We already know food is FUEL for our body, but it has the ability to heal our bodies as well. Fighting inflammation with food is quickly becoming a major health priority — with good reason! Inflammation is linked to everything from bloating + acne to life-threatening illnesses. We have the power to regulate our immune system + impact the way inflammation affects our bodies just by being mindful of the foods we’re consuming, which is why Well+Good has named the *anti-inflammatory diet* one of the top wellness trends of 2017. If you’ve been wondering about all this turmeric on your news feed [what are these golden mylk lattes?!], here’s the low-down on anti-inflammation —
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Our bodies can do all sorts of amazing things, including protect itself. That’s what inflammation is — the body’s healing response + it’s a necessary bodily function. The acute inflammation [the redness, heat, swelling, + pain] around injuries is what we are familiar with. It’s chronic inflammation, when the immune system overextends itself, that serves no purpose than to damage our body + cause illness. Chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases [obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, cancer] + can be caused by stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, + exposure to toxins.
Red meats + anything with trans-fat or lots of sugar are inflammation-inducing. This means that some of our favorite foods [think pizza, cheese, pasta, fruit juices, + snack foods], which are high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sugar, + refined carbs, cause inflammation in the body. Over time, this inflammation can lead to chronic diseases.
What you eat can have an effect on systemic inflammation in your body. There’s not a strict *anti-inflammatory diet.* This isn’t a weight-loss diet or *eating plan* to be on for any certain amount of time — the idea is to be mindful of your selection + preparation of anti-inflammatory foods with the knowledge of how they can help your body optimize overall health.
“Following an anti-inflammatory diet can assist with preventing and//or treating conditions such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bowel disease, + mental health conditions, among others,” says Chloe McLeod, accredited practicing dietician. There are added benefits of the diet in addition to reducing inflammation, including making weight loss easier + preventing disease!
WHAT TO EAT
This *healing diet* follows ancient Mediterranean + Asian diets, which consist of antioxidants foods + minerals [fresh fruits + veggies], omega-3 foods [essential healthy fatty acids], + foods rich in fiber to reduce inflammation in the body. This means eating fresh fruits, vegetables, wild meats, + sprouted seeds. Eat more broccoli + blueberries!
Tips: aim for variety, fresh produce [lots of fruits + veggies] + minimize consumption of processed foods + fast foods.
>> Carbohydrates — think less-refined + less-processed. Try whole grains [brown rice, barley, quinoa], more beans, squash, + potatoes.
>> Fats — unsaturated fats + omega-3 fatty acids [fish, olive oil, eggs, hemp//flax seeds]
>> Protein — less animal protein, more fish, cheese yogurt, + beans!
>> Fiber — aim for 40 grams each day.
>> Vitamins + Minerals — fresh, whole foods + abundance of fruits + veggies + antioxidants
>> Water — pure water, sparkling water, juice, tea [white, green, + oolong]
>> Spices — turmeric + ginger are major anti-inflammatory agents. Spice up meals, toss into a smoothie, or even infuse into tea! Try the golden milk latte, a perfect caffeine-free drink before bed.
>> Natural Sweeteners [raw honey, stevia, raw coconut nectar, coconut sugar, + pure maple syrup]
>> Snacks — raw nuts + dark chocolate [70% or higher of cocoa]
>> Anti-Inflammatory Eating by Chloe McLeod
>> The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: the delicious ways to reduce inflammation + stay healthy by Amanda Haas + Dr. Bradley Jacobs
Stay healthy + avoid inflammation, ladies! We’d love to see which anti-inflammatory foods you’re excited to try out. Share pics with us on Insta using #CHAARGeats!
++ Cassie [@cassiem_inchaarg] // Belmont University