Anti-inflammatory diets are based on the general concept that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to ill health, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation promotes better health and can ward off disease.
Generally, in the absence of injury to your body, most inflammation begins in your stomach. Studies of the microbiome show there are at least 10,000 different species of bacteria that live in your gut. We generally associated bacteria with “bad” – the cause of infection. However, this conglomerate of “bugs” is an essential part of our body, which affects the immune system, brain function – in essence, these bugs are essential to overall good health. Without these “bugs,” we could not survive. What we put in our body, from the food we eat to the medicines and supplements we take, determines the ratios of good to bad “bugs.”
When there is an impairment of the good bacteria, or too much of the bad bacteria, certain bad mediators “leak” out to the rest of the body. This is a major source of inflammation affecting all our tissues–especially nerve. What you put in to your gut can balance or imbalance the different bacteria, which makes a good diet so important.
At US Neuropathy Centers, we understand that the best treatment plan takes your overall health into account. Our Centers can offer guidance on diet modifications and supplements that may increase your treatment success.
Supplements, such as Probiotics and anti-inflammatory formulations, are one way to help rebalance the bacteria. Generally, these work best when combined with a healthy diet. The average American diet generally includes too many foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, found in processed and fast foods, and far too few rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in cold-water fish. Phytochemicals, which naturally occur in certain plant foods, are also believed to help reduce inflammation.
While inflammation is most commonly associated with diseases such as arthritis, more and more science is showing a link between chronic inflammation, even subclinical inflammation, and many other diseases, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, from chronic pain, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease. While not all neuropathy is classified as an “inflammatory” neuropathy, the increase of inflammatory mediators in a number of neuropathic pain states has been well documented.
Following an anti-inflammatory is not an instant solution. A reduction in symptoms may take weeks, not hours like with an anti-inflammatory medicine, to take effect. Long term, however, this change in eating patterns that can improve overall health and may help fight disease.
The general guidelines for an anti-inflammatory diet include eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; minimize saturated and trans fats; increase your fiber intake, particularly soluble fiber, which may have other health benefits; eat a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as certain fish and walnuts; watch your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice; eat plenty of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat; eat lean protein sources such as chicken; cut back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods; avoid refined foods and processed foods; and add some spice, such as ginger and curry, which can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Supplements can be a great way to “kick-start” the inflammation fighting process, and can also be a continued part of keeping your gut balanced. It is best to speak with your doctor to be sure you take the supplement that is right for you.
At US Neuropathy Centers, our medical experts make sure that all factors that may be contributing to your symptoms are taken into account. No matter the stage or progression of your symptoms, our specialists will work with you to design the most effective treatment for your needs. Find one of our locations atwww.usneuropathycenters.com.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
©US Neuropathy Centers, 2015