I am a nut about inflammation.
One of the most important things you can ever do for your overall health to slow or delay the aging process is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Here’s why this is so important:
As long as you have inflammation, you will have PAIN somewhere in your body.
As long as you have inflammation, your body will be overproducing the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the most destructive hormone in the whole body. It breaks things down – hair, bone, muscle tissue. You are going to look and feel old from all this breaking down. And you are probably going to have excess fat around your midsection from the overproduction of cortisol.
As long as you have inflammation, your cholesterol level is going to be affected. Cholesterol is a repair substance. Your body produces cholesterol in response to inflammation.
And as long as you have inflammation, your brain chemistry is not going to be as robust as it could be. I have had tons of clients be able to take themselves off antidepressants after helping them heal their gut and overcome inflammation.
And as long as you have inflammation, you are going to have some sort of -itis, such as arthritis, bursitis, gingivitis, colitis, cystitis. The list goes on, and it is not very fun and may even include cancer, since inflammation, along with impaired detoxification, is a primary risk factor for cancer.
Recently I was at the Apple store having yet another appointment at the Genius Bar to try to figure out what has been going on with my computer. I asked for an especially brilliant genius, since no one else seemed to have been able to figure things out and I have spent time with many many of the very nice folks there. The guy that I ended up speaking to was completely exhausted. He had taken time off work to be with his mother, who had just had another surgery. She had her hips replaced, her shoulder replaced and a knee replaced.
“We are calling her a bionic woman,” he told me.
This lady is only 64 years old.
What went through my mind was, “This lady is not my client. Had she been my client, she would have been on anti-inflammatory diet and would have learned how to stretch to relieve the pain in her joints and exercise in such a way to heal her lower back, hips, shoulders and knees. She is probably still inflamed. Thank God I do what I do.”
An estimated 70 percent of inflammation begins in the gut, so that means what you eat and drink have a direct effect on how good or bad you feel.
One of my yoga teachers, Lillah Schwartz in Asheville, communicates this message very simply by advising her students to avoid CATS – caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar.
Although I am not a proponent of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco or sugar, I (am assuming that if someone is my client they already know they should extinguish their cigarettes and leave their soda pop, mixed drinks and junk food in the car before coming into my office), my top three bugaboos in this area are fried foods, gluten and alcohol.
I try to get everybody taking tons of antioxidants in the form of fresh juices and lots of fruits and vegetables, since antioxidants help to repair all this damage and the fruits and veggies tend to alkalize the body chemistry, alleviating a lot of this pain.
I like a website called www.nutritiondata.self.com, which helps people understand the Inflammation Index. Foods like wild-caught Alaskan salmon have a positive number and are anti-inflammatory. Foods like French fries, donuts and bagels are pro-inflammatory and have a negative number.
One of the things I am always explaining is that inflammation is like fire in the body. You can’t just have inflammation in your big toe. If your big toe hurts, chances are rather high that you have inflammation to some degree absolutely everywhere, since the connective tissue system connects every cell to every other cell.