Guarding Against Inflammation

Guarding Against Inflammation

I recently attended a seminar on inflammation led by nutritionist Beverly White, PhD, RD from Oregon State University.  A resident nutritionist for several assisted living facilities, Beverly works to reduce the systemic inflammation that underlies many of the health issues that affect her residents.  She also tours the country lecturing to health professionals about the role of inflammation in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, chronic heart disease, lung and kidney disease, arthritis and auto-immune disorders, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and even Alzheimer’s and other neurological illnesses.  Beverly also discussed how inflammation can speed up the aging process, which is why many anti-aging programs focus on reducing inflammation to promote longevity and youthfulness.

Preventing or reducing inflammation is a key goal of friends, colleagues and clients, so I am sharing Beverly’s recommendations here.  They are NOT in any particular order, and are based on extensive research she has either studied or conducted herself:

  • Exercise 30 minutes per day to increase your health and reduce inflammation, 60 minutes a day if you are a child or want to lose weight, and 90 minutes a day if you have recently lost a lot of weight and want to change your metabolism to keep the weight off.  Stay away from high-impact aerobics because the intense pounding can cause inflammation.
  • Follow The MIND Diet which is based on the DASH Diet and Mediterranean Diet, and is great for your brain.  Here is a WebMD article giving info on The MIND Diet, and a website with information on The Mediterranean Diet.
  • Eat small amounts of cheese (not included in The MIND Diet.) Recent studies are showing that cheese can help reduce inflammation.
  • Don’t use more than 2 T of coconut oil per day.  Because of its high saturated fat content, the popular oil can actually increase inflammation.
  • Use olive and avocado oils.  (Side note from me: don’t feed your dog anything cooked in avocado oil – avocados are toxic to dogs.)
  • Eat at least 1/3 cup of yogurt a day.  Choose a yogurt that has 6 or more strains of good bacteria.  Tillamook Greek Yogurt has 7 or 8 strains, and tastes tolerable to people who aren’t big yogurt fans.
  • You must eat foods that are considered PREBIOTICS for your probiotics to work.  The following foods are prebiotics: chicory root, whole grains, leafy greens, onions and garlic, berries, bananas, legumes (including soy), honey, red wine, and artichokes.
  • Take or eat PROBIOTICS.  This can include fermented cabbage, yogurt, buttermilk or supplements.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.  Some people need more.  Here is a website that specializes in sleep: GET SLEEP
  • Reduce stress.  Stress causes inflammation.  Beverly singled me out in class since I was the only LMT present, and thanked me for helping people reduce their stress 🙂
  • Eat a lot of fish.  If you are worried about radiation or mercury, check with SEAFOOD WATCH or EWG GUIDELINES for help in choosing safer kinds.
  • Eat a lot of protein with lunch.  (I failed to take notes on why…based on the next tip, protein must affect sleep when you eat it later in the day.)
  • Don’t drink milk at night – it won’t help you sleep because it’s a protein.
  • Sugar slows down your brain, and can create inflammation.  Stay away from it and other forms of fructose as much as you can.  Don’t worry about the fructose in fruit, though…you would never be able to eat enough fruit to go over healthy levels of fructose.  Omega-3’s can help counteract sugar’s ill effects.
  • “Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can choke down.”
  • Large amounts of Stevia can change DNA.  “Don’t go crazy with it.”
  • Lose extra fat, especially belly fat which can contribute to systemic inflammation and disease because of the type of fat (visceral) contained there.
  • Here’s a fun fact:  When you lose weight, 80% of your fat is exhaled as CO2.  The other 20% is excreted through urine as water.  Who knew?
  • “Quit listening to Dr. Oz and go for a walk instead.”  Beverly said his cleanse and fasting recommendations are ruining people’s metabolisms.

Beverly ended the seminar with a quote from Jack LaLanne, “If it’s man-made, don’t eat it, and if it tastes good, spit it out.”  She was only half-joking!  I hope you find helpful tidbits in her inflammation information.  Thanks for reading!

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