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Chronic Inflammation: The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guide to Keeping It at Bay

"An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases."- This is a quote from EMBO Reports, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal.
 
A poor diet is just one of several ways to trigger chronic inflammation in the body. This is important because it could also be playing a role in causing your inflammation right now - evidence suggests it is involved in many common diseases. 
 
This guide hopes to inform you about how food can trigger or calm inflammation, so you can navigate this confusing space. I hope this guide is simple and you find it easier to start including more anti-inflammatory foods each week. 
 
Inflammation-Causing Foods: Reduce Consumptionof these Foods as Much as Possible
 
Before we cover the foods that can help prevent chronic inflammation, it is important to get to know the common culprits that can trigger chronic inflammation in the body, especially if eaten regularly:
  • Ultra-Processed Foods - Most foods we buy have been processed to some degree - unprocessed or minimally processed is better for health. However, it is the ultra-processed kind that poses the most risk as they have been stripped of most nutrients and have ingredients added that you would not typically find in a home kitchen. Common foods in this category include; industrialised made bread, pre-packaged meals,breakfast cereals, sausages and other reconstituted meat products, cakes, biscuits, pastries, tinned baked beans, tinned soup and meat alternatives.
  • Fast food & Takeaways - Most of the food sold in fast-food places and available as a takeaway is processed or ultra-processed. Also, when cooking, most foods are cooked in unhealthy fats or oil, which are also inflammatory.
  • Artificial & Added Sugars- These are also ultra-processed ingredients that appear in a lot of ultra-processed foods, with little to no nutritional value.
  • Refined Vegetable Oils - Including corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean and canola.
  • Alcohol - It is a toxin that can damage cellular tissue and organs and can cause widespread inflammation, including in the gut, liver, face, joints and brain. 
  • Dairy - Not everyone is affected by dairy but for some, it can cause inflammation. It is best to listen to your body to find out if this food causes inflammation or not for you.
  • Refined Carbohydrates - These include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many processed breakfast cereals.


Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Include These Daily
 
Here is a handy guide to the foods to include to make your diet more anti-inflammatory. Even if you do not make all the changes right away, slowlyincorporating some of the suggestions below can go a long way in helping to make the inflammation levels lower in your body and will increase your nutritional status positively:


  • Fresh Fruit & Vegetables - Minimally processed and a variety of types and colours each week - including dark, leafy green and cruciferous vegetables anddeep-coloured berries. All are great options as they are rich in antioxidants, which could help prevent unwanted inflammatory responses in the first place.
  • Healthy Fats - Olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil (when cooking, coconut oil and avocado oil are best).
  • Fatty Fish Rich in Omega 3 - Salmon, mackerel and trout are just some of the great options.
  • AVaried Mix of Nuts & Seeds - Especially walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts.
  • Spices & Herbs - Turmeric, ginger, garlic, black pepper and rosemary are great options. 
 
Cooking Methods that Increase Inflammation
The best cooking methods for keeping inflammation low are those that are gentle and keep as many nutrients intact as possible.
Cooking methods that may increase levels of inflammation include:
  • Microwaving
  • Frying
  • Grilling or barbecuing
  • Broiling or roasting in hot oil

 

Cooking Methods that Do Not Cause Inflammation

 

This is not to say you can never use the above methods; just doing so occasionally would be better.
Cooking methods that could help keep inflammation levels low:
  • Grilling (a great option for fish and vegetable skewers as they can be cooked quickly, so they do not need to be exposed to high damaging heat for too long)
  • Stir-frying
  • Steaming
  • Poaching (especially ideal for cooking meat that takes a bit longer than fish, for example, and avoids the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA), which can contribute to inflammation and other changes in the body).
  • Baking is also an okay cooking method - but try to keep temperatures low and avoid using too much oil.

 

Swaps To Help You Get Started
 
Here are some inflammatory food swap suggestions to further helpyou start including anti-inflammatory foods more often:
 
  • Swap #1: Vegetable cooking oils > for extra virgin coconut or avocado oil
  • Swap #2: Can of soda > for herbal tea
  • Swap #3: Sweets > for mixed berries
  • Swap #4: Fried chips > for oven-baked potato wedges
  • Swap #5: Sugary, processed breakfast cereal > for homemade granola or porridge


Do you struggle with chronic pain? If so, please email me because it could be caused by chronic inflammation. I help people become independently healthy again by using naturopathic nutrition, herbal medicine and other complementary modalities. Please drop me an email with any queries you have about my consultations or today's newsletter, as I love to get feedback to: john@johnway.je

Amy MorrisEditor