Inflammation is defined as a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, swelling, red coloration to the area, and sometimes loss of movement or function. We commonly think of inflammation as the painful component of arthritis. Inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes.
Anti-Inflammatory Medical Treatments
Common medical anti-inflammatory treatments include rest, light exercise, weight maintenance, stretching, and medications designed to reduce the inflammation and control the pain. These medications include Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), steroid medications, and perhaps ultimately joint replacement surgery. The NSAIDs are widely used as the initial form of therapy.
Steroid treatments can cause brittle bones and candida/yeast problems. NSAIDs can irritate the stomach and lead to ulcers. In some instances, long term use can lead to kidney problems.
The foods you eat play an important roll in how you feel. Loading up on junk foods and fast foods tend to make you feel worse due to the sugars, hydrogenated fats and preservatives they contain. These ingredients can irritate inflammation. Red meat and eggs contain something called arachidonic acid. While some arachidonic acid is essential for your health, too much arachidonic acid in the diet will make your inflammation worse. Processed sugars and refined starchy carbohydrates like white flour (both illegal on SCD) can also aggravate inflammation. Another possible source of irritation are plants from the nightshade family; although I have found these not so problematic as we are led to believe . . . once the immune system is strengthened.
Water and Dehydration
One big factor in pain is dehydration. When you do not drink enough water, you hurt and inflammation feels worse. Make sure to drink at least 60 to 80 ounces of water every day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption because they contain diuretics that may cause your body to lose water.
Delayed Food Allergies
Many people have delayed reactions to foods that will increase inflammation and pain. These types of “food allergies” are not really allergies like hayfever, but they do involve the immune system and can make pain and inflammation much worse. Frequently the underlying problem is due to faulty digestion or excessive consumption of a particular food. Most any food that is consumed more than 4 days a week, or your favorite food, can be suspected as a possible allergen. Some of the common allergic foods that are SCD legal are milk and dairy, eggs and beef. Even healthy foods can cause problems if your body happens to be sensitive to them. There are blood tests that can be performed to pinpoint allergy foods; but these are expensive and often not accurate. Also food allergies change periodically. Elimination diets can be undertaken to determine your allergy foods.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is an Anti-inflammatory Diet
The common western high fat, high red meat, high processed food diet is likely to increase inflammation while a healthy diet, such as the SCD, made up of whole foods can actually help to decrease inflammation and pain. Choose fresh foods including the anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables listed in the SCD Complete Food List.
Essential Fatty Acids, Fats, and Oils
Adding anti-inflammatory foods that contain the right type of fats to your diet will impact pain and inflammation in a positive way. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in cold water oily fish, walnuts and pumpkin seeds and will help to reduce inflammation. Make sure to speak with a doctor or nutritionist before taking larger, therapeutic doses of any supplements. Dr. Mercola believes we shouldn’t eat fish more than once a week because of today’s contamination problem. He recommends Krill oil as being the best and safest source of Omega 3 oil. You can order it from www.mercola.com
Olive oil and coconut oil are types of oil that won't promote inflammation. Both have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and will help to reduce pain.
Protein is needed to build healthy body tissues. Good protein choices include lean poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, white beans or lentils (soaked 12 hrs. and drained 3 times before cooking) and seeds. Red meats may trigger inflammation, so cut back on fatty red meats. When you do eat red meat, choose grass-fed beef and lamb or low fat bison, venison and other game meats whenever possible.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Choose green leafy vegetables, green and brightly colored vegetables and lots of fresh whole fruits. Berries are a great choice, especially blueberries and strawberries which are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. Apples and red onions are great sources of quercetin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Green vegetables and whole fruits are also important as sources of dietary fiber. See “SCD Complete Food List” on page #2 of this website.
Over all, when you are choosing anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce your inflammation and pain, choose fresh foods instead of processed foods. Here are some tips:
After all symptoms are gone, snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh raw vegetables throughout the day.
Stay away from deep-fried foods and bake or stir fry your meals instead.
Choose green, orange, and yellow vegetables for your side dishes.
Drink plenty of water, fresh 100% juices (no sugar added & NOT from concentrate) and brewed mint tea.
Limit fish and fatty red meat – each to no more than once a week. Get your Omega 3 fatty acids from fish or krill oil. Make sure the source is from the cold deep sea waters and uncontaminated - free of PCBs, lead and mercury.
Take carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid, mitochondrial nutrients, which boost energy and may also help with cognitive functions such as focused thinking and memory.
Take cognitive enhancements, such as coenzyme Q10, to increase blood flow to the brain.
Take nutrients that support your adrenal gland (such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid - A “B Complex” is better than taking only 1 single B vitamin).
Take calcium/magnesium supplements for muscle pain and spasm.
Take extra magnesium (30 to 420 mg a day, depending on age and gender) and malic acid (found in apples, pears, and other fruits), when muscle pain or cramps are your primary symptoms.
Low levels of vitamin A & D may increase arthritic inflammation caused by various diseases; taking vitamin A & D may improve these symptoms – 10 minutes a day in the sun to absorb vitamin D can be particularly helpful.
Take daily probiotics supplements, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, and/or make homemade SCD yogurt to help maintain or restore normal levels of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. See "Benefits of Probiotics" article on page #2.
Maintaining a healthy weight is another way to reduce your pain from inflammation.
Each of these should be discussed with your healthcare provider before using.
Excerpts taken from www.mercola.com