Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Inflammatory Foods -- Anti-Inflammatory Foods

If you've read my ReneeonRawFood blog lately, you've seen that I'm looking into foods that may cause (or help with) inflammation. I'm still battling this crazy case of eczema on my neck/head and want to help it in any way possible. I've experienced the pain and burning of it plus being out in public with a swollen blotchy face and it's not the greatest way to be. So I've got to find a way to beat it before it flares up even worse.

The obvious foods to avoid are the foods I'm not eating 99% of the time anyway. But I've found there are some whole foods that can cause inflammation too, so I'm going to cut those out for about 3 weeks and see if that helps.

Here's what I've found:

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid:

  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed foods
  • Junk food
  • Red meat
  • Pork
  • White bread and pasta
  • Frozen and canned foods
  • Peanuts

Foods to Eat that help with Inflammation:

  • Wild Salmon and other fish
  • Nuts and Seeds- walnuts, flax and pumpkin (all except peanuts, which are legumes :))
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Soy
  • Fruits- strawberries and blueberries are especially good
  • Vegetables- yeah for leafy greens (except for the Nightshade Vegetables)
  • Oats and other whole grains
  • Water (Lots of it)
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Herbs/Spices -- Ginger, Tumeric, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Basil, Cardamin, Chives, Cilantro, Cloves, Parsley
Nightshade Vegetables (thought to contribute to inflammation)
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet & Hot Peppers (Including Cayanne Pepper & Tobasco Sauce)
  • Egg plant
  • Huckleberries (never had one)
  • Tobacco (never had this either, but just thought it was interesting to note).
If you're curious what on earth Nightshade means, I was too. I found this family of vegetables belonging to this family are called "nightshade" because they are supposed to grow during the night. The botanically nightshade family is known as Solanaceae Family. They contain a chemical compound which taken in high doses are thought to flare up arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. The studies are unclear, but if you're like me and just want to be safe (or go without to see if it helps), it's worth a try. I still think these vegetables have nutrients our bodies need (and will likely go back to eating them later on). I'm just going to cut them out right now while I'm having this inflammatory skin problem.

I also read that these nightshade vegetables are actually fruits, but I'd rather stick with calling what I've always called a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable. Who wants to call a tomato or a pumpkin a fruit when it's not sweet like the others? Not me. So that's that for now anyway. Maybe I'll change later on.

I also want to note that I realize the photo at the top isn't just Nightshade vegetables. It also has squash, garlic, and onions. It's pretty though! (And it looks like it would make a really yummy italian dish. :))

Inflammation can also be caused by an allergy, so I'm going to avoid the following high allergy foods (except for strawberries -- I know I'm not allergic to those) for 3 weeks too and see if that helps.

High Allergy Foods to avoid:
  • Eggs (rarely eat them anyway)
  • Milk (don't eat that either, but am just listing it for others who might)
  • Peanuts (already on the inflammation list)
  • Wheat (I may allow some sprouted after the first week)
  • Soy (I occasionally have some soy products, but won't these 3 weeks)
  • Fish, Shellfish (No problems there -- don't like seafood)
  • Corn
So that's that. It would be wonderful to have this eczema leave. When I first stopped eating dairy, it improved quite a bit, but never fully went away. In my times of eating all raw, it would improve too -- never fully going away though. I noticed a few years ago at Thanksgiving, after eating some white flour in the rolls and dairy in the mashed potatoes, that my eczema flared up the next day. (My digestion went crazy within the hour -- that was no fun AND embarrassing! :)) Anyway, I've had some experience with it being affected by what I eat, but I want it gone once and for all. I'll be sure to post my progress when that day comes!

P.S. (I received permission from the photographer of this cinnamon stick photo to post it here. It's such a beautiful picture. Check out her blog MindysDeli. She has many creations (and beautiful photos of her food).

Maybe I'll go suck on a cinnamon stick now. Yum!


  1. Hi Reene, you can post my cinnamon picture on your posting.

  2. Thanks Mindy! I'll go edit my blog to give you credit for it. -- Renee