Researchers have linked inflammation to everything from chronic pain to cancer, but what causes inflammation, and how do you know if you have it? Dr. Travis Stork, host of the TV show “The Doctors” and author of the new book The Doctor’s Diet, sat down with Fox News Health’s Dr. Manny Alvarez to answer those questions and share his secrets for reducing inflammation in the body.
While bacteria, viruses and parasites can cause inflammation, so can lifestyle factors like stress, sleep and diet. These things can all contribute to what Stork calls a “pro-anti-inflammatory state,” which characterizes many people he treats. If you’re feeling sluggish, have aches, or are coping with high stress levels, you may be suffering from inflammation, Stork said. Doctors can measure levels of c-reactive proteins to test for it.
In the emergency physician’s latest book, he prescribes simple dietary changes that can help reduce inflammation and the other unwanted health conditions by which it’s marked.
“The foods you eat, you love, but it’s also acting as medicine,” Stork said, and “What’s it going to do? Decrease inflammation in the body, make you feel better, make you happier— and all of those things actually are true if you adopt a healthier lifestyle.”
One of the main dietary tenets Stork follows to reduce inflammation in his body is avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars. For breakfast, for example, Stork opts for oatmeal instead of processed cereal.
“When you eat too much of those refined carbs, not only does it increase your risk for obesity, obviously, but it does become pro-inflammatory in the body,” said Stork, who added that simply choosing whole-grain bread over white bread for your sandwich at lunch can go a long way.
He also advises stepping away from the scale and instead eating healthy fats from foods like avocados and eggs. Making the simple swap from a premade salad dressing to extra virgin olive oil dressing— which is rich in healthy fat— and adding real cheese, can help up the protein content of a salad.
“My good cholesterol numbers— my HDL— has increased dramatically because I’ve really made an effort to increase these healthy fats,” he said.
Stork said adopting changes like these can result in reduced inflammation internally but also visible, external improvements.
“You may find that five minutes after you eat that meal, you feel so much better than you did after your last meal,” he said, and “two hours later, you have more energy.”
To learn more about The Doctor’s Diet, and when you can catch “The Doctors” in your hometown, visit DoctorsTV.com.