Today the standard American diet (SAD) consists of processed foods void of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other important nutrients.
These foods are full of refined and artificial sugars, flavors and colors, refined and processed oils, among other unhealthy additives, wreaking havoc on our bodies.
by Dr. Kimberly Albarran, PT, DPT, Physical Therapy and Nutrition Coaching
According to the CDC, in 2019, 39.8% of adults and 18.5% of children were obese (a BMI of 30 or higher). Obesity leads to some of the most preventable and premature deaths such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, along with certain types of cancer and chronic pain.
A person doesn’t have to be excessively overweight to experience health concerns. It’s really an excessive inflammatory process that takes place from eating a poor diet, poor sleep, sedentary lifestyle and increased stress.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels, high insulin and cortisol levels, and increased abdominal fat can cause increased inflammation. There are multiple mechanisms in which inflammation occurs, but let’s discuss one in particular related to increased abdominal fat mass.
Increased abdominal adipocytes (fat cells) release inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) into circulation causing a cascade of inflammatory responses related to vessel plaque formation, blood clots, allergies, and pain among other negative consequences.
How do we balance the immune system and reduce the inflammatory cycle, lose weight, have more energy?
Check out these tips, and remember: Health is a journey of consistent behavior changes over time.
- Buy higher fiber whole foods, fruits and veggies that stabilize blood sugar, reduce insulin spikes and reduce weight.
- Eat more fish, such as salmon, high in omega 3 fatty acids. Use extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil for cooking.
- Eliminate vegetable, corn, soybean, canola, and hydrogenated oils — they are highly inflammatory. Reduce the use of sunflower and safflower oils. (High oleic sunflower/ safflower oils are OK).
- Cook with anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric with black pepper, paprika, rosemary, thyme, cayenne and others to reduce inflammation.
- Menu prep, meal prep and use healthier crockpot and insta-pot recipes to save time.
- Read nutrition and ingredient labels on packages and stay away from processed chemicals.