high water content per gram of total food are anti-inflammatory as they provide the needed water and creates fullness with fewer calories.

No artificial additives:There is some evidence that artificial additives (sweeteners, colors, preservatives) can increase inflammatory but the scientific certainty has not been validated. But artificial ingredients are general tied to processed foods which are inflammatory so it is best to avoid artificial additives.

Low Fat protein source: American generally eat plenty of protein but much of the protein, meat and dairy, comes with high saturated fat, cholesterol and a bad omega 6/omega 3 ratio. Thus, sources of protein with low fat content is anti-inflammatory.

Low Cholesterol: high cholesterol foods are inflammatory and generally we should consume no more than 100 milligrams of cholesterol in each meal.

Anti-oxidants: oxidative stress occurs from foods we eat and our environments where free radials create havoc on our bodies. Many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, E, Beta Carotene, zinc and selenium, are anti-oxidants which fight the free radicals to lessen the damage our oxidative stress.

Spices: many spices are anti-inflammatory such as Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, sage, rosemary, and pepper. Foods full of spices are generally anti-inflammatory.

No Preservatives: Preservatives are linked to ultra processed foods which are inflammatory. While science has not directly proven it is the preservatives which creates the inflammation, it is wise to avoid foods with preservatives because you are most likely avoiding ultra processed foods and inflammatory foods.

GMO free: GMO’s have not been proven to be inflammatory but the jury is still out of GMOs, thus, avoid when possible.

No Acrylamide:acrylamide is created when cooking certain foods at high temperatures. Most snack foods and cereals are baked at high temperatures and contain significant acrylamide. Acrylamide has not been shown in humans to be inflammatory but it is a carcinogen so avoid it always. If you use the broad definition of inflammatory food, foods which harm your health long term, foods with acrylamide would be at the top.

Limit lectins, phytates, Oxalates, mold Toxins, arachidonic acid: It is not scientific proof these 4 ingredients are inflammatory but there is many who believe they might be. Thus, avoiding foods high in any of ingredients is wise. Interesting, many plants, fruits and vegetables contain lectins, phytates and oxalates (also known as anti-nutrient) as a survival method to prevent animals for eating them. Archindonic acid (AA), a polyunsaturated omega 6 acid can be inflammatory although stronger
science needs to be completed on AA. Beef, chicken, eggs and dairy contain arachidonic acid, but the levels have not changed in the past 50 years. It is most like the increase of AA in today’s diet is the increase of omega-6 rich oils used in processed foods.
  • There is no evidence that soy is inflammatory.
  • Eating a lot of soy reduces markers of inflammation -25% reduction for IL-6 and 14% for TNF-alpha. Soy products are rich in anti-oxidants, have a high quality soy protein, and some contain dietary fiber. Increased intakes of soy is associated with a lower risk of inflammatory conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Canola Oil
  • Popular sites on the internet present lame reasons why canola oil is inflammatory and usually don’t provide specifics about canola oil. 
  • Has the second highest omega-3s of all healthy vegetable oils (flax oil is first but it is unstable in foods) and is low in omega-6s, yielding a good balance between the two fatty acids (2 omega-6/1 omega-3). 
  • Is still stable (i.e., long shelf life)
  • Is low in saturated fat, which increases heart disease risk
  • High omega-9 (oleic; monounsaturated) fats just olive oil and avocados, which is cardio-protective.

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