In my practice I’m often asked about anti-inflammatory diets, and while there are some fairly simple answers, as people start to research these diets on their own, they often get more confused. Sometimes they’ll even try certain elimination programs and either feel the same or worse. Why is that? The reality is that many kinds of foods can cause bloating, pain and other inflammatory issues. Many of us have heard of anti-inflammatory diets (high amounts of wild fish, green leafy veggies, etc.) but we can go much further than that to see what, if any, foods can be causing inflammation. How can we do this?
There are some great companies who test for food sensitivities. This is not the same as a true allergy, but these tests will show if you are reacting to various foods in some way. Inflammation is a major symptom, but other symptoms can include bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, and more. Affordability can be an issue, as these tests can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000. Therefore I’ll often have patients try a few other ideas to see if their pain and inflammation decreases after going on an anti-inflammatory diet.
Before even going on an anti-inflammatory diet, balance out your stress. While we as healthcare practitioners can’t change the amount of stress you have in your life, you can change how you react to it. Stress impedes your body from digesting your foods as well. In return, if your food isn’t fully digested as it gets into the small intestine, your body will send different immune modulators to attack it. When your food doesn’t get broken down into its basic building blocks(amino acids, glucose, etc.) the body could think it’s an invader and that’s when you might have a reaction. Getting in quality digestive enzymes is key. Even if you might not have any direct symptoms, you still might not be digesting well. There are blood tests you can take that are often covered by insurance that can reveal if you are not digesting well. You can also add herbs to help balance out your adrenal glands, such as Ashwagandha or Rhodiola from a high quality source. This is a good two-pronged approach to handling your stress and being able to digest better.
Next, we need to balance out your gut flora. I talk about digestion and stress first because if those aren’t taken care of, you can take the best probiotics, take various herbs to kill off parasites, and more, but really not make much progress. There are some great protocols that use various herbs and nutrients to basically weed, seed and feed your gut. I recommend working with a trained healthcare provider to guide you through this.
If you work on both your stress and digestion and determine that you still need to further look to see if your inflammation is being caused by certain foods, you can do something called a Coca Pulse Test. The basic premise is that if you eat foods that lower or increase your pulse rate, you could have a sensitivity to it. If you find certain foods that do this, I recommend taking out these foods for about 30 days (it takes about this long for any potential antibodies to these foods to be eliminated from the body) and then see how you feel. After 30 days, you can try adding one of the foods back in and see how you feel after 3 or 4 days. You do this because you might have a delayed reaction to this food. For more information on the Coca Pulse Test you can order the book The Pulse Test by Dr. Arthur Coca.
After taking these first three steps you will understand more about what food sensitivities you many have and if you need to do any further testing.
Growing up in Texas as an overweight child, Dr. Scott Jurica, MS, DC, PAK, ACN was often teased about his size. Through the support of his family, mentors, and love of sports, he turned his weakness into his strength by focusing his life on natural healthcare. In his offices in Austin and New York City, Dr. Jurica helps his patients become their healthiest selves, so they can live life to the fullest!