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By Theresa Harding
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you click a link to make a purchase.
Are you currently taking supplements for inflammation? Inflammation and sugar is one topic searched by many who are struggling to find the root cause of their pain. Do you find that no matter what you take for body aches and pains and inflammation, you still experience some level of pain in your body? The reason may lie in your diet and sugar consumption. Sugar contributes to inflammation!
More and more research indicates that most disease – including all chronic disease – begins with some kind of inflammation. If you could control inflammation and improve your health, you’d want to, right?
Inflammation is vital as part of the healing process. It defends the body against foreign invaders (including bacteria and viruses), repairs damaged tissue, restricts damaging motion through swelling, and a lot more. Some foods, like sugar, can also cause inflammation in the body, which is normal.
However, eating too many inflammatory foods may cause chronic low-grade inflammation. This can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and allergies. Eating low inflammatory foods can prevent this.
One trigger is the food we eat – and sugar tops the list for several reasons. Sugar triggers pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines are small proteins that work as signal molecules. They summon cells to infection sites, trauma, and inflammation. Sugar may promote pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduce anti-inflammatory cytokines.
While many foods cause inflammation in only certain individuals some foods are known to be pro-inflammatory (promote inflammation) in many. It’s very important to be aware of these foods, as they either contain added sugar or they are simply inflammatory. These foods are:
Sugar– A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that processed sugars may cause the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Refined carbohydrates- Refined or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains with the bran, fiber, and nutrients removed. These foods are white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and many breakfast cereals.
Saturated fats- like cheese, full-fat dairy, fatty red meat and highly processed fats (hydrogenated and trans-fats) used in processed foods, such as baked goods, stick margarine, and chips. Deep fried foods (which used to be my favorite!), and the food from many fast food restaurants are high in these unhealthy fats.
Food additives-NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reported that dietary emulsifiers, which are chemically similar to detergents, are added to many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. The scientists investigated whether dietary emulsifiers might affect the risk of colorectal cancer by altering the gut microbiota.
processed meat and red meat- Processed meats include meat prepared through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Those meats are hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, and beef jerky, along with canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.
Alcohol– The World Journal of Gastroenterology reported that chronic inflammation is commonly associated with alcohol-related medical conditions.
Gluten- Certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them as reported in an article from the Arthritis Foundation.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) approved the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, as these are considered all risk factors for heart disease. (You may read the full statement here.)
The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners:
It has also approved stevia, a natural low-calorie sweetener
There is a concern that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, possibly offsetting weight loss or health benefits, says Dr. Ludwig. This can happen because we like to fool ourselves: “I’m drinking diet soda, so it’s okay to have cake.” This recommendation was also added by the AHA and ADA.
Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” explains Dr. Ludwig. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable.
Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause more sugar cravings, causing us to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and weight gain.
Your body cannot process artificial ingredients well, so artificial sweeteners like aspartame may trigger an immune response, according to research. Aspartame is a neurotoxin that the body frequently “attacks” therefore causing inflammation.
Artificial sweeteners may increase your risk of type 2 Diabetes by inducing “metabolic derangements,” according to a report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
As reported by Business Insider, the research team concluded that all of these sweeteners “had a toxic, stressing effect, making it difficult for gut microbes to grow and reproduce.
These artificial sweeteners are;
Drinking sugary drinks can spike inflammation levels. Moreover, this effect can last for a considerable amount of time.
For those with arthritis, artificial sweeteners may be a culprit that should be avoided. Experts have recommended that people with this condition to reduce their sugar intake so as not to aggravate arthritis.
If you’re sensitive to these substances, your immune system may react, triggering an inflammatory response, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
This inflammatory response can cause arthritis symptoms like joint pain and swelling. The resulting inflammatory response may aggravate arthritis symptoms like joint pain and swelling.
Today, we have many choices of sugary foods and beverages available to us. Natural sweeteners are available for us to use effectively. they provide the sweetness that most people crave. Here’s a list of natural sweeteners in order based on a low glycemic index and additional health benefits.
I’ve always learned that taking supplements for inflammation was the only answer. I never looked at my diet and sugar intake as the contributing factor to my pains, but once I eliminated refined sugar from my diet, and added low inflammatory foods, I experienced new results!
No pain! I first started with low sugar intake, then eventually I eliminated refined sugars from my diet altogether, then I started to see results of the decreased pain, and today, no knee pains.
Chronic inflammation is often a result of diet and lifestyle, so you can take important steps to minimize inflammation and its harmful effects on the body.
If you find that after doing all these things, even a low sugar intake, you still experience the same level of pain, then supplements for inflammation may be needed. Always remember, speak with your doctor before trying any new diet or supplements. If you need another form of sugar to use in your foods, try coconut palm sugar or raw honey.
I used raw honey most of the time. Occasionally, I use coconut palm sugar in my baked recipes instead of sugar. Try these and see how you like them.
What remedies do you use to reduce inflammation?
You’ll receive weekly lessons right to your inbox so you can move from nutrient-deficient to nutrient-dense. This is the same makeover I used to lower my husband’s cholesterol, eliminate high blood pressure for my 12-year-old son, and wipe out severe eczema. If I can do it, so can you!
By Theresa Harding (updated 11/3/19)
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you click a link to make a purchase.
Did it ever occur to you that your diet is the culprit to your body aches and pains? If you knew that some of the reasons we experience pain and inflammation are because of our food choices, you might want to reconsider your diet plan.
Even if you try taking supplements for inflammation, like turmeric, diet first is always key to an anti-inflammatory diet plan. It’s important to eat low inflammatory foods to avoid chronic inflammation.
Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation.
Inflammation is a totally normal bodily function. It is generally triggered by the immune system when it recognizes an invader or damage to tissue that must be kept under control. The immune system stimulates different cells and proteins—like white blood cells—to help eliminate the threat of an outside invader and repair any damaged tissue.
Inflammation is instigated by chemical mediators called cytokines that act as signals to recruit more parts of the immune system to help with healing.
Chronic (or ongoing) inflammation is said to occur when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells leading to autoimmune diseases. Such diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, states of immune deficiency including Crohn’s disease or skin conditions including psoriasis. Underlying chronic inflammation also may play a role in heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. Low inflammatory foods are best. Some foods are notorious for promoting inflammation. Consider minimizing to a low inflammatory diet or cutting these out completely.
There are also foods that combat inflammation. These foods are often referred to as Anti-inflammatory Diets or a low inflammatory diet. These low inflammatory foods can help prevent you from reaching the point of chronic inflammation.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular since – it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is the way of selecting and preparing anti-inflammatory foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health.
Along with influencing inflammation, this natural anti-inflammatory diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients. There are also supplements for inflammation if you feel you suffer from it.
There are ways to eat anti-inflammatory food in order to reduce any chance of chronic inflammation. As mentioned above, there are supplements for inflammation in one way. But food is always the first option I recommend.
Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers. Some of these you can’t do much about, such as pollution, injury or sickness. However, you have much more control over the foods and beverages you choose to eat and drink.
To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of foods that trigger it. Though diet is important, it’s not the only factor. Quality and duration of sleep and other lifestyle factors can have a direct impact on inflammation.
Overall, to avoid issues with chronic inflammation, make it your mission to achieve a healthy, low inflammatory diet, maintain a healthy weight, get adequate sleep and engage in regular physical activity.
Have you experienced any symptoms of pain due to inflammation? What methods are you using to heal the pain?
By Theresa Harding
Winter is the time to slow down, nourish the soul, and focus on strengthening our immunity. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables allows us to do this as they are effective at being natural immune boosters.
By focusing on foods that build a healthy immune system, we create a natural defense against unwanted illness, headaches, digestive issues, a weak immune system, and dry skin that can plague us in the winter months. Cold and flu season becomes less of a worry when our immune systems are strong.
If you want to avoid succumbing to countless sniffles and colds during the colder months, there are many steps you can take. Keeping wrapped up when outside and making sure your home is warm is a must, but you should also consider the types of foods you eat that will boost your immune system.
This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link to make a purchase.
When it comes to a winter diet plan, the goal is to adjust your diet to the current season. There are many benefits to eating this way. One benefit being that foods consumed in the current season are nutrient-dense and this will help to boost your immunity. Another benefit of eating foods in season is that your body will be more in-line with the current season, which provides your body with a high level of nutrition.
For example, during the winter season, there are specific fruits and vegetables that provide many health benefits to your body, such as root vegetables. Root vegetables are a heavier food and your body needs more dense, rich foods to keep warm in the winter.
Of course, eating in season also has financial benefits to your food budget. The foods sold in season cost less because they are more abundant, so the cost is much less. When you purchase watermelon in the winter months, the price is higher than it would be when sold in the summer months.
Why? Because watermelon and other melons are summer fruits that keep your body cool during the hot summer months. You don’t need to cool your body during the winter months. There’s no benefit in being cold in the winter, right? Not only that, the nutritional content of the off-season watermelon is lower.
Let’s not forget that eating foods in season helps support local farmers and it also promotes balance with the resources of the earth and its life forms. We definitely want to embrace the natural source and diversity of the changing seasons rather than combat them. So, stay in-line and grounded and this will help boost your immunity.
Of course, you’ll need to eliminate foods that will suppress your immune system such as sugar and processed foods loaded with artificial preservatives, colors, and other chemicals. A suppressed immune system means that it can take your body longer to heal from a cold or flu bug should you contract it.
Missed days from work due to a cold or flu is no fun for anyone, as this could affect the income of some workers. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work” each year.
Here are some foods you should try to fit into your diet, either daily or at least a few times a week to help boost your immunity.
Garlic can be considered Mother Nature’s antibiotic. It contains a whole host of beneficial components, one of which is called allicin, a potent antibacterial agent. Additionally, allicin has immune-enhancing effects by stimulating lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell – which are key players in your body’s immune response.
Zinc is a metal required for all kinds of biological processes in your body. The micronutrient is involved in tissue growth and proliferation, and it’s important for normal brain functioning. For example, zinc regulates neurotransmitter release, which is vital for mood regulation.
Especially at this time of year, zinc is involved as your body copes with the threat of infection. It has been shown that zinc deficiencies result in a reduced immune response or weak immune system to invading pathogens.
Zinc is naturally found in protein-rich foods such as lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cocoa powder, cashews, kefir, mushrooms, and spinach. I love to make my own pumpkin seed milk, even though the color is not the most attractive-looking, the milk is very nutrient-dense.
The benefits of onions are endless. To begin with, onions are often neglected as a health food but are usually a common ingredient in many staple dishes. Onions, especially red onions, are a wonderful source of flavenoids – plant compounds that have a whole range of antioxidants add benefits for your body and can boost the immune system.
Though the evidence is somewhat mixed, some flavenoids found in onions have been shown to have anti-viral effects. Just like garlic, onions are very easy to incorporate into your diet. Try having them raw in a salad. They can also be effective at helping strengthen a weak immune system.
Ginger is also great for relieving the feeling of nausea and vomiting if you are not well. Additionally, it can help prevent infection and boost your immune system. Ginger is incredibly warming on a cold winter’s day. That warming effect can act as a natural decongestant and it can also help to promote sweating, which is part of your body’s mechanism in fighting colds and flu.
Interestingly, sweat contains a potent anti-microbial peptide called dermcidin that may help fight off infections – which may be another reason why exercising regularly during the winter months to promote sweating can help to keep infections at bay.
Having a healthy digestive system is probably the number one thing you can do this winter to improve a weak immune system. It has been shown that exposure to beneficial bacteria as an infant improves health in later life, reducing infections, allergies and the risk of asthma or other autoimmune diseases.
For sure, our hunter-gatherer ancestors would not have been exposed to the sterile, overly clean environments in their early and later years, like those of us who live in the developed world.
Foods rich in natural healthy bacteria that your body can make use of include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha tea, and sauerkraut. If you want an extra probiotic boost, then probiotic supplements, particularly those that contain prebiotics to feed the bacteria, are great for this time of year.
Like ginger, curcumin has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties; but it also has anti-microbial features too, combatting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A great way to get turmeric into your diet is by adding it to your smoothies, cooked eggs, vegetables, or other favorite dishes.
I love to add ¼ tsp to my smoothies every morning and you can’t even taste it! Another way I add turmeric to my diet is I like to make golden milk with it.
Green tea is a beverage that has been consumed in Eastern cultures for centuries. It’s rich in phenols, with great antioxidant properties. Additionally, it’s useful to know that powdered green teas (matcha, for example) release their antioxidants much quicker than whole leaf teas.
The antioxidant benefits of green tea provide a whole variety of potential advantages, from protecting against heart disease, to reducing your risk of cancer.
That aside, the antioxidants in green tea are beneficial in offering general support and adding strength to your immune system. Antioxidants protect against damage from compounds known as free radicals, which can keep your immune system healthy.
Honey has been known to have antibacterial properties for many years. As such, it is sometimes included in licensed wound care products. Sens e honey is thick and sticky, it coats your throat and provides a natural way to soothe soreness.
Honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which help fight infections from viruses, bacteria and fungi. The antimicrobial activity of honey appears to be due to its high sugar content, as well as hydrogen peroxide.
Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells. They become more aggressive when fighting bacteria. Shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms pack the biggest immunity punch and are great natural immune boosters.
These 3 mushrooms can be found in supplement form from your local health food store or purchased online at vitacost.com or iherb.com. I like to take them during the winter months as a preventive measure for that added protection.
Kiwifruit is a great source of vitamin E! It helps protect your body from viral and bacterial infections. While the jury is still out on whether vitamin C helps boost immunity, kiwi has more of it than most citrus fruits, including oranges – and that can’t be a bad thing.
Staying hydrated fuels the cellular processes that keep your body moving and grooving. Hydration is also key for proper function of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. I can’t say enough how so very important it is to drink your water daily.
Many of us don’t drink enough water and experience many symptoms of dehydration such as constipation, poor digestion, bloating and gas. If you want to improve these conditions instantly, increase your water intake.
The winter foods listed above can definitely be seen as natural immune boosters, giving you greater results than over-the-counter drugs for healing colds and flu symptoms. We should always see food as medicine, as a way to treat the whole body, not just the symptoms.
What is your winter remedy for a healthy immunity?
Shopping for healthy food doesn’t have to become a daunting task. In this article, I will share with you simple clean eating tips for your family, as it’s not as difficult as it sounds. For most of us, it’s an adventure, as we learn of new and different food choices there are in our local market.
Patience, planning, and consistency will score you better deals and success in your efforts. The one key thing to remember is, you may not find your entire grocery list from one single store.
When I shop for food, I usually find my complete shopping list from up to 3 different grocery stores. You will find that you might have to do the same. This is because all grocery stores have different inventory of foods and so they are not consistent from store-to-store.
You might find one type of produce in one store, and you won’t see that type of produce in another store. So then, you will have to go to your next best store choice to find what you need.
This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission at no charge to you when you click a link to purchase.
When I first started my healthy eating journey, I didn’t know what I’d find in my favorite stores. I purchased my first bag of organic apples and I remember feeling so proud of myself. I thought for sure I’d win the “mother of the year award”, lol! Then I went to Whole Foods store and spent $50 to $75 more on groceries!
I was trying to continue buying my usual 4 boxes of cereals, but the “healthier” brands cost more. I thought healthy eating meant only shopping at the health food stores. Once I went to my neighborhood grocer, I actually found some of the same brands of food at a lower price.
As you can see, this healthy way of shopping starts small. Start purchasing one food group at-a-time until you feel comfortable with this shopping routine. Then, over time, you can replace one unhealthy food choice with a healthy version. For example, I used to purchase white flour, but I switched to purchasing whole grain flour.
Instead of non-organic apples, I chose organic apples. This is the pattern I followed. For every one product you currently purchase, you just swap it out for a healthy version. Instead of buying boxed potato buds, I purchased the whole potatoes and prepared my own mashed potatoes.
This was not a tough process for me because I really wanted to eliminate the health challenges we were struggling with due to making the wrong food choices.
The health challenges among my family members were High Cholesterol, severe Eczema, overweight, High blood Pressure, Abnormal Pap Smears, and Subclinical Hypothyroidism. Most of these were diet-related and could be reversed with a healthier, clean-eating diet, and it worked!
It is possible to experience some weight loss when eating clean. The reason is that you swap out your unhealthy snacks that are loaded with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and chemical food coloring. These unhealthy ingredients also known as food additives cause all kinds of health problems like food allergies, food sensitivities, food addictions, food cravings, and weight gain.
There is research that shows how a food additive called propionate can cause insulin resistance. This food additive is used in many foods like cereals, dairy and egg-based desserts, some sausages, sports drinks, etc. These food additives are known to present a risk factor to causing obesity in many.
An article published by Science Daily explains how an added ingredient known as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is linked to obesity. This food enhancer is added to many foods like Chinese food, Processed food, canned soups, and many others.
This ingredient is known to be an addictive additive, causing more hunger and food craving. This, in turn, causes unwanted weight gain in many.
When I was struggling with helping my son lose weight, I found that MSG was in most of the foods in my home. Once I started buying more whole, clean foods, my family’s food cravings went away. We were also making healthier food choices to keep us satiated without the need for dessert after every meal!
To eliminate this ingredient from your life and end one of your struggles with unnecessary food cravings and weight gain, go through all your canned foods. If you find MSG in the ingredients list, toss it. This is what I did. Seriously do an inventory of your pantry and refrigerator with a pen and note pad in hand.
Write down all foods you will replace with healthier choices so you can strategically go throughout the grocery store without wasting time trying to remember which foods to replace. I did this and it saved me so much time in the stores.
Instead of buying canned soups, I now purchase bulk pasta, organic chicken flavoring, dried herbs and spices, and fresh carrots and celery to create my own soups.
It’s really simple if you’re patient, as you’ll soon learn that homemade taste better-it’s fresher and your family will appreciate the love you put into your home-cooked meals. Your body will start adjusting to your healthy way of eating and soon you’ll notice the food cravings will disappear along with the unwanted weight. I’ve seen this happen with many people I share this information with.
You don’t have to shop at specialty stores for natural and organic foods today. With the major competition in the food industry, many grocery chains sell natural and organic brands of food. Just choose 2-3 of your favorite stores and make a list of your favorite foods you find in each of those stores, and shop their sales each week, using their weekly Circular.
Always shop from your local Farmers Market in your neighborhood. A lot of the produce sold at farmers’ markets is organic unless the seller tells you they used chemical sprays on their crops. You can ask questions as you’re shopping as a way to learn where your food comes from and the methods used to grow them. This is as close to Clean Eating as it gets!
We love shopping at farmers’ markets, as we find it fun to get to know the sellers and learn more about their farming methods. You learn to appreciate your food more from this experience. That’s always been our experience.
You can always grow your own by starting a garden. This can be done in your backyard, in a small space like on your patio in large pots, or even on your back porch in pots. The possibilities are endless! I’ve even seen someone grow herbs in their cookware!
My biggest concern when I changed my way of shopping is the price of the food I needed. I didn’t want to spend too much on food, but I did want cleaner food, so I had to learn how to eat healthy on a budget.
To counter this, I stopped buying processed snack foods and started buying more fruits and vegetables, which actually balanced out my grocery bill. I found that as I swapped out my unhealthy foods for the healthier choices, my grocery bill almost balanced out.
My shopping cart used to be about 80% processed foods and 20% of whole foods. I spent unnecessary amounts on processed, boxed foods that were sometimes pricey per item! Trading in unhealthy foods and snacks for fresh produce wasn’t so expensive after all!
Instead of buying fruit juices, we now buy fresh fruit and the cost is a balance because we bought more processed food than fresh. This is how we did it.
Many grocery chains run sales on a rotating schedule throughout the month. You must pay close attention when your favorite products go on sale again to know how much to stock up on, so you’ll have enough of that product for the next sale. Use store and manufacturer’s coupons if you have the patience for them and you’ll be well on your way to seeing savings in your grocery bill.
What are some of your ways to save money on natural and organic foods?
A healthy diet is one key component that can affect the state of our mind. We must nourish our mind by eating nutrient-dense foods daily. If you need to improve your current diet from a nutrient deficient one to a nutrient-dense one, I have a free Diet Makeover course that teaches you step-by-step how to do this. This is what I did to change the health of my family and I know it will help you too. Click below to get started.