Diets, detox fads and nutrition trends can be quite tempting no matter what your goals are, but restricting certain food groups can often put us at more risk than leaving them in. However, the one that most of us should pay attention to is adhering to a diet that is predominantly ‘anti-inflammatory’, principally because it's the one that can have the most powerful benefits on our health. Though it may not have occurred to you before, inflammation is an underlying factor in almost many health issues - from problem skin like acne, to allergies, arthritis, digestive and bloating issues and in some cases, cardiovascular issues.
Inflammation in the body
Though it has negative connotations, inflammatory reactions are totally natural and incredibly important for the body - they protect us from infections, repair wounds and heal broken bones. These are normally balanced closely with anti-inflammatory reactions, which prevent inflammation from spiralling out of control. The problem starts when we have too much inflammation in the body and sadly, typical modern lifestyles (here's looking at you, stress, insomnia and anxiety!) and an unhealthy diet can promote these reactions, leading to a number of undesirable health issues.
Benefits of anti-inflammatory diet
Since inflammatory/anti-inflammatory reactions occur throughout the body, there can be a multitude of benefits to primarily eating the right kinds of foods. Better digestion, improved immunity, reduced tendency for allergies and inflammation (in joints, muscles etc) more balanced hormones, fewer aches and pains, and stronger nails and hair are all commonly reported (1). Too much inflammation is also often at the heart of most skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives and rosacea so it is advisable to take this on board if trying to manage your skin.
Inflammatory foods to avoid
Unsurprisingly, it is foods that are typically ‘bad for us’ that tend to promote inflammation so try to limit these in your diet. Here is a list of foods that cause bloating and can increase inflammation in the body:
• Fatty cuts of meat - especially processed sausages, bacon and luncheon meats. Fatty red meat like pork belly, steak and lamb should be limited to 2 times per week and even less if you have an inflammatory condition.
• Takeaways, ready meals and convenience foods – especially when fried or processed.
• Deep fried anything.
• Processed crap that shouldn’t really be classified as real food – i.e. margarine.
• High-fat dairy – butter, cream, cheese.
• Processed gluten.
• All forms of refined, added sugars.
• Refined processed carbohydrates.
• Fizzy drinks.
Most powerful natural anti-inflammatory foods
All the foods listed below can promote anti-inflammatory reactions in the body, whilst also protecting against the damage done by inflammation. Try to include an abundance of these foods, and for those times when gorging on ribs and steak, aim to eat them alongside veggie side dishes to offset the impacts. Here is a list of foods that can help reduce inflammation in the body and help you with bloating:
• Anything that contains omega 3 (which truly lays the smack down on inflammatory reactions). Found in fresh oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies and sardines as well as hempseed, walnuts, acai, broccoli and kale.
• Raw nuts and seeds – almonds, Brazil Nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin, sunflower.
• Cold pressed oils – Extra virgin olive, coconut, hemp, avocado, walnut.
• Fresh veg of all kinds – the more colour the better.
• Fruits – especially darker colours such as blueberries, strawberries; as well as citrus – lemons, limes, grapefruit.
• Wholegrains and legumes – brown rice, quinoa and beans.
• Spices – turmeric (get fresh if you can), fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, nutmeg.
• Herbal teas – especially white and green.
Supplements to reduce inflammation in the body
Inflammation in the body can also be managed using the right supplements. Here are natural ways you can prevent inflammation in the long run:
• Superfoods (such as acai, spirulina, cacao, chlorella) – These natural, nutrient dense foods can all help reduce inflammation and protect the body from oxidative stress. Equi London have a range of targeted superfood blends that are uniquely combined with powerful probiotics, omegas, botanicals and herbs to combat a whole host of health problems.
• Omega-3 – Helpful to combat health issues, as well as a great general daily support for body and mind. Especially important if you don’t eat much fish.
• Turmeric – Therapeutic strength in an absorbable form which is great for skin, joints and auto immune conditions.
• Vitamin D – As well as supporting pretty much everything else, the sunshine vitamin plays a pivotal role in reducing inflammation and supporting immunity.
So if you feel like you've tried pretty much everything to manage your bloating and inflammation, look to these tips above and munch your way to a happy gut!
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1. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26400429