By Dr. Terry Weyman
We all suffer in various degrees of inflammatory pain. However, in the world of high level athletics or business, the pain can interfere with our performance not only on the physical level but the mental as well. Each of us needs to focus on reducing our individual inflammation issues and diet is a great way to start. Every ounce of energy spent doing another physical task is lost and can’t be used for performance output. Let’s look at which foods can increase inflammation and which ones will help decrease inflammation.
When you’re on the road, training/competing or trying to recover from an injury there are foods you want to avoid no matter how deep the temptation. These foods will increase the biochemical response which in turn slows the healing time. You also risk the injury not healing properly and creating a chronic condition.
• All Grains and Grain products– including white bread, pasta, wheat bread, pretzels, cereals, crackers and any product made with grains or flours from grains. This also includes most deserts and packaged foods.
Why grains? Most people think about “carbo loading” prior to training or competition, but consider that “modern grains” have only been consumed for a short time in the history of man kind and with chemical additives, seem to affect our body and its ability to heal. In history, grains were left for livestock and not consumed. Most grains now contain Gluten, Hydrogenated Fats, Vegetable Oil and Refined Sugar. Gluten and Lectins (sugar protein) both can cause digestive system inflammation as well as many other biochemical conditions that can lead to poor digestion, absorption and nutritional gain.
• Trans Fats (partially hydrogenated oils)- these are found in margarine, deep fried foods and most packaged foods.
• Seed and vegetable oils– anything with corn or seed oil, such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil or soybean oil. Foods such as mayonnaise, tartar sauce, margarine and most salad dressings.
For the same reasons above with grains, these oils can impede the digestive system and cause numerous conditions ranging from Celiac disease to athletic induced headaches.
• Soda and sugar– sugar will always increase inflammation and bacteria growth. Stay away from any drink in a can!
• Dairy– all dairy products increase both inflammation and mucus which impedes the healing process
• Meat, eggs and fish that are grain fed- Look for free range
Now that I have ruined your, day lets look at how to heal your body and get maximum performance out of your living system. My goal is to heal you faster and make you perform better than you have ever performed in your life.
• All fruits and Vegetables– the more raw, the better
• Red and Sweet potatoes– Eaten with protein is even better
• Fresh, free-range fish– Avoid farm raised fish and catfish since they have elevated Omega 6 fatty acids. Free range fish and better yet, cold water fish have high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids which are the good Omegas and decrease inflammation.
• Meat, Chicken, eggs from GRASS fed animals. Look for free range. Wild game are the best since we know they eat grass and have a leaner meat.
• Omega 3 eggs • Raw Nuts- Great snake food, such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamia, walnuts and brazil nuts for the enriched fiber and essential oils
• Spices– such as ginger, garlic, oregano, fennel, red chili pepper, turmeric, basil, rosemary, etc
• Oils and Fats– moderate amounts of organic butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
• Salad Dressing choices- extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard dressing along with spices.
• Beverages– water, organic green tea. If you must drink alcohol go for red wine or a stout beer.
Basic plan for meals, look at protein as your basis and start the day with an Omega-3 egg omelets, steel cut oatmeal with ground up chia seeds, raisins, berries or brown sugar. Meal shakes with fresh fruit. Mid day have your chicken and fish and snack on fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt or fresh fruit shakes.
Limit your evening meals to fresh fish and keep it light since most of your digestion is done earlier in the day. Try and eat prior to 6:30pm as well, so the food does not sit in your digestion track all night. You will sleep better and not gain those unwanted pounds.
If you are unable to eat correctly or you’re in training and need a little extra help due to the strain on your system then supplement your diet with the following:
• A Good Pharmaceutical Multivitamin and Mineral without iron
• Vitamin D3
• EPA/DHA Omega 3 fish oils. Make sure they are pure from pesticides and are made from cold water fish that is free range
• Calcium/Magnesium combo
Prior to competition:
• Take a probiotic supplement to help digestive enzymes process to get the food to your muscles
• Take a joint supplement a week before to bring extra nutrients to your joints (Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate)
• Take a proteolytic Enzyme to help degrade the proteins that can be produced in excess after an acute injury
• Calcium/Magnesium to reduce muscle spasms
• Fish Oils to reduce inflammation
The statement, “you are what you eat” is a true statement. You would never put junk gas in your race car yet you would be surprised what some athletes put in their body. How much better would they heal or perform if they followed the simple rules laid out above? Eat well, compete hard and recover fully.
Dr.Terry Weyman is the owner of Chiropractic Sports Institute. You can reach him or purchase any of the above supplements on his website www.gotcsi.com and he can be followed on twitter at DrTerryW.