chronic inflammation, charlotte nc, charlotte natural health, naturopathic, healthy eating

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Almost all diseases and illnesses stem from chronic inflammation.  Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is your body’s first line of defense against toxins, infections and injuries.  It helps to keep your body healthy and working properly.  When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals to alert your immune system.  Your body then sends inflammatory cells to heal the body from the foreign substance.  A good example of inflammation is when you get a splinter in your finger and your finger becomes red and puffy because your body is trying to fight any potential bacteria that is trying to enter your body.  This puts your body and immune system in overdrive causing chronic inflammation.

You may be suffering from chronic inflammation and not even know it.  Are you having a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, aging earlier than you should, or feel tired and sick all the time?  This is most likely due to chronic inflammation.

The most effective way to combat chronic inflammation is through diet.  At The Lifestyle Clinic, we put our patients on an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of high-quality proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits (in moderation), and nuts.  We try to focus on going back to the basics and making healthy food choices easy and simple for the everyday person.

Healing chronic inflammation isn’t only about adding anti-inflammatory foods—it’s also about getting rid of pro-inflammatory foods.  Most of us know that sugar and white flour are pro-inflammatory, but these are other foods that are usually known as “healthy” foods.  They may surprise you!

1. Whole wheat bread

The sugar in whole wheat bread will increase your blood glucose, causing your body to produce higher levels of pro-inflammatory cells.  Sugar elevates your insulin levels, triggering an immune response of destructive molecules to form, therefore feeding inflammation.

**Try eating your sandwich without bread or substituting with lettuce wraps.  If you don’t generally feel satisfied until you eat bread, try filling up on veggies first. Gluten is one of the main culprits of chronic inflammation.

2. Dairy

Dairy is thought to be the backbone of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients and helping to build strong bones.  The truth is that dairy is the most inflammatory food in our diets after gluten.  The human body is not able to break down the sugars and proteins (casein and whey) found in dairy.  When dairy enters the body, inflammatory chemicals are released in an attempt to help the body digest these foreign substances.

**Try consuming unsweetened nut or hemp milks as good alternatives to cow’s milk.  Other non-dairy sources of calcium are almonds, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and spinach. Dairy is highly inflammatory and one of the leading factors to chronic inflammation, despite the fact that we are told from a young age that it builds strong bones.

3. Diet soda

Have you made the switch to drinks with splenda, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners because you’re trying to lose weight by avoiding sugar?  If so, these sweeteners are causing your body more harm than sugar itself.  Artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance, increasing belly fat which in turn forces your body to crank out inflammatory chemicals.

**If you want to switch up the water to avoid chronic inflammation, try drinking unsweetened tea and sweetening with natural stevia or lemon. You can also add fruits to your water!

4. Seed oils

You might have heard that seed oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and canola oil are good for you. However, these oils are heavily processed and they’re frequently rancid even at the time you buy them. Worse yet, they have an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. They’re high in omega-6s, which are pro-inflammatory, and low in anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

**Substitute these with healthy fats like olive, coconut, and avocado oils. These healthy fats are anti-inflammatory and can help to decrease chronic inflammation.

5. Nonfat fruit yogurt

Most people view this as the ultimate health food, fast and convenient and having probiotics to help your gut flora. Most people don’t even realize that they don’t tolerate dairy well until they eliminate it from their diet. When they do, symptoms such as headaches, acne, bloating and allergies will clear up. This usually means that your internal inflammation is decreasing.

These yogurts are often full of pro-inflammatory sugar or artificial sweeteners and contain only a tiny amount of actual fruit. When these are made and stripped of its fat, they substitute artificial fillers and thickeners—ingredients that are unfamiliar to your body and can promote inflammation.

**Avoid dairy and to increase the health of your gut, take a daily probiotic and eat fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.


To fight inflammation, rethink “healthy.” Call The Lifestyle Clinic today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to learn more about healthy foods and to come up with a nutritional plan to help you feel your best!

Instead, try some of these Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
Dark, leafy greens
Turmeric
Blueberries
Broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies
Chia seeds
Avocados
Shiitake mushrooms

-By Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

Resources:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24830/5-healthy-foods-that-contribute-to-inflammation.html

http://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2012/09/22/9-foods-that-cause-inflammation-and-9-that-fight-it/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8646/the-dangers-of-dairy.html

unhealthy eating, healthy eating, food additives, natural health charlotte, naturopathic doctor, charlotte nc, natural health clinic in charlotte, nc

The 12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

When you eat processed, pre-packaged foods, you can guarantee that you’re also consuming a large amount of food additives.

Additives are often used in food processing to slow spoilage, prevent fats and oils from going bad, prevent fruits from turning brown, to improve taste, texture and appearance and even to enrich the food with synthetic man-made vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing.

Unfortunately, many of these additives have been linked to health concerns, while others have been granted “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status without any approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great resource to help you sort through the questionable compounds on food labels, as well as many other products we use on a daily basis such as shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Please visit their website for more information and receive up-to-date facts on your favorite foods and products: http://www.ewg.org/

 

  1. Nitrites and Nitrates

Sodium nitrite is a synthetic preservative added to meats like hot dogs and deli meat to help them maintain their color. In the presence of heat, chemical reactions occur which can damage cells and are very harmful to your health. Nitrates are present in many vegetables, which has led to some confusion. Nitrites and nitrates are not naturally bad for you, they can actually help to lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory effects. It is when nitrates are heated and form nitrosamines that they become dangerous.

  1. Potassium Bromate

Nearly every time you eat commercial breads you are consuming bromide, an endocrine-disrupting chemical commonly used in flours. Commercial baking companies use it because it makes the dough more elastic. Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. It is banned for food use in Canada, China, and the European Union (EU).

  1. Propyl Paraben

Propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used as a food preservative. It’s commonly found in tortillas, muffins, and food dyes and may also contaminate foods via packaging. Research has shown that 91 percent of Americans have propyl paraben in their urine, and is found in approximately half of beverages, dairy products, meat, and vegetables. It has been found to accelerate the growth of breast cancer cells, impair fertility in women, and reduce sperm counts and testosterone levels.

  1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative that affects the neurological system of your brain, alters behavior, and has the potential to cause cancer. It can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, popcorn, chips, and beer, just to name a few. BHA may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity. It is banned from infant foods in the UK and is banned from use in all foods in certain parts of the EU and Japan. In the US, the FDA considers BHA to be a GRAS (“Generally Recognized as Safe”) additive.

  1. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHT is chemically similar to BHA and the two preservatives are often used together. While BHT is not considered a carcinogen like BHA, it has been linked to tumor development and thyroid changes in animals. In the US, BHT is given GRAS status.

  1. Propyl Gallate

Propyl gallate is a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from going bad. It’s often found in sausage, frozen pizza, and other processed foods that contain edible fats. Propyl gallate is associated with tumors, including rare brain tumors, in rats.

  1. Theobromine

Theobromine is an alkaloid found in chocolate. It has effects similar to caffeine, and is the reason why chocolate is so highly toxic to dogs. Theobromine was granted GRAS status, without the approval of the FDA.

  1. Natural and Artificial Flavors

What’s particularly alarming when you see a word like “artificial flavor” or even “natural flavor” on an ingredients label is that there’s no way to know what it actually means. For example, strawberry artificial flavor can contain nearly 50 different chemical ingredients. Most people assume that a natural flavor describes something natural like strawberries, garlic, or chili pepper used to naturally season food. In reality, most natural flavors are created in a laboratory, just like artificial flavors. In the end, natural flavors often have little resemblance to the natural product they came from. One exception is certified organic natural flavors, which must meet more stringent guidelines and cannot contain synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients.

  1. Artificial Colors

Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into US foods. Nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions. For example, Red # 40, which is the most widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of tumors in mice, while also triggering hyperactivity in children. Blue # 2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods and more, was linked to brain tumors. And Yellow # 5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal, and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and other behavioral effects in children. Even the innocuous-sounding caramel color, which is widely used in brown soft drinks, may cause cancer.

  1. Diacetyl

The artificial flavoring called diacetyl is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn. It’s also used to flavor dairy products, including yogurt and cheese, and exists in some “brown flavorings,” including maple, strawberry, and raspberry flavors. Research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health, respiratory damage, inflammation and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Phosphates

Phosphates are added to more than 20,000 products, including fast food, baked goods, and processed meats. Phosphates have been linked to some concerning health conditions, including heart disease.

  1. Aluminum Additives

Sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate, and many other aluminum additives are found in processed foods as stabilizers. This metal can accumulate and persist in your body, especially in your bones, and animal studies show aluminum may cause neurological effects, including changes in behavior, learning, and motor response.

If you are concerned with what you’re eating or you think it may be time for a detoxification to rid your body of harmful food additives, call The Lifestyle Clinic (704-334-3761) for Natural Healthcare in Charlotte, NC to schedule a free phone consult with Dr. Parkes!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

 

Resources

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/26/12-worst-food-additives.aspx

http://www.ewg.org/