Sunday, September 26, 2010

Days 35 & 36 Inflammation and Health

First of all, my update/check in.

Didn't get on the scale yesterday or today, but I'll recap my intake: yesterday I had two chicken soft tacos made with flour tortillas, refried beans, a tablespoon of rice, cheese, salsa and guacamole, a handful of corn chips with guacamole and salsa mixed, two Bud Light Limes,  two forks full of lemon cake, coffee with creamer (in the morning), and a glass of riesling wine (before bed). I have to add that the food/beer was at a graduation party, and other than the tiny bit of cake, I completely avoided the ridiculous amount fo cookies and sweets.

Today, in order to combat yesterday's not-so-great diet, I had a bowl of the squash soup I made the other day, two pieces of whole grain seeded bread, coffee, and water. Really wasn't all the hungry today. I also went for a two mile brisk walk this evening with the hubby.

Eh, tomorrow will be a good day!


Now on to the topic of the day: Inflammation and Health

We've all heard many times that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet is a good start to getting healthier. Likewise, we all know that decreasing the amount of saturated fats is also a good thing.

But one thing we don't hear much about is inflammation and how it is linked to our health and diet.

Chronic inflammation that occurs throughout the body is associated with 4 of the leading causes of disease and death for both men and women in the US: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The reasons are becoming clear as researchers discover that this systemic inflammation, linked to the foods we eat, produces a certain protein, called C-reactive protein, that is produced by the liver during periods of inflammation. Having an elevated level of this protein in the blood stream for prolonged periods of time is what researchers believe is a contributing factor to disease.

Ok, so that's a lot of nebulous scientific jargon that sounds a bit interesting, but how do I relate that to my diet? How do I use that info to help me make better choices in my life? Eat more veggies. Yeah, got that. But which ones? Are some better than others? Do some actually cause inflammation? How do I choose?

Well, one tool I've found to help me make better choices is Its a great website for checking out the foods I eat for things like calories, fat content, protein content, etc. But it also has additional indicators that show things like Inflammation Factor, Estimated Glycemic Load, Nutrient Balance and Protein Quality.

So this Inflammation Factor is a rating system that indicates a food's tendency to induce inflammation in the body. The higher, or more positive, the number, the better the food is for you because it is anti-inflammatory. While it may be difficult, if not impossible to eat only foods that are positive, NutritionData's website states that the goal should be to balance out the lower (negative) numbers with the higher positive numbers, with a net positive number being the goal.

Well, now I at least have a tool that will help me, but how do I find these anti-inflammatory foods?  You can find an extensive list here. There are pages and pages of foods listed that have very high anti-inflammatory qualities, some of the highest being hot peppers, ginger root, garlic, fish oil from salmon, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, and onions.

The reason I'm excited about this website (besides being free) is that my process of changing my diet and lifestyle is intended to be gradual and sustainable, and any tool I find to help me with that will just make things that much easier. I really want my changes to involve things that I like, that my family likes, and that I can continue to do without causing major disruptions in "how we do things". Basically, I want to "switch things out", one bad thing for one good thing.

Small, steady changes.

That being said, my plan is to incorporate one additional highly anti-inflammatory food into each meal for the next week. This will be my test period to see how things go over with the troupes.

By the way, olive oil is a positive (anti-inflammatory) food. YAY!!! That goes along with my earlier post on switching fats to lose fat.

I'll let you know what changes I make and how well they go over.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, follower #6 over from Patrick's blog. I'm looking forward to following your progress. Very interesting post. Now I'm off to check out the link you posted. Thanks.