Published on February 22nd, 2019 | by Natural Awakenings Northern New Jersey0
Five Principles for Optimum Health
by Doug Pucci
If there’s one thing we know to be a primary cause of illness and disease, it’s inflammation. Not the kind of swelling and redness that can occur with an injury or from infection, but chronic systemic inflammation. Several things can cause systemic inflammation, including stress and environmental toxins.
Diet can be another major contributor to inflammation. The good news is the amount of choice we have about the foods we put into our bodies. There are some that can be added that reduce inflammation directly, such as fish oils, and some can be eliminated outright that cause it, such as junk food. Systemic inflammation is called “the silent killer” and will not begin to reverse unless food as a root cause is considered.
Think about just a few of the serious diseases where inflammation is a primary contributor and root cause:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Thyroiditis, gastritis and arthritis
- Lupus and MS
- Psoriasis and eczema
- Heart disease
- Many autoimmune diseases
Other conditions caused by inflammation that can negatively impact lifestyle include chronic flare-ups of existing health issues, joint pain, ADHD, autism, migraines, vertigo, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, and more.
Changing our diet is the simplest way to start. For those that don’t think it is worth it or that it’s too much trouble, then there are a host of over-the-counter medications available to alleviate symptoms (for a while). But for anyone ready to reduce the inflammation and make change that is beneficial, follow these five anti-inflammatory principles for at least 90 days, and note the positive changes.
Eliminate grains, dairy and soy.
These types of foods contain inflammatory proteins and in many cases, contaminants that contribute to many of the chronic and recurring symptoms and conditions mentioned above.
Eliminate starchy foods, simple carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, high-glycemic index fruits and sweetened foods.
Sugars affect insulin, hormones (cortisol), and brain health; they also cause cravings and weight gain. Some sugars, like artificial sweeteners, can be neurotoxins, as well. Health issues linked to sugars include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, yeast overgrowth, cancer and dysbiosis (an imbalance in the gut microbiota).
Introduce healthy fats, quality plant and animal proteins and complex carbohydrates.
These types of foods can be utilized by the body at the cellular level to restore health. It’s especially beneficial to eat raw, steamed, poached and lightly prepared meals, because the enzymes, nutrients and minerals remain intact; this will also increase fiber intake.
Eat more frequently—up to every two or three hours and within an hour of waking.
As we change our eating habits from a carb/sugar-based diet to a fat-burning diet, we will be managing our blood sugar throughout the day. This results in more energy, clearer thinking and lack of hunger; on the other hand, when blood sugar isn’t regulated, we can have cravings, feel jittery, get headaches or feel hungry more often, which can lead to poor food choices.
Drink more water—work up to drinking half our body weight in ounces—herbal teas count.
Dehydration is a common condition—as many as 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This can cause cravings, poor nerve flow, acidity, electrolyte imbalances and chronic inflammation. More importantly, water (like healthy fats) is an essential lubricant for metabolic processes that convert food into cellular energy. Water is also important for flushing toxins from the body.
Many people that strictly adhere to these anti-inflammatory principles see results after only the first couple of months. As their inflammation quickly subsides, pain and other symptoms are eliminated or greatly lessened while their health issues begin to be corrected.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet on a permanent basis will help to avoid many health problems. People that have met their goals and don’t want to remain as strict are able to slowly introduce certain foods one at a time and monitor for any negative reactions. Omitting processed foods permanently is vital, as is omitting or greatly minimizing foods with added sugars.
However, keeping as close as possible to the optimum health blueprint and incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like wild-caught fatty fish (including small fishes like sardines and mackerel), organic blueberries and red grapes and plenty of leafy, green vegetables into meal planning will play a big role in achieving the best possible health for years to come.
Dr. Doug Pucci, DC, takes a functional approach to patient care and provides nutrition, comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, toxicology, and brain/body well-being. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com.