I am so excited for you to read my brand new book, The Inflammation Spectrum. You will discover how inflammation is at the core of most common health woes and exists on a continuum: from mild symptoms such as weight gain and fatigue on one end, to hormone imbalance and autoimmune conditions on the other. How you feel is constantly and dynamically being influenced by every meal. Every food you eat is either feeding inflammation or fighting it. Because no one else is you, the foods that work well for someone else may not be right for your body. At heart, The Inflammation Spectrum is about learning to love your body enough to nourish it with delicious, healing foods. Its insightful quizzes and empowering advice will put you on a path toward food freedom and overall healing. Learn more here.
by Dr. Will Cole
Everybody needs inflammation. It is a healthy immune response designed to defend your body against everything from viruses and bacteria to an injury like a cut. However, for many people, inflammation, can rage out of control, rather than subsiding when its job is done. These people constantly battling a storm of chronic, low-grade inflammation that is the underlying commonality in just about every health problem we see today. Brain fog, depression, anxiety, thyroid problems, autoimmune conditions, digestive issues, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis all exist somewhere on the inflammation spectrum.
If you want to feel good, have energy during the day, get a good sleep at night, and successfully achieve your ideal weight, it is essential to get your inflammation levels balanced. But how? Fortunately, lifestyle changes can make a swift and meaningful difference in chronic inflammation levels. In fact, you could impact them in just one day. So, why not start now? Here’s the plan:
1. Drink coffee.
For all you coffee lovers out there, rejoice, because coffee drinkers tend to have lower CRP (an inflammatory protein) levels than those who skip that cup of joe. So caffeinate without guilt! Just be sure what you are drinking is organic and third-party tested for mold. If you can’t tolerate coffee, green tea has also been shown to lower CRP.
2. Lower NF-kB.
I’m putting on my scientist hat for this one: High levels of the inflammatory nuclear factor kappa B, or NF-kB, tend to increase inflammation, because it binds to your DNA and triggers various inflammatory cascades in the body that play a role in many chronic inflammatory conditions. Fortunately, controlling NF-kB is easier than understanding what it is – just snack on super foods that fight NF-kB, such as blueberries and matcha green tea.
3. Raise your Nrf-2.
The protein Nrf-2 turns on genes that are responsible for antioxidant and detox pathways, helping to calm inflammation levels. Activate Nrf-2 in the same way you turn off Nf-kB: By focusing on dietary antioxidant foods such as matcha green tea.
4. Go for fat-soluble vitamins.
You need vitamins A, D, E, and K2 for lots of reasons, including reducing inflammation, specifically levels of the inflammatory protein CRP. Focus on food medicines that are high in these vitamins by following my food plan, which follows this list.
5. Avoid most alcohol.
Limit your alcohol consumption (or cut it out entirely) because alcohol is known to increase your levels of CRP. However, there is one happy exception: Studies have shown that when consumed in small amounts (think like the French, with their small wine glasses), red wine is associated with lower CRP. Now don’t you feel better about that nice glass of your favorite organic red wine with (or after) dinner?
6. Help out your methylation.
Methylation, a process that runs through your body like a biochemical superhighway, helps protect your DNA, brain, and gut from inflammation by detoxifying and lowering homocysteine, and inflammatory amino acid. Boost that process by eating more sulfur-rich vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms.
7. Decrease stress and increase mindfulness.
Stress can hurt your health in many ways including raising CRP. People with stressful jobs and/or toxic relationships have been shown in many studies to have higher CRP levels. Mindfulness meditation is a great technique to help lower stress and also bring down CRP. Incorporate mindfulness at some point every day, either in the morning before you get busy, during your mid-day break or in evening to end the day on a calm note.
Your One-Day Inflammation-Calming Diet
Now what about that plan I promised you? Here’s how to maximize all these tips in a single day to calm inflammation in all its forms: CRP, NF-kB, and homocysteine. In addition, your anti-inflammatory methylation and Nrf-2 pathways will be activated. Mega win!
Breakfast: Cold-Brew Adaptogenic Green Mushroom Smoothie
- 1 cup raw chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup frozen banana
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup organic cold-brew coffee
- 1 scoop pea protein
- 1 tablespoon spirulina
- 1 teaspoon chaga powder
- 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- 6 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend.
Alternative Breakfast Idea: Fasting + Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Matcha Tonic
Another way to drive inflammation down is intermittent fasting. Sipping on this tea and waiting until lunch to eat any food allows your body to clear out inflammation a little faster. If intermittent fasting isn’t your thing, just have this yummy golden tonic as your midmorning snack.
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- Pinch of black pepper
- Blend ingredients well in a blender.
- Pour into a suacepan and heat for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until warm.
Lunch: Wild-Caught Tuna Avocado Salad
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 can pole-caught, sustainably sourced tuna
- 1 stalk finely diced celery
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil-based organic mayonnaise
- 2 to 3 springs finely chopped fresh dill
- Bibb lettuce, baby Romaine leaves, or Boston lettuce
- Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Mash the avocado in a small bowl.
- Add tuna, mayonnaise, dill, and celery to the bowl.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Lay in lettuce of your choice.
Dinner: Nourishing Chicken Zoodle Bone Broth Soup with Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower
Ingredients for the bone broth
- Whole organic chicken
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 inch of ginger root
Ingredients for the soup
- 1 to 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 to 2 cups chopped carrots
- 4 to 6 cups organic chicken bone broth (as you prepared above)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 to 4 small to medium zucchinis
- 2 cups cooked shredded organic chicken (such as the chicken you reserved after making the bone broth)
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- Himalayan sea salt to taste
Ingredients for the cauliflower
- 1/2 large cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons Himalayan sea salt
For the bone broth:
- Rinse the chicken, and place it in the pot.
- Fill your pot three-quarters full with water, and add the herbs and vegetables.
- Cook on medium-high until bubbling, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer covered, at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours, to taste.
- Allow to cool, then pour stock through a strainer and transfer to mason jars to store in the fridge. Reserve chicken for another use.
For the soup:
- Saute the onions and carrots in coconut oil until onions are soft.
- Add bone broth and bring to a boil.
- Make zucchini into noodles. Slice the zucchini into your desired size of strips, either thick or nice and thin (more like actual noodles) with a julienne slicer.
- Once the carrots are tender, add the zucchini and simmer (covered or uncovered) until tender. The time will vary depending on the size of your zucchini “noodles.”
- Add the chopped chicken and garlic, bring back to a boil, and then turn heat off. Cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
For the cauliflower:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Pull of cauliflower florets.
- Combine the cauliflower florets with the avocado oil, turmeric, and salt.
- Place in baking dish (spread out cauliflower so they’re not on top of each other).
- Cover the baking dish with tin foil.
- Bake for 75 minutes.
- Serve on the side.
Snack: Organic Blueberry Balls
- 10 pitted medjool dates
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup frozen organic blueberries
- Shredded unsweetened coconut
- Process the dates, almonds, almond butter, and vanilla in a food processor.
- Add frozen blueberries and process again until well-blended.
- Roll into balls.
- Freeze for an hour to harden.
- Remove from freezer and roll in the shredded coconut.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Make time to give yourself some “Brain Breaks,” times of calm and silence throughout the day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, close your eyes or spend time in nature and breathe. If you are eating like a champ but filling your body full of stress, you won’t calm inflammation effectively. And there you go – inflammation managed! Now, see if you can do it again tomorrow.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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