Included below are the notes used during the Diet, Nutrition and Inflammation portions of our curriculum. It is a succinct look at how the foods we eat affect our internal inflammatory state.
While the actual classes go into more detail, the foods listed here are good places to begin improving one’s health in this area.
There are several strategies for reducing chronic inflammation; diet being a primary one. Many people use fish oil supplements to benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3.
Just as important, but not as well known, is to reduce foods that have the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 oils.
This approach is included in the foods listed below.
Fats – Animal
Animal sources provide saturated fats.
These are good when they come from grass fed, wild, or free range sources.
Fat from mainstream, grain fed animals should be avoided.
Milk products provide saturated fats and are good if the milk is raw, whole and from a grass-fed animal.
Any combination of low fat, homogenized or pasteurized milk from grain fed animals should be avoided.
Fish should be wild caught.
Farmed fish should be avoided.
Fats – Plant
Use a heat stable oil such as organic unrefined coconut oil for cooking and use organic virgin olive oil for unheated food such as salad dressing.
Oils from eating nuts – almond, walnut, pecan, sesame – are good.
Avocados are good.
“High oleic” is good
Most plant oils will be mono-unsaturated which have a fairly good shelf life.
There are many to avoid – canola, corn, soy.
Especially the generic ‘Vegetable Oil’ sold in some markets.
Avoid hydrogenated oils like Crisco. These should be marked on the ingredient label.
Some foods hide “Trans Fat” by making the serving size small enough that the amount of Trans Fats in each serving is minimal and the label can legally state “No Trans Fats”.
Often serving sizes are very small, so that consumers can end up eating quite a lot of trans fat if they eat several servings.
If the food is processed, it most likely has some type of hydrogenated oil, trans fat or bad quality refined vegetable oil.
Chia & Flax Seeds
These provide a small amount of Omega 3 fats.
They are therapeutically insignificant as the plant version of Omega 3 is both low quantity and poorly absorbed.
Animal sources of Omega 3 are considered more therapeutic as they are more easily absorbed.
These poly-unsaturated plant oils are highly unstable and begin to go rancid immediately after processing.
Oils from these seeds oxidize with heat so should never be cooked.
Chia (Salvia hispanica) seeds were historically eaten for their cooling and moistening demulcent qualities and as a source of bulk fiber.
Chia is native to the Sonoran desert down into Central America.
Animal protein, including seafood, is good if it is wild, grass-fed or free range.
Avoid processed meats, farmed seafood and mainstream grain-fed animals.
Emphasize complex carbohydrates which are relatively unprocessed.
Avoid white flour products even if they are organic, gluten free, etc.
Processed flour quickly raises one’s blood sugar which puts the circulatory system into an inflammatory state. Being organic or gluten-free doesn’t prevent inflammation in this situation.
This is a source of much confusion.
All sweeteners, *regardless of the marketing*, have the potential to raise blood sugar too high or too long.
Both conditions cause inflammation.
Sweeteners must be used sparingly.
A rainbow color of fruits and vegetables
Aromatic spices – Indian and Mediterranean
When possible, incorporate these into the diet rather than taken as supplements.
An excellent resource is the Weston Price Foundation.
Go to www.westonaprice.org and type “know your fats”.