The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan: The scientific way to lose weight, banish pain, prevent disease, and slow aging [NOOK Book]


Praise for The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan

"Cellular inflammation is the basis for all the ...

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The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan: The scientific way to lose weight, banish pain, prevent disease, and slow aging

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Praise for The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan

"Cellular inflammation is the basis for all the most common degenerative diseases that plague the majority of our population. The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan shows you exactly how to prevent--and even reverse--this deadly process."

--Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause, and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

"Inflammation contributes to more pain, disease, and disability than any other condition. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly eat foods that greatly contribute to inflammation. This useful book explains how to eat to remain inflammation-free and healthy."

--Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of Fibroid Tumors & Endometriosis Self-Help Book and The Lark Letter newsletter

"Just what the doctor ordered! When it comes to making the latest research practical and delicious, Monica Reinagel's The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan is a healing prescription you can't beat!"

--Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., author of The Fat Flush Plan and Before the Change

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071510523
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 5/21/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 189,510
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Monica Reinagel, M.S., C.N.S., is the author of several health books and creator of the IF Rating™ system for estimating the inflammatory effects of foods. She is Chief Nutritionist for, the internet's leading nutrition site, where she writes a daily blog on health and nutrition and a bi-weekly e-letter read by 50,000 subscribers. Monica is also a regular contributor to, national magazines, and radio programs. Monica holds a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and is a board-certified nutrition specialist.

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Read an Excerpt

The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan

The Scientific Way to Lose Weight, Banish Pain, Prevent Disease, and Slow Aging

By Monica Reinagel, Julius Torelli

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2006Monica Reinagel and Lynn Sonberg Book Associates
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-150219-1



The Silent Enemy: Determining Your Risk

Some kinds of chronic inflammation are more obvious than others. If you suffer from arthritis, asthma, or allergies, you are already painfully aware of the presence of inflammation in your body. (Take heart; help is on the way!) But there is another, more dangerous form of inflammation—a silent, invisible inflammation that can attack your cells, blood vessels, and organs for years without causing the slightest symptom. Eventually, however, the damage may reveal itself in the form of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, or cancer.

Everyone is at risk of this type of inflammation, for reasons we'll go into shortly. And if you are even slightly overweight, your risk is increased. In this chapter, you'll learn how to determine your level of systemic inflammation. More important, you'll learn what you can do to reduce the risk of inflammation- related disease.

At the right time and place, of course, inflammation is a good and necessary thing—an ingenious system that the body has for protecting itself from infection and healing from injury. If you've ever sprained your ankle, you have probably witnessed an impressive display of the body's inflammatory response. An injured ankle can swell to the size of a melon within minutes. This inflammation has a purpose.

Pain is a signal to stop what you are doing, thereby avoiding further damage. The rush of blood and fluid to the injured area acts as a natural splint to immobilize the area, while nutrients carried to the site by the blood begin the repair process. As any orthopedist will tell you, doctors don't heal sprained ankles. They just supervise while nature and time do the job.

Inflammation also comes to the rescue when your body's surveillance system detects that a foreign body—such as a bacterium or virus—has invaded its territory. The redness and swelling around an infected wound are caused by millions of white blood cells that have sped to the site to overpower the intruder. When you have a fever, which is a sort of whole-body inflammation, your immune system is working to overcome a virus or bacteria by raising the temperature of the body so high that the bug succumbs to heatstroke.

Obviously, we don't want to diminish the body's protective and healing powers. But we do want to eliminate excessive, chronic, and inappropriate inflammation. All kinds of arthritis, for example—whether they are caused by age, wear and tear, or diseases like rheumatoid arthritis—are characterized by painful swelling and stiffness in the joints. The inflammation of arthritis, however, is neither healing nor protective. Allergies are another sort of nonproductive inflammatory response in which the immune system tries to attack otherwise harmless substances like pollen or animal dander. These sorts of inflammation serve no useful purpose and can make your life miserable. Over time, excessive inflammation also increases your risk of several life- threatening diseases.

The evidence implicating inflammation in diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's has emerged only recently and comes as a surprise to many people. But the fact is that inflammation plays a significant role in all of the most common and serious degenerative diseases.

Why Excessive Inflammation Is So Common

If inflammation is a natural and necessary part of the body's defenses, what is causing this well-designed system to malfunction? Why are so many of us suffering from excessive inflammation? The answer is complex, but it boils down to this: we have lost our balance.

The body's inflammation response works through two complementary channels: one is pro-inflammatory, and the other anti-inflammatory. Our cells produce a variety of pro- and anti-inflammatory chemicals (called prostaglandins), using nutrients from the food we eat as the raw material. These prostaglandins are released into our tissues in response to the immune system's signals, promoting inflammation when there is danger and quelling inflammation when the danger has passed.

A key concept in this (oversimplified) portrayal is that our bodies produce prostaglandins by using compounds from the foods we eat. Specifically, it is the fatty acids in our foods that our bodies use to make prostaglandins. Certain types of fatty acids (primarily those from the omega-6 family) are converted into inflammatory pros-taglandins, while other types (primarily from the omega-3 family) are used to make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. This is where we, as a modern society, have gotten into trouble.

To maintain a balance between its pro- and anti-inflammatory channels, the body relies on a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The problem is that those of us who live in modern industrial nations consume far too many omega-6 fatty acids and far too few omega-3 fatty acids. Paleontologists and anthropologists estimate that the diet of a Stone Age human contained roughly equal parts omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Today, we consume about twenty times as much omega-6 as we do omega-3. As a result, our bodies tend to produce an overabundance of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and a paucity of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. The Inflammation-Free Diet helps to reestablish a natural balance and reverse this dangerous trend.

What Went Wrong with the Modern Diet

We frequently hear that the typical modern diet leaves much to be desired nutritionally. Most of us eat too many sweets, starches, empty calories, and highly processed foods. These dietary habits contribute to our problems with inflammation, for reasons we will explore in Chapter 2. But even more problematic—and harder to fix—is the fact that humans today consume more cereal grains (and the oils produced from them) than ever before in our history as a species. These grains and oils tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids. At the same time, we eat fewer vegetables and legumes, which are natural sources of omega-3 fats.

Not only have our diets shifted toward the overconsumption of grains, but the diets of our livestock have followed the same trend. Cattle that would naturally graze on grasses and other plant matter now eat primarily grain-based feed. This means that the muscle tissue (meat), milk, and eggs of domesticated livestock are lower in omega-3 and higher in omega-6 fatty acids. And most recently, with the advent of aquaculture and farm-raised seafood, even the fish we eat have begun to eat a grain-based diet instead of a natural diet of algae and smaller fish.

We eat an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids, and we consume animals that eat an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids. The end result is a flood of pro- inflammatory prostaglandins cascading through our bodies, with a drought of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. No wonder we are seeing an epidemic of inflammatory disease!

Who Is at Risk

Virtually anyone who eats a modern Western diet is at risk of excessive inflammation, for the reasons just given. But there are other factors that can increase the propensity toward inflammation and inflammation-related disease:

• Smoking: Smoking creates huge numbers of free radicals, which in turn produce inflammation in the tissues.

Especially affected are the cells lining the bronchial passages and the small blood vessels that lead to the heart. Smokers usually have high levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood and a dramatically increased risk of many inflammation-related diseases.

• Excess weight: Adults and children who are overweight also ten

Excerpted from The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan by Monica Reinagel. Copyright © 2006 by Monica Reinagel and Lynn Sonberg Book Associates. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Do you really need this book?Chapter 1 :The silent enemy: determining your riskWhy excessive inflammation is so common Who is at riskWhat you can do to fight inflammationChapter 2: How the foods you eat affect inflammationHow the IF Ratings are calculatedWhat the ratings revealFrequently asked questionsChapter 3: Reducing the inflammation in your bodyInflammation self assessmentCustomizing your Inflammation Free DietPlanning your meals Evaluating and revising recipesMeal plans for the Inflammation Free DietRecipes for the Inflammation Free DietChapter 4: The IF Rating TablesHow to use the tablesIF Ratings A to ZIF Ratings by categorySelected referencesIndex
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    I was able to manage my eczema, and lost weight following the principles of The inflammation-Free Diet Plan.

    Reading and applying the principles and formulas from this book to my diet choices,I have experienced an eczema free time for one month now and have finally lost weight. Before,every time I tried to loose weight,I ended by gaining more. Together with diet controls of limiting my inflammation quota and just a beginner yoga exercise CD, I have lost 30 pounds and finally have healed my eczema. In four months I have stopped feeling the affects of fibromyalghia on my body.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Motivator

    We all know that saturated fats and sugar are bad for your health, but the information about the link between diet and inflammation-linked diseases (the list is long)is news to me. While I have not rigidly followed a diet plan from the book, I have become aware of the relative inflammation ratings of different foods and these ratings have informed my selections at the grocery store. I try to end up each day on the plus side after totalling up the IRs of all my foods. As a result, I have lost weight and have less joint pain. This is a good read, if only to scan the best and worst foods in each category and remember a few. You will at least feel better about your food choices.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2009

    Helpful Healing While Eating

    Purchased the book, after heart surgery, recognizing the value of a natural way to improve my eating habits without use of so many other drugs or prescriptions. My profile isn't the usual "CAD" patient and I, along with my willing cardiologist, wanted to reduce my C-Reactive Protein (CRP) value. It's working and both my wife and I enjoy the knowledge gained from the book. The recipes and "+" Inflammation Factors (good values) are easy to follow, compensating for the "-" inflammation Factors (bad values). I don't see this as a diet, it's more like eating smarter.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    To Good To Be True

    It seemed very convincing and made a lot of sense. There is something so logical about counteracting inflammitory foods with inflammation-free foods. If you're eating something that's inflammatory then eat something that will counteract it. Easy enough. But coming from a inflamed body and looking for relief, I cannot say this plan worked. There may be at some level that some of this is true and works. But, either I'm too far gone for anti-inflammatory foods to work on me or this needs to go back to the work table. I still believe this book has merit, I just don't know if it is as simple as it implies.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

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    I think the author does a pretty good job of explaining what inflammation is but I was so disappointed in the types of food she allows you to eat on this plan. Her entire system is really hard to follow and very discouraging. I would much rather follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. It is easy to understand and very positive.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Excellent book

    This book has really helped me adjust my diet which has made a positive difference in some arthritis issues in my fingers. I recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Best long-term results ever from a simple diet plan

    Both my husband and I lost over 20% of our weight with very little effort. It has been 2 years and we have not gained any weight back. We work with a number of people with inflammatory problems and recommend this book on a regular basis. "Too Good to Be True" commented that the diet did not help her inflammation much. This may be because she is constantly getting reinfected by her environment. A simple, inexpensive do-it-yourself mold test can determine this. Others like her that have cleaned up their environments and followed the diet have expressed extraordinary results. Don't give up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Disappointed Overall

    I love the over-all message in this book, that you don't have to eliminate any food from your diet totally but that you can minimize any inflammatory foods' effect by also including highly ant-inflammatory foods. I had totally eliminated peanuts, caffein, eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes but it's hard when you eat with others who love those things. If I can eat them on occasion and pair them with things like chili powder, ground cayene, garlic and onion powder, fresh ginger root, tabasco and/or onion flakes, man, I'm there! I was surprised to find tomatoes in the positive range (anti-inflammatory) as it seems everywhere else it's a no-no. And peanuts (another common allergen) are absent from her list.

    I think her plan of journaling everything AND figuring out everything's IF rating (+fat grams and carb grams) is a little unrealistic, especially given the limitations of her list of foods and IF ratings. I read the book excitedly, couldn't wait to get to the list of foods and IF ratings, but when I got to the list, I was sorely disappointed. I thought there were some weird things included, such as "Froot Loops." (Is it spelled that way?) Is someone concerned with their diet really going to eat that? I eat a vegan diet, so some of my staples, such as tempeh, seitan and tofu, were not there.

    Overall, I was disappointed, but only after reading the list. Like I said, the over-all idea is great. There needs to be a place for an updated list to appear, a website or something. It will affect what and how I eat, so that's good.

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