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Diet that calms the overactive immune system

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Tuesday, January 08, 2008 | 0 comments

Found this info posted on the Women over 40 with High FSH, by Katherine:

Information gathered from Immunologysupport group discussions

Updated 3/24/07


I. Foods that help reduce inflammation
II. Foods that promote inflammation (foods to avoid)
III. Resources

I. Foods that help reduce inflammation

1. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Good fats include fatty fish, extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil (expeller-pressed), walnuts and their oil, hemp oil, and flaxseed or flaxseed oil. A high ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid in the diet can reduce the severity of inflammatory processes

2. Cold-water fish and/or take fish oil supplements. Fish oil contains the highest quality omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both EPA and DHA are potent anti- inflammatory reducers. Good sources of DHA and EPA are fatty fish such as mackerel (not King), salmon, trout, sardines, and tuna packed in water (avoid Tuna packed in oil as the omega-3s can leach into the surrounding oil).

However, please be aware that some fish can contain mercury, dioxins and PCBs. To reduce risk of contaminant exposure, select fish on the lower end of the food chain such as: summer flounder, wild Pacific salmon, croaker, mid-Atlantic blue crab, haddock. Also remove skin and extra fat to reduce contaminant risk as well. Fish on the higher end of the food chain such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, some species of tuna, sea bass, marlin, halibut, pike, walleye, white croaker, and largemouth bass are to be avoided.
Also: Know that 2-4g a day of standard (over the counter) fish oil is equivalent to eating about 2 servings cold water fatty fish a week.

3. Low glycemic foods . Low gycemic foods to prevent the insulin surge that contributes to chronic inflammatory processes. Some low -glycemic index carbohydrates include green vegetables, small "new" potatoes, most fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, high fiber cereals, semolina pasta, whole grain breads, basmanti rice, nuts.
(see: )

4. Ginger and tumeric. Ginger and Tumeric are the most rigorously tested herbal anti-inflammatories. Both are widely used in India to treat inflammatory illnesses. Physician Andrew Weil suggests taking 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extract (either in tablets or capsules) three times a day or one to two tablets (500 to 1,000 milligrams) of powdered dry ginger twice a day with food to reduce inflammation. Both ginger and turmeric need to be taken consistently for two months to show results.

Note: Tumeric is not recommended in early pregnancy.

5. Pineapple Pineapple contains bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme, that help inflammations by inhibiting the formation of an inflammatory prostaglandin (E-2) while stimulating the production of an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin (E-1);
It also reduces edema and inflammation by inhibiting kinin formation, and
activating the production of plasmin from plasminogen.
Some Naturopaths suggest a dose of 150-450 mg bromelain, 3 times a day on an empty stomach to reduced the symptoms of inflammation.

II. Foods that promote inflammation (foods to avoid)

1. Avoid omega-6 fatty acids. Avoid foods high levels of omega 6 fatty such as foods that contain safflower oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil. A high omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid in the diet has been shown to increase many inflammatory processes.

2. Avoid trans fats like vegetable shortenings, hard margarines and partially hydrogenated oil. Polyunsaturated fats can increase the prostaglandin E2 which increase inflammation

3. Avoid saturated fats. Avoid foods high in saturated fat like red meat, cheese, ice cream. Food heavy in saturated fats can also increase prostaglandin E2 increasing inflammation.

4. Avoid foods high in arachidonic acid Arachidonic acid is a precursor to autoimmune "bad guys" prostaglandin E2 and cytokine
leukotriene B(4). Avoid beef, egg yolk, and too much dairy.

5. Avoid over-cooked foods like French fries, hamburgers, potato chips, fried food. These foods contain high levels of glycotoxins which can also cause an increase in inflammatory cytokines.

6. Avoid high-glycemic index carbohydrates and sugery foods. These cause excess production of insulin which can lead to high levels of arachidonic acid, a precursor to both pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 and the pro-inflammatory cytokine leukotriene B(4). Some high-glycemic index carbohydrates include fruit juices, white potatoes, cakes, candy, white bread, rice, pasta, cereals, oatmeal cookies, bagels, muffins, bananas, donuts, carrots

7. Be careful with dairy and wheat. Some people have poor ability to process lactose and gluten. In these people, these foods can aggravate their immune system. Please be aware of your food intolerances. If you suspect a digestive problem with a certain food, get tested!

III. Resources

1. The role of diet and sleep as remedies for inflammation

2. Low -glycemic index carbohydrates

3. Natural Non-Drug Remedies for Inflammation

4. The Scales Tilt on the Side of Nature- Safely reducing TNF-a levels

5. Dr. Barry Sears chats about fish oil and fertility at INCIID

6. Book: The Omega Rx Zone: The Miracle of the New High-Dose Fish Oil
by Barry Sears
Publisher: Regan Books; (June 17, 2003)
ISBN: 006098919X
How high dose fish oil can balance your immune system and improve your health

7. How to determine the fatty acid content of oils and foods

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
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