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Eat Well

by Evelyn Theiss

From a renowned naturopath at Spa Eastman, tips to combat inflammation.

Whether it’s asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or another medical condition, the underlying issue is the same: inflammation.

Inflammation is what happens when your body's immune system misinterprets healthy tissue as abnormal and turns on itself to attack it. While researchers don’t yet understand everything about prolonged inflammatory responses, they know enough to link them to high-fat foods and excess body weight. Fat cells appear to produce molecules (cytokines) that can lead to inflammation.

Advising guests about how to reduce inflammation is a mission of Ilona Dowgiallo, a naturopath at Spa Eastman (spa-eastman.com) outside Montreal, Canada. Dowgiallo is a scientist, with a Ph. D. in physics and expertise in nuclear medicine, but her current research is focused on preventing inflammation.

She has worked with Spa Eastman owner/founder Jocelyna Dubuc to develop an anti-inflammatory menu there, one that is gluten- and dairy-free, though guests hardly notice. They might notice a side effect, though–the unexpected weight loss that accompanies a reduction in inflammation.  Dowgiallo also is renowned for her lectures throughout Canada on how we can actively reduce inflammation in our bodies every day.

Here are some of her tips, with additional explanatory information from other sources.

Borage Oil incorporate borage oil into your daily diet. Like some other oils, it is high in Omega-6 fatty acids, but borage oil also provides far higher levels of the fatty acid known as GLA, aka linoleic acid, which is a strong anti-inflammatory found in certain plant oils.

It is most convenient to take borage oil as a capsule. As always, check the source of this and any other supplement you buy, as many come from areas of China known to be highly polluted.

Almond butter Add almond butter (1 tablespoon or so) to your daily diet, as another healthy fat. It is a better choice than peanut butter, which contains significantly more saturated fat. Organic is always preferred.

Dark berries Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are excellent foods with which to counter inflammation.

Dark, leafy greens Fresh dark leafy greens (including kale and chard) and beets are all highly anti-inflammatory vegetables. Eat them every day.

Wild salmon or mackerel These are among the best choices for fish, because of their high oil content. Wild is always preferred over farmed because of the better nutritional content (less saturated fat) and because of contaminants and pollutants often found in farmed fish.

For more information on reducing inflammation in your body, Dowgiallo recommends The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That’s Destroying Our Health (William Morrow), by Barry Sears.

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