By Mha Atma S Khalsa, DC

A recently published review of American nutrition impressed me so much that I wanted to share it with you.  The article stated that the typical American diet is “pro-inflammatory,” meaning that it produces a very strong tendency toward inflammation in the body which greatly increases the incidence of arthritis, general body pains (including lower back and neck pains), heart and circulation diseases (from inflammation of blood vessels), Alzheimer’s disease (from inflammation of the brain), various gastro-intestinal problems (like gastritis and colitis), and cancer.  

The features of the American diet that cause these problems include high intake of meat and dairy products, refined grains (white flour, white rice), “bad” fats (most vegetable oils, partially hydrogenated fats, and the saturated fats in and from animals that have been fattened on grains beef, pork, chicken, milk products and eggs) and a severe deficiency of fresh fruit and vegetables and “good” fats (olive oil and the “omega-3” fatty acids found in fish, fish oils, “grass-fed” animals, green leafy vegetables, flax seeds and walnuts). 

Many people suffer from the “pro-inflammatory soup” created in their bodies by this widespread dietary imbalance, which accounts for the huge intake of anti-inflammatory drugs by millions of Americans.  These drugs can be helpful in the short term, but have many significant long-term side effects, and do nothing to correct the chemical imbalance caused by improper diet. 

What to do?  Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal!  This includes whole fresh fruit, fruit salads or smoothies, lots of salad, and various fresh cooked vegetables.  If you like fish, eat cold-water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and/or anchovies 2 or 3 times per week. You can also take fish oil capsules (2 to 4 1-gram capsules per day).  Vegetarians can add a tablespoon or 2 per day of fresh ground flax seed (grind flax seeds with a coffee grinder) to salads, soups, cereal or anything else and/or take flax seed oil capsules.  Eat walnuts.  Moderate your  intake of meat, chicken, dairy and eggs and buy “grass-fed,” “free-range” and/or “cage-free” and organic whenever possible. Use only olive or grapeseed oil in cooking and make your own salad dressings using olive oil.  Don’t buy baked goods or anything else made with “partially hydrogenated” oils (read the labels!), and reduce your intake of refined grains (white bread, pasta and white rice). 

It is exciting to realize that improving your dietary habits will help you feel significantly better in the near future and result in major improvements in your long term health. Add some exercise, adequate rest, and regular chiropractic care, and your chances of staying healthy will be better than ever!