At XY Wellness we recommend a fresh, organic, low-glycemic diet that minimizes inflammation and enhances the immune system. You might be wondering why it is important to commit to a diet with these core principles. For the next few weeks, we will answer these questions by dissecting the XY Wellness diet piece by piece.
Digestion should not be a stressful process for you or for your cells. This is why one of the first principles of our diet is minimizing inflammation. You have probably heard from health experts that inflammatory foods are “bad” and should be avoided, but eating these foods does not cause any visible swelling or irritation. Today we will explain inflammation and discuss exactly why these inflammatory foods pose such a threat to our health.
Inflammation has earned its place among the negatively charged health buzzwords of our time, but it is not bad in itself. It is the body’s natural response to cellular threats such as injuries, infections, and viruses. The body cannot properly heal without becoming inflamed. The kind of inflammation that we aim to minimize in the XYW diet is chronic, unnecessary inflammation, which leads to disease. You can easily reduce this kind of inflammation by cutting down on certain foods, specifically gluten.
Gluten is found most notably in wheat and wheat products, and it causes inflammation in people who have gluten-sensitivity. Gluten-sensitivity is more common and less severe that full-blown celiac disease, which makes the body completely unable to digest gluten due to intestinal damage. The prevalence of non-celiac gluten-sensitivity is not precisely known because it is usually self-diagnosed, but some evidence suggests that one in twenty is affected (Catassi et al., 2013). Regardless, gluten has the potential to cause inflammation in anyone’s intestinal tract, so high-gluten foods should not make it to the grocery list. The easiest way to avoid gluten is to cut out processed foods and foods with white flour.
The XYW diet is not just a list of forbidden foods. In addition to reducing gluten, we recommend increasing your intake of certain anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, basil, cloves, rosemary, fennel, coriander, anise, and red chili. By tailoring your diet to minimize the inflammatory response, you save your cells a ton of chronic stress. Just as chronic psychological stress can have a deleterious effect on the body long term, regular cellular stress can lead to problems down the road. Next week, we recap the importance of low-glycemic foods. In the meantime, eat well, and enjoy a nutritious, stress-free diet.
For more information about inflammation and anti-inflammatory foods, take a look at these earlier posts:
• Reducing Inflammation: How? Why?
• How Vitamin D Reduces Inflammation
Catassi, C., Bai, J. C., Bonaz, B., Bouma, G., Calabrò, A., Carroccio, A., … Fasano, A. (2013). Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: The New Frontier of Gluten Related Disorders. Nutrients, 5(10), 3839–3853. doi:10.3390/nu5103839
Nestel, P. J., Pally, S., MacIntosh, G. L., Greeve, M. A., Middleton, S., Jowett, J., & Meikle, P. J. (2012). Circulating inflammatory and atherogenic biomarkers are not increased following single meals of dairy foods. Eur J Clin Nutr, 66(1), 25-31. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.134
Neuhouser, M. L., Barnett, M. J., Kristal, A. R., Ambrosone, C. B., King, I., Thornquist, M., & Goodman, G. (2007). (n-6) PUFA increase and dairy foods decrease prostate cancer risk in heavy smokers. J Nutr, 137(7), 1821-1827.
Sfanos, K. S., & De Marzo, A. M. (2012). Prostate cancer and inflammation: the evidence. Histopathology, 60(1), 199-215. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04033.x
Stancliffe, R. A., Thorpe, T., & Zemel, M. B. (2011). Dairy attentuates oxidative and inflammatory stress in metabolic syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(2), 422-430. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013342
Zemel, M. B., Sun, X., Sobhani, T., & Wilson, B. (2010). Effects of dairy compared with soy on oxidative and inflammatory stress in overweight and obese subjects. Am J Clin Nutr, 91(1), 16-22. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28468