Inflammation 2

I is for Inflammation

Image above is from the article The Body on Fire: How chronic inflammation, brought on by an immune system in overdrive, could lead to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes from Tufts NOW.

Long overdue for another post in my Intro to Paleo Series.  The subject of inflammation is exactly how I discovered a Paleo diet.  I was on a quest to figure out what on earth was going to clear up my skin.  At that point, gluten free was helping a lot, but I knew I could do better.  I was already sold on the fact that my diet was causing my skin problems, so I was game to tweak it some more.  I was also due to have a minor surgery and wanted to help my body to heal as quickly and efficiently as possible.  After Google-ing and reading a lot of different takes on an anti-inflammatory approach, I decided on Paleo.  I am not going to lie, after being gluten free for only two months, I was skeptical of how I was going to further cut out grains, beans & dairy!

Well, I think we all know how that story ended.  The Paleo suited me just fine! Personally, I found that Paleo helped to clear up my skin, but I also had less headaches, neck/back aches, stomach troubles, seasonal allergies and was just “less sick” in general.  Just as an example, after being Paleo for several months, we moved to a new house in July.  In October, someone was visiting, had a headache and asked for an aspirin or Tylenol.  We didn’t even realize that we hadn’t unpacked that box yet.  4 months and neither the hubby or I had needed even 1 pain reliever.

The basic ideas that I wish to share here are that inflammation can be in many different forms.  Acne, headaches, back pain, gallbladder problems, dermatitis, sinusitis,  bronchitis, any type of -itis…you get the picture.  The less obvious conditions that are linked to inflammation are obesity, high cholesterol, blood sugar issues and heart disease.  So, chances are, if you have a problem…it is likely related to some type of localized or overall inflammation!  Again, I am not a doctor or a researcher, so I will link you to a couple of articles to get you started  figuring this stuff out for a yourself.  (Then I will get to the food stuff, which is my thing!)

Read more about inflammation here:

The Paleo diet is centered on removing foods that are inflammatory and concentrating on foods that have healing properties.  I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Ashley & Peggy, with Feed Your Vitality & Simply Second Nature that centered on Anti-Inflammatory cooking for the holidays.  I was excited to see such a large turnout for the event and even though I think I have this Paleo thing down, I learned a lot!
Besides some delicious recipes, I discovered  This is a pretty amazing resource from a nutrition researcher. Lots of info there, check it out!  One of the most interesting things is a database that gives an IF rating to each food.  If it has a positive rating, it contains known anti-inflammatory nutrients.  If it has a negative rating, it contains known inflammatory nutrients.
Some foods that have very high IF ratings:
  • peppers
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • fish oil
  • onions
  • kale
  • curry
  • spinach & greens
  • cilantro
  • carrots
  • pumpkin
  • fish (especially salmon)
  • asparagus
Some foods with very low IF ratings:
  • various types of beans
  • soy milk
  • soy sauce
  • chickpeas
  • peanut butter (reduced sodium)
  • sugar
  • flour
An interesting comparison:
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin has an IF rating of 334, which makes it strongly anti-inflammatory.
  • Commercially prepared pumpkin pie has an IF rating of -122 which makes it moderately inflammatory.
So, the question is:
Do you have a health problem that might be caused by inflammation?
Are you eating in a way that is creating inflammation OR soothing it?
Eating a Paleo/Primal/Grain-Free/Whole Foods diet goes a long ways towards eliminating foods that promote inflammation.  Choosing your cooking oils and spices wisely promotes healing even more!
Look up the IF factor of some of your favorite foods here.



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