When I started working here at Feed Your Vitality there was a lot of talk about anti-inflammatory diets (the paleo diet is one, for example) and to be honest I wasn’t exactly sure why it was important to be anti-inflammatory. So I did a little digging to see what I could find out. The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammo”, meaning “I set alight, I ignite” and there are times when inflammation can actually be a good thing. It helps our bodies heal when we get sick or get a cut and it increases blood supply to the damaged area…it brings its infection-fighting heat and signals white blood cells to come and fix the damage. Unfortunately sometimes the body constantly produces inflammation and when it does so and there are no foreign “invaders” to attack, it is no longer helping but instead may actually cause poor health. Many conditions have been proven to be related to this silent epidemic, including some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Does this make you curious to see if you have high inflammation? While not everyone needs to be screened, a doctor can order a test called hs-CRP (high sensitivity c-reactive protein test) to check your levels. Typically this test is given if there is a family history of heart disease or some other conditions such as a history of auto-immune diseases. But keep in mind, while the docs can run that test, it is usually late in the game to start reducing inflammation. It can be done, but would be a reactive approach. A preventive approach would be to know that each of us need to limit the amount of chronic inflammation in our bodies by getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, and limiting inflammatory foods.
Studies have shown that there are foods that trigger inflammation and foods that help reduce inflammation. Being overweight in itself may contribute to chronic inflammation, especially extra fat carried in the stomach area, and studies have shown losing weight can cause inflammation numbers to decrease. By modifying your diet to limit the “bad” foods and increase eating the “good” foods you have the opportunity to take charge of your health.
Both the SHAPE ReClaimed and the Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory diets stress the importance of these “good” foods, and Feed Your Vitality can help you by preparing meals that are made with real ingredients, very minimal processing, easily digested and naturally appealing to your senses. In 2015 we are offering classes such as “Five Freezable Chicken Meals”, “Simple SHAPE Tips and Tricks”, a 30 Day Anti-Inflammatory Challenge, and more. And in fact, we are hosting a SHAPE ReClaimed Kickoff event here in our office at 1821 Cherokee Street this Saturday, January 17th, 2015 at 10 am. There is a $50 cost to attend, and you can register by calling SHAPE Central at 636-207-6600.