Saturday, August 29, 2009
Feeling a little inflamed?
The other day I suddenly thought, what the heck does it mean for a food to be inflammatory... The word is thrown around a bunch, but to me it didn't really make sense. My first thought was, "I bet meat is going to be inflammatory, and fruits are definitely anti-inflammatory". Well a few google searches later and I was on to some interesting information.
I'm in Flames!
Inflammation can be described as that feeling you get when sprain your ankle, or develop a blister on your toe. You have twisted your ankle and it is swelling, painful, and turning red from irritation. This is your body responding to injury, and it is one form of inflammation.
Unfortunately Inflammation is not so simple and benign. In fact it is the ouch behind arthritis. It is also linked to heart disease and stroke, and may be putting your whole immune system in peril! Doctors can't see inflammation, but it leaves a clue in your bloodstream. The chemical C-reactive protein (CRP) is a byproduct of inflammation in your body. You can have this tested at your next physical, but I'm sure you have to request it prior to the appointment.
Here is what the American Heart Association has to say about CRP and inflammation:
"Scientific studies have found that the higher the hs-CRP levels, the higher the risk of having a heart attack. In fact, the risk for heart attack in people in the upper third of hs-CRP levels has been determined to be twice that of those whose hs-CRP level is in the lower third. These prospective studies include men, women and the elderly. Studies have also found an association between sudden cardiac death, peripheral arterial disease and hs-CRP. However not all of the established cardiovascular risk factors were controlled for when the association was examined. The true independent association between hs-CRP and new cardiovascular events hasn’t yet been established."
Food as medicine to quell the fire
Well here's the kicker, food can make you or break you. I found a cool website called NutritionData that gives the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory levels of many foods. I was pretty surprised at some of the results!
Some meat as it turns out is anti-inflammatory, and most fruit is mildly inflammatory. Below is a list of some common foods and the inflammation levels + is anti-inflammatory, and therefore the higher the number the better. The - is inflammatory and the higher this number the worse:
*Grass fed strip steak +60
*Wild Salmon +816
*Multi Grain Bread -71
*Garlic +4863 (note to self: eat more garlic!)
*Chocolate Shake -216
*French Fries -229
*Grass fed ground bf +1
*Olive oil +1137
*Cod liver oil +16539 (not a typo!!)
Posted by Mike at 10:11 PM