It seems that inflammation is the key to many autoimmune diseases.  The immune system attacks the body and the damage causes inflammation.  The inflammation may cause symptoms to flare. Most people are familiar with over the counter anti-inflammatories to combat aches and pains, but there has recently been a push to consider our diets.  

Foods can either help or hurt our bodies.  Refined sugars may help us add some inches to our waistline, but they can also irritate our systems and cause inflammations.  Just like when we break a bone we may experience some swelling, inflammation inside our body signifies damage.  With an autoimmune disease, where your own body is causing the damage, we may not even see the swelling.

But we can combat it!

One of the first ways that we can try to minimize internal swelling or inflammation is to not ingest foods that will encourage it.  Or at least to watch how much food we are eating that may increase it.  For me it is nearly impossible to do away with eating sugars, but when I am aware that it may be harming me, I definitely have some incentive to stay away from it!

While sugar in itself can cause inflammation, many starchy foods (that quickly convert to sugar in our bodies) can increase inflammation. Inflammation is not only caused by autoimmune reactions, but it also spurs the immune system into action, so if your immune system is faulty, eating inflammatory foods may activate a system to increase damage.  Oprah has posted a pretty extensive list of foods that are inflammatory.

Of course since there are foods that increase inflammation, there are also food antidotes.  Turmeric happens to be one such anti-inflammatory food.  Though it is not a traditional western food, we have seen many ways that it can be incorporated into a western diet thanks to Megan’s last post!  I start each day off with an apple cider vinegar drink that includes ginger and turmeric!  Do not fear though, it is not just turmeric that can help reduce inflammation in our bodies.  In fact, there are a lot of foods that we can choose to help ourselves fight inflammation.  From spices and herbs to fruits and vegetables, there is a long list of foods that are good for our bodies.

The main key to remember is that inflammation of any kind is typically a bad thing.  While it can indicate damage when it is visible in the form of swelling, it also forebodes damage when it is invisible.  We probably do not realize that we have some internal swelling that excites our faulty immune systems.  Regardless of whether we see it or not, we can make everyday choices to put our immune system back in check. The first step can be becoming aware of what we are putting into our bodies!

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