Lisa Tsakos

Arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, periodontitis, prostatitis, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease -- most of us are afflicted by inflammation at one time or another, some of us on a daily basis. We may feel that we're out of options when medications aren't the answer, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Julie Daniluk, a registered holistic nutritionist, author of "Meals That Heal Inflammation: A Practical Guide," and host of television's "The Healthy Gourmet," is convinced that diet can impact inflammation.

"Food becomes the building blocks of your body, so you can provide powerful healing or create inflammation depending on your choices," Daniluk explains.

Overlooked food sensitivities may worsen an inflammatory condition. The process of elimination can help identify problematic foods. Daniluk's program, outlined in her book, "takes people through a 10-week program to help them discover which foods may be causing pain and replaces them with healing, tasty meal options."

Which inflammatory conditions respond best to dietary changes?

"All inflammatory conditions will improve," Daniluk says, "but the most marked changes are with digestive disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), skin disorders such as eczema, and joint conditions such as gout and arthritis."

Daniluk says there are plenty of effective anti-inflammatory foods that can help most people manage their health naturally.

Cold-water fish like salmon, anchovies, mackerel and sardines are an excellent source of eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA), the two potent omega-3 fatty acids that can dramatically reduce inflammation.

The spice turmeric contains the powerful, non-toxic compound curcumin. Studies have found that turmeric's anti-inflammatory effects are as effective as potent drugs, such as hydrocortisone, but without any side effects. Ginger, a relative of turmeric, is also prized around the world for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Papaya possesses powerful enzymes that reduce inflammation. Christopher Columbus' "fruit of the angels," contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme. Together with other nutrients, which include vitamins C and E, papain helps to reduce inflammation while improving digestion. Worthy of mention, pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that reduces swelling and can be used to treat indigestion, sports injury, trauma, and arthritis.

Berries are antioxidant powerhouses that provide anti-inflammatory protection against many diseases such as cancer and dementia. Feast on organic blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, currants, raspberries, and mulberries. If you suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, be sure to strain out the seeds to avoid discomfort.

Just as diet can help reduce inflammation, eating the wrong foods can worsen the pain and swelling of inflammation. Avoiding the following foods can help avoid unnecessary inflammation, Daniluk says.

Fatty meats and high fat cheeses, such as ribs, bacon, lamb, duck, goose, sausages, hamburger, hot dogs, cheddar, brie, and cream cheese contain saturated fats and are loaded with arachidonic acid, a powerful inflammatory agent when consumed in excess.

Avoid most cooking and salad dressing oils, shortening, and refined baked goods, including all vegetable shortening, margarines, and corn, safflower, peanut, and other vegetable cooking and salad oils. These products almost always contain rancid oils and may contain trans fatty acids.

Avoid fried foods. Heating oil at high temperatures creates toxins that are destructive to health. Instead, bake, boil, or steam food and add oil as a dressing after cooking.

Nightshade vegetables -- tomatoes, white potatoes, red and green bell peppers, "hot" peppers like chili and paprika, and eggplant -- can worsen arthritis pain. Nightshades contain high levels of alkaloids such as solanine, which cause the bones to excrete calcium and trace elements from the body.

"There are 6 billion diets for 6 billion people on the planet. Everyone is such an individual that we have to discover what works in each person," Daniluk explains. "The Meals That Heal Inflammation Program helps people discover their own plan that can change over time as they improve their health and their taste buds begin to enjoy natural flavors."

Achieving the right balance of anti-inflammatory foods may take a little experimenting, but in time, you'll be able to help control your health with delicious meals.


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Health - Fight Inflammation With the Right Diet