Changing how and what we eat, as well as managing stress and getting enough restful sleep has been shownÂ in research studies to reduce pain and symptoms in people withÂ chronic inflammatory diseasesÂ such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Hashimotoâ€™s Hypothyroidism, Celiac disease, etc.. As well, there is increasing evidence thatÂ cardiovascular disease, includingÂ heart attackÂ and stroke are inflammatory in nature and that lowering riskÂ is best managed through dietary and lifestyle changes. For those with a strong family history of heart disease, the Anti-Inflammatory Protocol dove-tails perfectly with a low-carb high healthy fat diet.
Knowing which foodsÂ promote inflammationÂ andÂ whyÂ and which foods are evidence-based to haveÂ anti-inflammatory propertiesÂ and whyÂ is essential for those seeking to reduce pain and symptoms associated with a chronic inflammatory condition. Choosing foods that areÂ nutrient dense,Â promote gut health,Â address diet-related disruptions in hormone-regulationÂ and thatÂ target immune system regulationÂ are key in theÂ Anti-Inflammatory Protocol.
Nutrient densityÂ â€“ Every system in the body, including the immune system requires an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids to function normally. Micronutrient deficiencies and imbalances are considered key players in the development and progression of autoimmune disease, therefor attention is put on consuming the most nutrient-dense foods available. A nutrient-dense diet provides the â€˜building blocksâ€™ that the body needs to heal damaged tissues. The goal is to supply the body with a surplus of micronutrients to correct both deficiencies and imbalances, supporting regulation of the immune system, hormone and neurotransmitter production.
Gut healthÂ â€“ It is thought that â€˜gut dysbiosisâ€™ (gut microbial imbalance) and â€˜leaky gutâ€™ may be key facilitators in the development of autoimmune disease. The foods recommended on the Anti-inflammatory Protocol support the growth of healthy levels and a healthy variety of gut microorganisms. Foods that irritate or damage the lining of the gut are avoided, while foods that help restore gut barrier function and promote healing are encouraged.
Diet-related Disruptions in hormone regulationÂ – What we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat affects a variety of hormones that interact with the immune system. Eating foods with too much sugar or â€˜grazingâ€™ throughout the day, rather than eating food at set meals spaced apart deregulate these hormones. As a result, the immune system is typically stimulated. Promoting regulation of these hormones through diet, in turn has a modulating effect on the immune system. As well, dietary hormones that impact the immune system are also profoundly affected by how much sleep we get, how much and what kinds of activity we do, and how well we reduce and manage stress, so looking at diet and lifestyle together, is key.
Immune system regulationÂ â€“ Our intestines are home to millions of bacteria which live in symbiotic relationship with us. Â We provide food for them and when in balance, they maintain the integrity of the gut wall, which serves as a protective barrier. When our gut ‘flora’ gets out of balance, having an excess of pathogenic bacteria, this protective barrier becomes compromised, resulting in small ‘holes’ that permit exchange between the inside of our gut and the blood stream. Â This is what is called “leaky gut“. Endotoxins produced by the proliferation of “bad” bacteria canÂ get into the blood stream,Â stimulating the immune system, and resulting inÂ systemic inflammation. What becomes critical is to limit the factors that contribute to excess of the “bad bacteria” and restore a healthy amount and diversity of â€œgoodâ€ gut microorganisms, so that the gut once again functions as a protective barrier, and immune system regulation is achieved.
What is theÂ Anti-Inflammatory Protocol?
TheÂ Anti-Inflammatory Protocol identifies foods thatÂ promote inflammationÂ from those that research indicates haveÂ anti-inflammatory properties.Â It isn’t simply a list of “eat this” and “don’t eat that”, but explainsÂ what about a particular food promotes inflammationÂ orÂ inhibits it.Â It explains the role ofÂ key inflammatory -producing compoundsÂ such asÂ lectins,Â saponinsÂ andÂ protease inhibitors, andÂ which foods they are found in, and how eating those foods contribute to “leaky gut”. Which grains can one eat? Â Which should be avoided? What about beans and lentils? Are there some better than others?
TheÂ Anti-Inflammatory Protocol explains which healthy cooking and eating fats won’t contribute to the production ofÂ Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs)Â – and how this compound causes oxidative damageÂ to the cells in the body. Knowing this enables people to know whether oils such asÂ grapeseed for example,Â are a good choice and if not,Â why -Â as well as which other oils would be preferable.
I want people toÂ understand in simple terms howÂ omega 6Â (Ï‰-6) fats compete for binding sites and elongation enzymes withÂ omega 3Â (Ï‰-3) fats, as this enables them to determine whether foods such asÂ nuts and seedsÂ should be included in an anti-inflammatory diet. If they understand the role of hormones such as insulin and what causes it’s release, they can determine for themselves whether productsÂ likeÂ agave syrupÂ orÂ coconut sugarÂ are preferable to table sugar when followingÂ an anti-inflammatory protocol. I find that once people understand the theory as toÂ why they should eat less of certain foodsÂ (explained in ways that don’t require an educational background in science!) and they also understandÂ which types of foods they should aim to eat more of,Â they are empowered to make dietary choices that contribute to reducing inflammation, as well as symptoms, along with risk factors for other inflammation-related conditions.
I consider my primary role is as an educator. I don’t want to tell someone they need to eat this food on this day and this other food on the next day. Â It is far more rewarding and helpful to them, if I help them knowÂ how to make these decisions themselves.
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To our good health,
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