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Improve inflammation through diet

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Dr. Merry Harris, a chiropractic neurologist in Seattle, addressed the MS/Cancer support group members about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and brain balance to help with multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. Dr. Harris has been in private practice since 1995 and focuses on neurological issues.

Dr. Harris said, “My goal is to improve the integrity of the spine, brain and nervous system so that a person can function as well as possible. When your body and brain function well, you feel better physically and mentally.”

Dr. Harris is passionate about helping to change lives by changing brain connectivity. A major way to accomplish this goal is through a healthy diet. The gut has been called the little brain. Because the gut and brain constantly are sending signals to each other, gut health is as important as a balanced brain.

How does this help people with MS?

MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this covering is damaged, nerve signals slow down or stop. The nerve damage is inflammatory and occurs when the body's immune cells attack the central nervous system, which includes the brain, optic nerve and spinal cord.

 “We can reduce inflammation by eating better. Generally, the American diet is quite poor, and making better food choices can reduce inflammation in our bodies,” Dr. Harris said.

According to Dr. Harris, we all need more good fat and good quality sea salt.

We need fat in our diet, good and bad fat. Bad fat is usually animal fat or beef fat. The cholesterol in eggs is not necessarily bad. Our brain is 30 percent fat. We need more fat in our diets to be healthy.

Anti-inflammatory foods can help rid the body of possible harmful compounds and create an environment that keeps cells healthy. Several examples are: apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, sea salt, lentils, garlic, cashews, sea vegetables, yams, limes, nectarines, watermelon, licorice, soy sauce, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower.

Foods that may increase inflammation include sugar, processed dairy products, red and processed meat, alcohol, refined grains and artificial food additives and trans fats.

Dr. Harris recommends that you improve the food in your diet. “To feel better, experiment by adding vitamins and minerals, making good food choices and trying different types of exercise.”

One can do many things to change a life through diet. But, diet is not everything. Diet cannot direct signals to specific brain areas. Dr. Harris encourages everyone to make sure your various brain centers are getting even signals from left to right and enough signals to have good brain function.

This is the specialty of Dr. Harris as a chiropractic neurologist. She focuses on treating neurological disorders of various kinds, has helped several clients with MS and hopes to help many more in the future. Visit her website at to learn more.

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