Acute inflammation is the body’s immune system kicking into action. It is an essential protection mechanism and the symptoms subside when the attack on the body has passed.
But what if we keep putting our body in harmful situations?
Poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise all contribute to chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is prolonged acute inflammation and it causes cell and tissue degeneration
It is becoming increasing clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
The major causes of chronic inflammation – Poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise – can be controlled by you.
The anti inflammatory diet
This is not a fad diet for losing weight, it is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health. Along with influencing inflammation this diet will provide a steady supply of energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre and protective phytonutrients.
General diet tips
- Eat an abundance of fruit and vegetables
- Cut out processed food from your diet and aim to eat as much home cooked food as possible
- Eat fresh
- Aim for variety
- Aim for a colourful diet
- Avoid margarine
- Learn where your food comes from and which foods to buy organic
- Avoid sugar
- Avoid low fat options
- Drink plenty of water
- Take fish oils (Omega 3)
- Take a good probiotic
The calorie in, calorie out approach is tragically flawed.
A 100-calorie apple is not the same as a 100-calorie snack bar. Calories don’t take into account the nutrient quality or the metabolic function of foods. The apple alkalizes, cleanses and nourishes with multiple nutrients. The snack bar contains enriched flour, refined sugar, hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and other additives but very few nutrients. In fact, it robs the body of nutrients as it tries to digest it, creates acidity and leaves your feeling hungry an hour later.
All three macro nutrients should be included at each meal.
- They should be as unrefined and unprocessed as possible, with a low glycaemic load.
- Avoid foods made from wheat flour and sugar – especially bread and most packaged snack food (including crisps)
- Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruit.
- Eat more beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains.
- Eat more grains such as brown rice and quinoa – whole wheat products have roughly the same glycaemic index as white flour products.
- Only eat pasta (made from wheat) in moderation
- Abolish trans fats from your diet – they cause chronic, long lasting inflammation. They interfere with the body’s ability to process the good omega 3 fatty acids that help lower inflammation.
- Don’t be scared of fat – you need it.
Good fats include:
- Nuts (and nut butters)
- Fish and lean meat.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
Healthy fats increase the liver’s ability to burn fat more effectively and create permeable cell membranes (so the good stuff can get in)
- Choose lean meats, preferably grass fed
- Dairy – whole fat
- Vegetable protein – beans
Vital for repair, recovery and maintaining and creating lean muscle tissue.
- Aim for 40g a day
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains
- Eat red, blue and purple berries as these are rich in antioxidants.
- Antioxidants from berries decrease inflammation and help to abolish free radicals and inhibit the production of enzymes that cause the pain/irritation associated with gout/arthritis.
- Eat from the cruciferous family regularly – Broccoli, cauliflower, kale
- Drink tea instead of coffee – white, green, oolong
- Alcohol – chose red wine
- Treats – dark chocolate in moderation
We’ll tackle lack of sleep and lack of exercise in another post!