Inflammation is that red and swollen finger you just jammed or the red and swollen area around a wound. Inflammation creates an environment for healing but chronic inflammation can create an environment for disease such as cancer, arthritis, asthma, and heart disease (just to name a few). When inflammation becomes systemic it involves every cell in our bodies and can often go undetected. One way to diagnose systemic inflammation is by measuring the inflammatory chemicals in the blood known as the “CRP” level.
Our bodies produce both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals through the foods we eat. Nutrition experts recommend limiting the level of inflammation or CRP by eating foods with an anti-inflammatory effect on the body like those that are rich in Omega 3, and eating less of the inflammatory foods like dairy. The goal is to have eaten more anti-inflammatory foods at the end of the day than inflammatory.
NutritionData.com provides data on the inflammation factor of foods and some very good information on the IF (inflammation) rating. Foods with a negative rating are inflammatory and foods with a positive rating are anti-inflammatory. Generally, most greens and other vegetables have an anti-inflammatory rating while foods high in sugar have an inflammatory rating. Seafood is anti-inflammatory but poultry and dairy are inflammatory. Some meats are inflammatory, while others are not. Nuts, beans, and whole grains are inflammatory and so are baked goods and most cooking oils except for some like olive oil and canola oil. However, since fruits, nuts, and whole grains are essential to a healthy diet, it is important to remember that just because an item has in inflammatory rating, it can still be good to eat. It is the daily total of anti-inflammatory foods being greater than inflammatory ones that is the goal.
Just as inflammation is necessary for healing to take place, some pain and suffering in life will bring us closer to Christ who suffered greatly throughout his life both physically and emotionally. The healing presence of Christ can help us through all of life’s turmoil and create in us a depth of compassion for others that we would not otherwise be able to achieve. A crisis in life can make us question who we are and what are our goals. When I found out I had cancer, people told me that it would change me. I hated hearing that but it did change me, and for the better. Christ does not protect us from the suffering that life deals to us. Rather, he suffers along with us and teaches us how to be content in all situations because there is nothing finer than to know we are loved by the creator of the universe.
We can get stuck in our suffering and become bitter and malcontent. Like chronic inflammation can cause disease, so can chronic anger. Disappointment in others, overwhelming illness, betrayals, and lost expectations can kill the human spirit. That is why we need a much stronger spirit that Chris gives us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words, because we long for His presence that gives us comfort and strength. Emotional healing is a gift from God. Prayer is like a spiritual anti-inflammatory, and a strong spiritual mentor can guide us towards forgiveness of self and others.
Eating healthfully can be overwhelming with all the misinformation out there, and so can finding emotional health. Each person must find his or her own way. If you were to ask me, I would say the right diet is the Nutritarian diet by Dr. Fuhrman and the right god is Jesus Christ. But just knowing what is right is not the end all; we have to follow.
But the one who looks intently into the perfect law, the law of liberty (brought by Jesus Christ), and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.