Everyone is talking about the anti-inflammatory diet which does everything from deflate stomachs to cure chronic disease. Advocated by Victoria Secret models and medical professionals it seems this may finally be an eating plan that fits all.
The healthy, human body uses inflammation to help fight injury and illness. Acute inflammation occurs when injury happens such as cutting your finger. Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, esophagitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and lupus.
Unhealthy lifestyles induce faulty, inflammatory effects. These responses may cause bloating, stomach upsets, hormonal imbalance, mood disorders, fatigue and poor cognitive function. Increasing research has shown that eating a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods will assist many of these issues and prevent and heal chronic disease.
Foods to avoid on an inflammatory diet include processed meats, saturated and trans fats, white bread and pasta and polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower oil. You should also reduce your intake of processed snack foods such as chips and crackers and desserts such as biscuits, lollies, ice cream and avoid eating too much carbohydrate, gluten and alcohol.
Replace highly inflammatory foods with ones that are nutrient dense and lower in calories. Oily fish, olive oil and nuts and seeds are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3. Fermented foods such as natural yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha are also beneficial. Leeks, onion and garlic have anti-inflammatory affects and herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, thyme, oregano, rosemary and pepper are excellent.
Focus on foods like dark leafy greens and nutrient dense vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Legumes such as lentils and beans are anti-inflammatory as are avocado and coconut. Good fruit choices are blackberries, blueberries, cherries and red grapes. You can also treat yourself to red wine and dark chocolate in moderation.
Coffee lovers rejoice as your cuppa has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. When including meat in your diet make sure that you choose healthy animals that are grass fed. Also, choose non-farmed fish and seafood. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks such as soft drink. Try to increase your exercise and reduce your stress.
Foods in the nightshade family have been implicated as inflammatory culprits. Nightshade foods include eggplant, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes. There’s limited evidence to show these foods cause flare ups. However, research shows that a vegetarian diet reduces inflammation and vegans have less systemic inflammation and chronic disease.
An anti-inflammatory diet day may start with a green smoothie, poached eggs with greens, steel cut oats or homemade granola with nuts and berries. A lunch would be sashimi with miso soup, green salad with legumes, fresh salmon or tuna with salad or stir-fried tofu with vegetables. A dinner could be a chicken, lentil and turmeric curry, grilled snapper with salad or a vegetarian stir fry with brown rice.
Anti-inflammatory eating may be called a diet but it’s solid evidence makes it much more than that. Start to make small changes by incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your day. It’s an investment that has short term benefits if you want to look more like Gisele and long-term protection if you want to avoid disease.