How to Take Inflammatory Foods Out of Your Diet, Part 1
When your body is on the inflammation treadmill, it can be hard to sustain your health. You may feel that everyday is a physical challenge that may include pain, headaches, brain fog and exhaustion.
Many inflammatory issues can be triggered by a variety of foods. Eating certain foods may not be the cause of your health problems, but they can be a secondary trigger to increase the inflammation in your body, worsening your existing condition.
High Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
Everywhere you look, you can find someone who is gluten-free and for good reason. The way we grow and process our food in America, especially wheat, lends that food to become highly inflammatory in our bodies.
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, and barley, is the sticky glue that gives dough its elastic qualities and allows bread to rise. One of the problems with gluten is that we lack the specific enzymes to fully break it down, so large parts of undigested protein get stuck in the small intestine where they slow the absorption of other nutrients, activate our immune system, and lead to leaky gut.
Our modern day wheat is hybridized to have 20x the amount of gluten that our wheat had just 50 years ago! This hybridization, along with the amount of chemical sprays used for bugs, color and shipping, create an end product that is a far cry from the unrefined food our grandparents ate.
Gluten Hiding in Your Food
In addition, wheat is easy and inexpensive to grow, which is why we find wheat in many different foods and cosmetics. Wheat and other forms of gluten are a cheap thickening and filler agent, showing up in cosmetics, toothpaste, gravies, sauces, salad dressings, and as barley malt, a type of sweetener.
Gluten hides in plain sight in the form of coffee creamer, bouillon cubes, candy, chewing gum, snack chips, cold cuts, fish sticks, gravies, ground spices, hot dogs, ketchup, tomato sauces, and soy sauce.
Gluten Free Substitutes
There are many gluten-free sprouted whole grains and flours like buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, millet, oat, and rice that can be substituted or eaten instead of wheat or gluten-based foods. You can find gluten-free recipes on my website here.
Overly Hybridized Grains Cause Inflammation
Other grains have similar hybridization and crossbreeding issues to wheat. Phytic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in plants, blocks the absorption and proper functioning of other nutrients in the body. These phyto-nutrients can prevent the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and copper in your body. Phytic acid is naturally found on the bran of grains and on the coating of some nuts and seeds. Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces the phytic acid.
Grains also contain amylopectin, which causes the starch to be more easily digested than other complex sugars, raising blood sugar faster.
Focus on foods with amylose instead of amylopectin to help balance blood sugar. Foods with amylose are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Inflammation Caused by Dairy
Conventionally raised cows on a modern farm are fed a stream of antibiotics, which plays a role in antibiotic resistance. Pasteurization of dairy kills essential enzymes and probiotics. In addition, pasteurization alters the amino acids profile of dairy.
Nearly all commercially sold milk is homogenized, a process that oxidizes fats and creates free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are known to weaken the immune system and increase intestinal inflammation, which can lead to leaky gut. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that a single glass of milk contained up to 20 different unnatural chemicals such as antibiotics, growth hormones, pain killers and other drugs; with organic dairy not getting better grades in this study.
You can find raw, organic, fermented goat or sheep milk which contain a healthy balance of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. In addition to regular milk, you can find unsweetened plant-based milks without emulsifiers, gums, and other additives.