Plant-based diets appear to decrease inflammation via a variety of mechanisms, including boosting our adrenal gland function. Glucocorticoids are circulating steroid hormones in our bodies that suppress inflammation and also help our kidneys excrete potassium. When we eat a lot of potassium-rich foods our adrenal glands secrete more glucocorticoids to keep our potassium levels in check, which may have the side effect of decreasing the level of inflammation in the body. See today’s NutritionFacts.org video pick above to see what effect this may have on autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis.
Where is potassium found? See my post last week, 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient. Hint: bananas don’t even make the top 50 sources!
What about autoimmune arthritis? See my Care2 post Plant-Based Diets for Rheumatoid Arthritis and my videos Preventing Arthritis and†Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis. Eating healthier doesn’t improve everyone’s joint pain, but as with all nontoxic treatment modalities, they should always be tried first.
Plant-based diets may help with other pain syndromes (see Fibromyalgia vs. Vegetarian & Raw Vegan Diets and Fibromyalgia vs. Mostly Raw & Mostly Vegetarian Diets) as well as other hypersensitivity diseases. See Preventing Childhood Allergies, Preventing Allergies in Adulthood, and my Ask the Doctor column Q&A What are the best foods to decrease seasonal nasal allergies (rhinitis)?
Michael Greger, M.D.
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