Foods to reduce inflammation

Foods to reduce inflammation is an astonishing confession by an eminent surgeon.

In a particularly frank interview, heart surgeon Dr Dwight Lundell admits that he and the medical profession have got it totally wrong when it comes to inflammation of blood vessels; and probably in the rest of the body too. Red and angry muscles, joints and intestines are the order of the day, too.  A diet

  • that severely restricts saturated fat, and
  • the use of statins to reduce blood cholesterol

have not reduced cardiac disease. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. It's bizarre hearing a heart surgeon recommending a return to butter; in moderation.

Google Dwight Lundell and you'll find his lecture.

Foods to reduce inflammation is an important subject for the chiropractor too.

Admitting that he and his colleagues have unwittingly led the public astray, he makes the decision to acknowledge and undo the wrongs of what for a quarter of a century they have advocated: seriously lowered dietary fat, a change from animal fat to polyunsaturated fat, and the use of statin drugs to reduce cholesterol. He admits that, under this regimen, a quarter of Americans are  now on statins. 25 percent. And this despite of statins erectile dysfunction and aching legs.

Cardiac surgeon on arterial inflammation

Yet blood vessels are getting ever redder, more inflamed, despite this fixed, false belief that animal fat alone was at the heart of heart disease.

Their considered opinion was that high cholesterol alone was the cause of heart disease. He now has a quite different opinion; foods that cause inflammation, and those that will reduce it.

But this regimen was simply not working; science, he now says, is pointing to inflammation within blood vessels and it's time to take a whole new approach to heart disease. Red blood vessels are diseased, and it simply can't all be laid at the door of cholesterol. After all our forefathers lived on diets high in animal fat and didn't drop dead of heart disease like we are. In fact, it was almost unknown a century ago.

Worse, he says these long established dietary recommendations to change from animal fats to polyunsaturates have directly caused the diabetes and obesity that have totally undermined Western Health. The cost in dollar terms is astronomical, he admits.

Says he, more and more people on the Western diet of lowered dietary fat and the use of cholesterol lowering medicine are dying every year of heart disease.

The American heart association admits that one in four now have heart disease, and that fully a quarter either have full blown diabetes mellitus, or are well on the way. Worse, these are no longer primarily diseases of the older person; the very young are increasingly being affected.

It's the inflammatory foods that we now consume that makes our blood vessels red and angry and only then, after the fact, is cholesterol laid down in the intima.

Without these inflammatory foods, the cholesterol would course normally through our arteries without being deposited in the walls.

Foods that cause inflammation

Foods that cause inflammation should be avoided at all cost.

Statins cause erectile dysfunction

Statins erectile dysfunction

Statins erectile dysfunction is increasingly common as are tingling legs. These may be side effects of meds you are taking.

Is your circulation red and angry?

Normal artery
Inflammed artery clogged with fat
Inflammed artery

The process of inflammation of our circulatory system is not rocket-science. It's well understood. Toxic substances in our environment, be it from viruses or bacteria, or from the foods that our supermarkets now dish up, and cigarette smoke, are causing our bodies to become red, angry and painful.

Loaded with sugar and polyunsaturated fats, refined white cake flour, preservatives, emulsifiers and flavourants, our bodies are simply unable to cope, and inflammation and pain are the result.

How is that we routinely eat this junk? It's because the food science industry lays it in front of us, and Medicine has underscored it, by recommending a change from animal fat to PUFAs and refined carbohydrates. White bread rolls, margarine, puddings laced in sugar, deep fried carbohydrates in polyunsaturated oils... is it any wonder that Americans are rapidly becoming a very sickly, obese nation.

Hydrogenated foods .... how liquid oils are turned into solid fats, to our serious detriment.

Dr Lundell repeats it, in case we haven't got the message: It is the recommendations of medicine, the seriously lowered fat in our diets, and smoking, of course, that have caused our arteries to become so inflamed and angry. Diseased.

Crap diet and a smoker? Game, set and match. On average, thirteen years of your life will be lost.

What are the biggest culprits of this chronic inflammation?

  • The refined starches that are in all our foods. White bread, sugar, fructose, refined rice and pasta, colas loaded with sugar or chemical sweeteners. What are known as the simple (vs complex) starches.
  • Our foods are loaded in, and deep fried in, the omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in all the processed foods that adorn our supermarket shelves. 

Dr Lundell makes an analogy: he says the inside of arteries, red and inflamed, look like our skin would appear if we scrubbed it every day with a wire brush.

In the same way, he says, the inside of our blood vessels become red and inflamed after being continuously exposed to these toxic foods that the supermarkets dish up.

Chocolate cakes and cookies, colas, deep fried food ... they may taste delicious but the end result is inflamed joints, muscles, blood vessels and organs. Pain, disability and death. Literally.

Why does enjoying a sweet do-nut make you ill?

It starts a series of chemical processes in the body, each one dependent on the previous stage, and having an add-on effect.

Firstly, your doughnut is virtually devoid of the vitamins that are found in whole foods. In preparing the flour, all the fat, including the vitamin E, a natural anti-oxidant and anti-coagulant, is removed to improve the shelf life. Likewise the B complex vitamins that are so vital in many chemical processes in the body have been removed. The thiamine story, vitamin B1. Generalised muscle weakness ...

Secondly, both white flour and sugar have a very high Glycemic Index (read more about GI at Carbohydrate Count Chart ...), resulting in a sudden rise of blood glucose. A cascade of chemical reactions begin, starting with a strong demand for a hormone called insulin that controls blood glucose levels. If blood glucose gets too high (or too low) we go into a coma. The glucose is absorbed by the cells where it is stored as fat, lowering blood glucose.

But if there's too much sugar, and the pancreas can't cope, blood sugar rises, attaching to various proteins, and forming a toxic complex that when repeated many times a day sets up inflammation in the body, starting with the blood vessels which take on an angry, red appearance.

Thirdly, your doughnut is not only made from nutrient deficient flour and sugar that damages the blood vessels, but also the fat used is from a fat named a PUFA. Polyunsaturated fats are not inherently bad, in fact some essential fatty acids are PUFAs, but it raises the ratio of omega-6 /omega-3 (ω6/ω3). This ratio should be less than 5 but in the current Western diet, dangerously high in omega-6 and low in omega-3, this ratio is often very high, above 20, which is strongly inflammatory. 

Limiting omega-6, by changing from corn and sunflower oil to olive oil for example, and raising omega-3 is vital to reduce this inflammatory ratio. Anti inflammatory omega 3 ...

When the omega-6/ omega-3 ratio gets too high, cells in the body start to produce pro-inflammatory substances called cytokines. The result? Angry, inflammed, red blood vessels.

Shelf life

Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, walnuts and flaxseeds, for example; they are oxidised (go rancid) very quickly. Much faster than omega-6 fatty acid foods. So processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. And the omega-3 oils are removed where possible, further increasing the toxic  ω6/ω3 ratio.

Omega-6 fatty acids are essential - some like linoleic acid are "essential" fatty acids - forming a part of cell membranes which  control what goes in and out of every cell; but they must be in the correct ratio with omega-3 fats in the diet.

If the balance shifts by eating too much omega-6 rich foods, then the cell membranes form inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that are a major cause of chronic inflammation.

Walnuts reduce inflammation.

PS. I no longer use crackers in any of my salads since reading Dr Lundell's lecture; in our fact out homemade low GI bread tastes much nicer, anyway. They are loaded with polyunsaturates.

Preston aside: To reduce the omega-6 / omega-3 ratio in the diet, two things are necessary:

  1. Reduce omega-6 dietary fat by substituting corn oil, sunflower oil, soyabean oil (all high in omega-6 PUFAs) with olive oil (low in polyunsaturates, high in monounsaturated fatty acids). 
  2. Increase the omega-3 dietary fat by eating more fatty, cold water fish like salmon, herring and mackerel, walnuts and a TBSP of freshly ground flaxseed daily.

Foods to Reduce Inflammation

Flaxseed freshly ground reduces inflammation.

Fourthly, there's interesting research that shows that fat cells in the body themselves secrete inflammatory substances. So, the extra weight that comes from eating your white-flour-vitamin-deficient-sugary-polyunsaturated-fat-donut adds insult to inflammatory injury. Painful joints and muscles, and fat-induced inflammation. The net result is painful cycle of pain, hypertension, DM, diseased blood vessels and heart disease.

It's not rocket science. Every step of this inflammatory process is now well established in the literature.

So, are you simply a bit overweight, obese or dangerously obese?

Preston aside:  Foods to Reduce Inflammation

These inflammatory foods are probably also a major cause of the chronic inflammatory process in other organs like the spinal joints, the liver, kidney, stomach and colon too.

Could Coeliac disease be in part a reaction of the body to the high Omega-6 fat content of wheat germ oil? 55% is Linoleic acid, an Omega-6, and the omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 8:1. High, but not desperately high.

Normally, chronic inflammatory bowel disease is associated with a gluten intolerance, the protein in bread.

Cutting out wheat products not only eliminates the gluten, but also addresses the high omega-6/ omega-3 ratio in flour.

To reduce this inflammatory process in our blood vessels, joints and organs, we need to make a determined effort to:

  • Greatly reduce polyunsaturated oils like sunflower (40% PUFA), corn oil (55%), soybean oil (58%); change to olive oil (11%), and even limited animal fats like butter (2%).
  • Avoid "corn-fed" beef for the same reason.
  • Avoid foods high in simple sugars. Raw honey may be an exception because of the pollen granules.
  • Recognise that fruit juices like OJ too have a very high Glycemic Index. Orange juice facts ...
  • Refined white flour breads, cookies, chocolate cake, bread rolls and donuts should be reserved for high and holy days. Rather Panera bread menu recipes.
  • Make sure you are eating your "five colours" each day. Lettuce, butternut, beetroot, green beans, broccoli, berries... preferably aim for ten.

  1. Olive oil benefits ....
  2. Growing lettuce ....
  3. Beetroot constipation ...
  4. Cooking green beans ...
  5. How to grow broccoli ...

Foods to reduce inflammation

Foods to reduce inflammation validates everything we have been saying about slow lunches made fast.

Green beans reduce inflammation.

The more we feast on processed, fast foods, eat out, the more we tip our bodies into the chronic inflammation trap. Our bodies simply cannot deal with nor were they designed to consume the processed foods and refined flour, loaded with sugar and polyunsaturated ω6 fatty acids.

If anything, it's homocysteine, not cholesterol that is the real villain of the peace. That's the toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism; a buildup is caused by a dietary deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals required for its degradation. 

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Medicine's cholesterol theory led directly to the pro inflammatory foods that now proliferate supermarket shelves. The change to a very low fat diet and cholesterol lowering statin drugs may be the very cause of the worsening epidemic of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

 "Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers."

Dr Dwight Lundell, cardiac surgeon.

What should we do?

Return to the whole foods our grandmothers prepared and not those manufactured foods that our mothers served, is Dr Lundell's recommendation; you'll find that they are mostly listed amongst the foods to reduce inflammation.

And especially a return to fruit, salads and vegetables which contain the vital nutrients so deficient in today's "all American diet."

Add smoking to that diet, and you have a catastrophe of chronic inflammation of blood vessels.

(With thanks to Signs of the Times)

Banting Diet

Into all this confusion about fats and foods to reduce inflammation comes renewed interest in a very old diet to tackle morbid obesity. First prescribed more than one hundred and fifty years ago by revered medical doctor William Harvey, the Banting diet proponents claim that it is carbohydrate, particularly in its refined form that raises blood cholesterol and causes diabetes. The diet, with unlimited animal fat, but zero carbohydrate is stirring in the world's kitchens. It's not without controversy; I prefer our modified Banting diet.

Foods to reduce inflammation

  1. Switch from omega-6 rich seeds oils like corn oil to olive oil. A few facts and figures from Olive Garden nutrition ...
  2. Greatly, many fold, increase the omega-3 rich oils in your diet, particularly from fatty fish, avocado, freshly ground flaxseeds and walnuts. Walnuts blood pressure ...
  3. Canola oil remains controversial; it is rich in omega-3 but has other toxic ingredients. Authorities remain divided at this stage. Anti inflammatory omega 3 ...
  4. Foods rich in folate and B12 to keep your toxic homocysteine levels down. Homocysteine cardiovascular ...
  5. Bake your own bread using butter instead of polys for oil. Panera bread menu recipe ... a cinch with a bread machine, using stone ground whole brown flour.
  6. Raw honey for sweetening. Support you local beekeeper or find out how to start beekeeping ...
  7. Five coloured foods per day, minimum. Aim for ten. What are phytosterols ...?

  • 4 different lettuces
  • Arugula, aka rocket
  • Red and green pepperdews
  • Radish
  • Green bean salad
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sprig parsley
  • Mint
  • Cheese
  • Homemade bread, butter and mulberry jam

No apologies for the single teaspoon of sugar in the homemade mulberry jam! Butter, of course, is back.

Easy lunch recipes

Easy lunch recipes enable you to avoid the highly inflammatory fast foods eaten by so many today; taking perhaps five to ten minutes to prepare your own lunchbox should contain many of the foods to reduce inflammation.

Making your own lunch needn't take long.

A few thoughts from our Easy Lunch Recipes come from Slow Food Made Fast menus. Take away lunches are expensive and loaded with all the wrong ingredients. Choose rather from these foods to reduce inflammation.

A serious danger

Whilst I would encourage you to slowly bit by bit to move to healthy living, or face the consequences, beware of health nut neurosis ... it's better to enjoy the occasional junk food, rather than become antisocial by going totally overboard with your new healthy lifestyle. It happens, more frequently than I care to admit.

Useful links

Whilst I personally go totally along with the recommendations of Dr Lundell, his personal and professional life has not been without some serious hiccups. Investing in a crazy scheme, he went bankrupt, became a tax evader apparently, and failed to make proper professional notes after surgical cases. To the extent that hospital privileges were reportedly withdrawn.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is a semi-retired chiropractor intensely interested in the effect of healthy living on the spine.

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