Posted on January 15, 2018
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation isn’t always bad, it is the body’s natural defense against damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, etc. It aims to remove harmful or foreign invaders and heal itself. There are two types of inflammation, one is acute, the other is chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and generally disappears in a few days; chronic inflammation can last for months or years as a result of failure to eliminate the cause and minor, repeated exposure to the aggravating agent.
A poor diet, stress, minor food allergies and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to chronic inflammation.
What Causes Inflammation?
Researchers believe that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defence cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive.
Foods that promote inflammation are:
- Corn and soybean oils
- Pasteurised diary
- Refined carbohydrates
- Conventional meat (from the supermarket)
- Trans fats
Fibre, fruits and vegetables and teas are what need to be included in the diet. Foods high in antioxidants help to reduce the damaged cause by inflammation. Although weight-loss isn’t the focus of an anti-inflammatory diet, many do lose weight when following it.
- Vegetables: a minimum of 4-5 servings per day should be the aim
- Fruits: 3-4 servings per day of low GI fruits should be the aim
- Water: drink purified water or unsweetened tea throughout the day
- Beans and Legumes: 1-2 servings per day of beans and legumes are encouraged if you can tolerate them, many people cannot as they are hard to digest due to their phytic acid content
- Healthy Fats: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, hemp seeds, sesame or walnut oil should be consumed daily
- Herbs and Spices: unlimited amounts of basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry powder, garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric and thyme
- Protein: concentrate on organic eggs, grass-fed meats, organic poultry and natural cheese and yoghurts (if dairy is tolerated)
- Tea: 2-4 cups of green tea per day
- Red Wine: 1-2 glasses of organic red wine per day
- Healthy Sweets: dark chocolate (80% + if possible)
How to Reduce Inflammation
- Eliminate all sources of inflammation from your diet. This includes rancid oils, sugars, conventional meats, pasteurised dairy, trans fats and sugars.
- Begin incorporating one new anti-inflammatory food to your diet each day. Don’t be afraid to try new things (see PDF list below).
- Supplements can be a helpful part of an anti-inflammatory protocol however the requirements should be assessed and discussed with a qualified practitioner.