I would just like to take you back to January 2013, when my new blog was unveiled. I put together 3 articles which I called the ABC’s of health, energy and fitness.
The C was called ‘It’s all about reducing inflammation’, it is a great article, and that is what I am here to talk about again today.
Some of our bodies are already on fire on the inside, and some of our habits are the same as throwing petrol on that fire.
That’s what I will explain today – How to put that fire out, or at least get it back under control.
Just to recap, inflammation is the body’s biological response of attempting to protect itself. It aims to remove harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells and irritants; this is the first step of the healing process.
Inflammation triggers a response from the immune system. Initially inflammation is beneficial as it is used for protection but a lot of the time inflammation can lead to further inflammation (Chronic) which leads to big health problems.
The five signs to look out for inflammation are pain, redness, heat, swelling and loss of function!
What causes the inflammation in the first place?
- Chronic infections
- Environmental toxins (food, water & air)
- Physiological stress
- Intensive /endurance training
- Physical trauma
- Autoimmune disease
If you notice that in the brackets for environmental toxins is food.
In this article I want to discuss the anti inflammatory diet.
Every food we eat gets a response from the body.
There are certain foods contained in many people’s diet today which lead to an increase in inflammation. You can probably guess what kinds of foods these are (fake foods, fried foods, processed foods, refined carbs, coffee, alcohol).
The anti inflammatory diet contains many foods, which I have recommended for other purposes which help to stop and reduce inflammation.
It is a very natural way of improving your health and recovering from illness or injury.
Without inflammation to worry about you will be a lot healthier and less at risk of picking up some very harmful illnesses in the long run.
So what makes up the anti inflammation diet?
This diet is made up of a variety of natural foods packed with nutritional value. There are no processed foods and everything is healthy and wholesome.
So here are the main foods which are contained in the anti inflammation diet:
Inflammation Fighting Fats!
Healthy fats make up a large proportion of the anti inflammation diet. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be anti inflammatory so I recommend eating as many of these foods to help fight inflammation.
Fish is a great source so stock up on sardines, salmon, herring and anchovies. Other good sources include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and walnuts.
Antioxidant Rich Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, some of these vitamins are proven to be anti inflammatory. Some of the best sources of vegetables include onions, spinach, sweet potato, peppers, garlic, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables.
Good fruits and berries to look out for are blueberries, papaya, pineapple and strawberries. They are packed with high antioxidant content which is great on such a diet.
High Quality Protein
Which proteins you eat are very important. There is a big difference between cheap value meats and grass fed organic meats. The cheap value meats will most likely be packed with hormones and pesticides, which lead to inflammation, whereas grass fed organic meat will help to fight inflammation.
Pick your meat wisely and go for the omega-3 packed grass fed versions as often as you can. Use this rule when it comes to eggs as well. Steak, fish, eggs and poultry and beans (legumes).
These three types of foods form the cornerstone of the anti inflammation diet.
Also herbs and spices including ginger, curcumin, turmeric, oregano and rosemary contain important substances which reduce inflammation and help to limit dangerous free radical production.
Food to Avoid at All Costs on an Anti Inflammation Diet
I have just mentioned the foods that can lead to a reduction of inflammation which will keep you healthy. These foods I’m about to mention are the foods which cause inflammation and you should really avoid these.
It’s a balancing act.
Pro Inflammatory foods:
- Processed foods
- Fast food and take aways – deep fried foods especially
- Omega 6 fats – you can find these in many oils like sunflower and soybean oil.
- Bread – most wheat and gluten containing products
- All trans-fats
- Sugar and flour
- Bacon and sausages
Tips to Starting Your Anti Inflammation Diet
The first steps, as with a lot of good diets are to begin to cut out the foods that are holding you back.
So if you regularly eat any of the above foods just mentioned then you need to start to cut them out. Eating these types of foods on an anti inflammation diet completely defeats the purpose of what you are trying to do and will ruin your results.
Even if you don’t suffer from inflammation but want to change your eating habits then following this type of diet will still be good for you. It will increase your health greatly and will help with fat loss.
The next steps would be to begin to introduce anti inflammation foods into your diet. Begin with adding the healthy omega 3 fats. Start to use extra virgin olive oil with your vegetables, coconut oil with your cooking, start snacking with nuts instead of chocolate bars and crisps and start to eat more fresh fish.
Supplementing with a high quality fish oil supplement is also very important.
Hopefully you already eat a lot of fruit and vegetables in your diet, if not then you should start to add them now.
One of the great things about fruit and veg is variety.
There are literally hundreds of different varieties of fruit and vegetables available to us, all packed with goodness and FLAVOUR.
Drink green tea – Drinking green tea is proven to have anti inflammatory benefits. Flavonoids in the tea have anti inflammatory compounds which have been shown to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases. Beware that green tea contains caffeine.
Experiment with herbs and spices – Bring some life to your cooking and start to mix things up. Many people when cooking will add salt, sugar, mayonnaise and other easy options. Start to add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and other herbs and spices to give your meal some real flavour without sacrificing the healthiness of the meal.
Cut out foods that cause problems – If you find that you are intolerant to certain foods or you suffer from problems after eating certain foods then cut them out completely. Many people get bad reactions from wheat and gluten containing foods so try cutting out these foods and see if you notice a difference. Eliminate the foods that you suspect cause problems one by one and you will soon uncover the culprit!
I think you are now pretty much ready to go.
Thanks for reading.