Inflammation is an important part of the body’s natural immune response and can be beneficial in protecting tissues, improving blood flow and supporting wound healing.
Though when inflammation persists it can then become chronic.
Inflammation can take many forms:
Arthritis and joint pain
Abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome
Headaches and migraines
Neuralgia and nerve pain
One of the best ways to help fight inflammation is with your diet.
The ant inflammatory diet aims to increase antioxidant levels and dietary fibre, whilst minimizing or eliminating refined and processed foods.
The purpose of the Anti-inflammatory diet is to:
choose foods that may help reduce inflammation.
minimize foods that may encourage an inflammatory environment.
support optimal digestion.
A traditional western style diet that includes artificial ingredients such as preservatives, additives, artificial and refined sugars can cause inflammation in the body.
While many anti-inflammatory diets are influenced by aspects of the Mediterranean diet which is predominantly rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and healthy sources of fats such as fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables
Choosing fresh, seasonal, and organic (where possible).
Including a variety of different types and colours helps boost antioxidant status and fibre, necessary for a healthy microbiome (good gut bugs).
Vegetables: dark green leafy vegetables, cabbage, garlic, onion, carrot, pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli, and sweet potato.
Fruits: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, cranberries, kiwi fruit, garlic, pineapple.
Inflammatory fruits and vegetables include processed varieties.
tinned vegetables, soups, potato chips and vegetable oils.
Processed foods are higher in salt, sugar, preservatives and can be high in calories and low in nutrients.
Herbs and spices
Include garlic, turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, thyme, cloves, cayenne, cacao.
Choosing the right fats
Increase consumption of long chain omega-3 fatty acids with chia seeds, flax seeds and fatty fish and monounsaturated fatty acids with avocado and olive oil.
Avoid: trans and saturated fatty acids from fried foods or deli meats, refined vegetable oils or products that contain vegetable oils such as mayonnaise and margarine.
Flour and grains
Enjoy oats, rye, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice.
Avoid: refined flours and grains including white rice and flour products.
Aim for 2 serves fatty fish per week (wild caught salmon and trout, sardines and mackerel).
eat large fish in moderation due to potential heavy metal contamination.
Reduce red meat intake and choose lean cuts of meat (trim off visible fat including chicken skin); avoid charred or BBQ meat.
Avoid processed meats.
Legumes and beans
These are a pivotal component of the Mediterranean diet due to their beneficial effect on inflammation, blood cholesterol levels, blood sugar regulation and gastrointestinal health.
adzuki beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, soy beans (including fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, tofu, edamame) and lentils.
Nuts and seeds
Include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts.
Roasted and flavoured nuts can contain preservatives and can be high in sugar.
Avoid: seed oils high in omega 6 such as rapeseed oil, corn oil and peanuts.
Include eggs, coconut yoghurt, nut milks (unsweetened).
Avoid: cow and sheep milks and yoghurts.
The occasional small serve (1-2 pieces of dark chocolate) can be very beneficial.
Avoid: table sugar, lollies/sweets, soft drinks or anything containing high-fructose corn syrup and sauces that contain sugar.
It is important to keep your glycemic load low.
Some meal suggestions
2 egg omelette with baby spinach, mushrooms and garlic.
½ cup Wholegrain oats with almond milk, coconut yoghurt, berries and small handful of raw nuts and seeds (mixed almonds, walnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds).
2 homemade chickpea and broad bean vegetarian patties served with ½ cup of cooked brown rice and salad (rocket leaves, red onion, shredded purple cabbage and sliced avocado) with homemade tahini and olive oil dressing.
1 piece of salmon baked with a sprinkle of fresh dill, lemon juice and olive oil and served with ½ cup of sweet potato mash (infused with fresh garlic) and a side of steamed broccoli and green beans.
Small handful of natural nuts and seeds.
Drinks: 2L filtered water sipped over the course of the day, can be flavoured with lemon or lime slices.
Following a traditional Mediterranean style diet can be very beneficial in helping reduce inflammation. Think wholefoods with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and healthy sources of fats such as fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.