Health MATTERS – Inflammation Fighters

Why eating certain power foods can help you avoid the disease-causing condition.

Susan Biali (a practicing GP, wellness expert and life coach) explains the connection between food and inflammation.  She is also the author of Live a Life You Love: 7 steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You. inflammation2

Biali first learned about this connection a decade ago when she visited a dermatologist about her acne condition at the time.  This specialist was way ahead of his time: instead of prescribing medication, he asked her what she was eating.  He explained that angry, red pimples are a manifestation of inflammation in the body, and that eating certain foods makes acne worse or better.  When she took his advice and changed her diet, her skin changed dramatically.  Of course, there are different causes for acne so food isn’t always the cure, but as a rule an anti-inflammatory diet should improve redness, inflammation and the overall look of your skin. 

Sometimes chronic inflammation is obvious, as with a painful arthritic knee, but it’s typically much more subtle.  Inflammation that contributes to heart disease happens at a microscopic level in your arteries.  You’ll never notice it or feel it until the condition is severely advanced.  The various triggers responsible for this can be stress related, depression, smoking and poor sleep.

You probably heard long ago that eating a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of heart disease.  What you might not know is that it’s also a textbook “anti-inflammatory diet” packed with whole foods and low in refined sugars, refined flours, trans fat and red meat – all of which are believed to lead to inflammation.  Here are some of the power foods that reduce inflammation, protect you from disease and slow the aging process.

Fatty Fish – like mackerel, salmon, trout and sardines are powerfully anti-inflammatory.  In addition to eating fish a couple times a week, taking a high-quality wild fish oil supplement daily is also recommended.

Fruit and Vegetables – deep red berries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and red & orange peppers are potent anti-inflammatories.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – this is one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet.  Use it in salads, in cooking and for dipping whole grain breads.  Don’t go overboard, though; one Tbsp. has about 119 calories and 14 grams of fat!  Yes, it’s a good fat,….but can still be fattening.

High-Fibre Whole Grains – refined white flours convert quickly into sugar in your blood, which is inflammatory.  Fibre, in contrast, is anti-inflammatory and digests more slowly, avoiding damaging spikes in sugar.  A test: if you can easily squish a piece of bread – crusts removed – into a pea size ball, it’s not high fibre.  Look for four to six grams of fibre content on the label before buying a “whole-grain” product.

Tumeric – a superstar!  It’s active ingredient (this was mentioned in my beauty post) curcumin, comes in supplement form and has been shown to be as potent for easing aches and pains as OTC painkillers such as ibuprofen.  I love turmeric rich curries and keep a bottle of the spice in my cupboard.

The scientific support for whole foods just keeps growing.  The better you eat, the better you’ll look and feel, and the more likely you’ll enjoy a healthy, inflammation-free life.

An excellent book on the subject:

inflammation1Conquer Inflammation will give you clear and concise details on exactly how inflammation is generated by your immune system or your fat cells and how it continuously creates havoc in your heart, your brain, your joints, your skin, and your soft tissues. This book will show you how you can end the inflammatory activity in your body without resorting to drugs that may have harmful side-effects. Lifestyle changes, nutritional strategies, and natural supplements can stop the inflammation process without causing more harm to your body.  Available on

You can also try a product called “Leaf-Source”inflammation3LeafSource mineral products are derived from a 100% natural, organic, prehistoric sea-bed deposit dated at about 120 million years old. Agricultural civilizations have long relied on sea beds as vital sources of fertilizer that enrich soils and provide the nutrients in our foods.

We now know that this intricate matrix of naturally occurring organic acids and alkalizing minerals can have a direct beneficial effect on the body ultimately helping the body run more efficiently.

If you have other recommendations for fighting inflammation please pass them along.