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Inflammation and Your Diet (Part 1)

Written by Cheryl Schwieters
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Throughout the day the body is constantly being bombarded with substances that can trigger inflammation.  Inflammation is not all bad, like when the body responds to an injury with swelling and blood clots to form a scab or to heal a bone.  But rather exposure to irritants like mold, pollen, chemicals, even foods that the body thinks is a threat to its’ health.  Autoimmune diseases or allergic reactions are thought to be linked to this concept. By repeatedly facing toxins, infection possibility, or trauma, it is almost like constantly being hit by strong waves at the shore of the ocean; it is never allowed to heal properly because the body cannot get back up on its feet again.  Sometimes immune cells start to perceive healthy tissue as unhealthy, here inflammation or in the former case, chronic inflammation is the result.  Hives, digestive issues, fatigue, headache, weight gain, mood swings, joint and nerve pain all can be linked to inflammation.


What can we do to combat these ever looming potentials for disaster?  Build a Wall! No, well, sort of; maybe one to improve health.  By using food!  Think about it, food is mandatory to survive, something we need every day and something that is the easiest way to have an immediate and long term effect on how we feel.  It provides the fuel we need as well as the building blocks to create cells.  We are what we eat after all! 

Sometimes it is challenging to get everything we need to assist our anti inflammatory diet by food alone.  This is where a supplement may be helpful.  They come in many forms, can be added to foods like smoothies or simply taken in pill form.  In this article, I will be discussing five common vitamins that have been shown to have anti inflammatory properties and may be helpful in creating a more calm and happy body.

Vitamin 101:

*They cannot be made by the body therefore we must attain them from a viable source.

*They are either fat soluble, stored in the body and useful for cell membranes and nerve function or water soluble, not stored in the body therefore can run low and need to be replenished.

*required in small quantities

*vary in need by age and gender

*Can be harmful if taken in megadoses

*Need to be used as compliment to a healthy diet

Vitamin C (water soluble)

If there is a physical or emotional stress in your life (who doesn’t have that?!)  then vitamin C should be on the top of your list.  It is the building block of any supplement program due to it’s role in recycling anti-oxidants including Vitamin E and lipoic acid.  Chemically it is called ascorbic acid.  It is easily ingestible as a drink.  It is critical in immune function and plays a role in wound healing. 

                        Food sources:  Bell peppers (best choice – surprise!), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, strawberries, citrus fruits

Vitamin E (fat soluble)

Considered a free radical eliminator extraordinaire!  It has been shown to be extremely helpful in chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disorders.  The most effective supplement form is alpha-tocopherol. Be sure to look for the natural bio identical version, c-alph-tocopherol not the synthetic version utilizing the preface “dL”.

                        Food sources: Spinach (best choice), almonds, sunflower seeds, Avacados, shellfish, fish, plant oils, broccoli, squash, kiwi

Vitamin A (fat soluble)

Found to be very beneficial for skin and eye irritations like acne, psoriasis and night blindness.  Vitamin A needs to be consumed with fat in order to have optimal absorption. 

                        Food sources:  Sweet potatoes (best choice), carrots, Dark leafy greens, squash, lettuce, dried apricot, cantaloupe, sweet red peppers, tuna fish(cooked), tropical fruit

Vitamin B (water soluble)

This group of vitamin more notably vitamin B1, B6, and B12 are known to have anti inflammatory properties.  A balanced consumption of B complex will boost immune system and antibody production that fights infections like candida.

            B1:  heart function, nervous system, kidney protection, retinas,

            B3:  lipid levels, cancer prevention, brain function

            B5:  normal growth, lipid balance, antibody producer

            B6:  anti inflammatory: helpful in gout and rheumatoid arthritis

            B12: soothes nerves

                        Food sources:  animal sources, leafy greens, oranges, papaya, whole grains, beans, eggs

RS2675 shutterstock 86807860 WEBVitamin D (Fat soluble)

Helps to modulate the immune system.  It has beneficial effects against inflammatory disease and disorders and plays a role in organ maintenance.  The chemical form, calcitrol helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food. 

Food sources: SUNSHINE!  20 minutes/day without sunscreen (best source)

Fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, fortified milk

Vitamin K (fat soluble)

Helps in clotting as well as anti inflammatory and anti aging properties

                        Food sources: Green leafy vegetables (best source), brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, meat eggs

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