The Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101
Do you think you could benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet but don’t know where to start, or even what the heck an anti-inflammatory diet is?
You’re in the right place, we have the low-down.
- Inflammation is not to be mistaken with disease.
- A lot of health problems are associated with inflammation but it is not always a bad thing.
- It’s a vital part of a healthy immune response and your body depends on inflammatory responses to defend against
- bacterial and viral invaders and even cancer cells.
- Inflammation also helps the body heal from injuries.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
So what exactly is an anti-inflammatory diet and why do I need it in my life?
Well, it’s a just a nutritious combination of
– real foods basically.
We all know these things are important but an anti-inflammatory diet takes a closer look at some foods with the super powers to help manage or reduce inflammation in the body.
Conditions characterised by excessive inflammation
How do you know if you’ve got inflammation going on?
If any of these sound familiar, it’s a big fat yes I’m afraid!
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Coeliac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Many individuals benefit from following an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce their symptoms Psoriasis.org
Even if you don’t have a diagnosed health condition, skin complaints like acne, eczema and psoriasis are all down to pesky inflammation too!
The anti-inflammatory food pyramide
But…Inflammation isn’t all bad
Inflammation is a part of the body’s essential healing process, if our immune system didn’t have an inbuilt ‘inflammatory response’ we wouldn’t last long, the common cold could mean game over! We need inflammation to fight bugs and heal cuts and bruises, it’s only when it gets out of hand it becomes a problem.
Think of it like a little campfire, you want it burning at all hours to keep you warm, make food from time to time and warn off big grizzly bears (or other unfriendly visitors), stoking it occasionally to make sure it’s still going, but you don’t want to chuck a load of petrol on it, that’s a bit extreme!
But what’s that got to do with your diet? How can food be inflammatory in the first place? It’s not just a case of ‘what goes in, comes out’ – everything we eat is digested and absorbed by the body and if you’re eating loads of refined cards, processed meats and sugary treats, that’s exactly like putting gas on the fire! And if you’ve got any of the conditions above, it might be worth putting a bit of a dampener on things. See all of our recipes here.
7 Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan & Recipes
Tips on how to reduce inflammation
- Put down the donut! Refined white flour and sugary foods can mess with your hormones spiking insulin in your body and causing an inflammatory response. They can also pile on the pounds which in itself is an inflammatory situation.
- Bin the margarine! Despite for years being told that vegetable oils were healthy, if you’ve got an inflammatory condition this is not true – in fact, margarine, along with sunflower and corn oils are rich in omega 6 fats which if eaten in excess can actually contribute to inflammation.
- Switch to real butter and other healthy fats – coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, walnut and flaxseed oils are the good guys. You want to cook with coconut as it’s nice and heat stable, slow roast with olive (not at high temperatures as this can damage the fragile bonds) and dress your salads with extra virgin for omega 9 fats, or choose flax or walnut oils for super powered anti-inflammatory omega 3s.
- Ditch the dairy – some dairy like greek yoghurt which is super high in protein or a nice organic probiotic yoghurt can be really healthy but it is also a common allergen and if skin issues are your thing, try removing it for a bit and see what happens – oat or nut milks (as long as you’re not allergic!) can be your friends instead.
Get 6 extra tips to reduce inflammation in your body.
The importance of protein
So we need protein for building huge muscles, right? Well, this would be a reasonable conclusion seeing as how much protein bodybuilders eat, but this is not simply the case. Yes, protein is a building block of muscle, and in fact body tissues in general, so protein helps to maintain muscle size. Protein also helps to keep your immune system strong and your skin, hair and nails in-tact. Protein is mostly found in meat, fish, seafood, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and lower amounts in grains. Eat plenty of these protein rich foods for healthy skin. Read all about the importance of protein.
Eat low-sugar foods
The ‘5 a day’ message is generally recommended to help you increase your intake of antioxidants and fibre, so eating high sugar fruits such as pineapple doesn’t quite cut it when trying to follow a low sugar diet. There is nothing wrong with the odd serving of high sugar fruits as they do provide a great range of antioxidants, however, if you suffer from psoriasis, you may benefit more from eating mostly lower sugar fruits. Sugar, even in its natural form can cause bloating and inflammation in some individuals. More about low-sugar foods.
Don’t be scared of healthy high fat foods… embrace their health properties! Over decades of scaremongering in the media, low fat food products have become quite the norm. Our bodies crave fat, and for a good reason. Every cell in our body needs fat to be healthy and plumped up. You don’t want your cells to look like shrivelled up raisins do you? More about healthy fats