Managing inflammation through diet
For those of you who are living with conditions characterised by constant inflammation and pain – such as fibromyalgia and arthritis – you will know how difficult it can be to lead a normal, healthy life.
While inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing process – helping to ensure appropriate nourishment and immune activity is delivered to an area that is injured or under attack – it can also be very destructive to overall health.
Chronic inflammation can be incredibly debilitating, and research suggests it leads to complex chemical reactions in the body, which causes the immune system to start functioning abnormally. Over time, this can lead to organ damage.
Evidence shows one of the simplest causes of inflammation is an ‘inflammatory lifestyle’, which specifically includes poor diet. Therefore, eating an anti-inflammatory diet could be key to feeling better.
Below we outline what foods to avoid and ones to eat to help reduce inflammation:
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates – These include many brands of breakfast cereals, bread, pasta and muesli bars as well as sugary cakes and drinks, which can all flare up inflammation. This is because the refining process eliminates fibre and vitamin B – key nutrients for soothing inflammation.
- Trans fats from hydrogenated oils and margarine – Eating a diet high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3 fatty acids is an unhealthy balance which can lead to an increase in cytokines. These are proteins released in the cells which trigger inflammation.
- Saturated fats – Evidence suggests saturated fats found mainly in full-fat dairy products are connected to fat tissue inflammation.
Clean and unprocessed foods will supply your body with adequate vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients to help increase your body’s defence against chronic inflammation.
- Wholegrains – Brown rice, wholemeal pasta and bread contain fibre and B vitamins.
- Oily fish – Consumption of sardines, salmon and herring will provide high levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Spices – Ginger and turmeric are scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, and ginger can also help to reduce pain associated with anti-inflammatory diseases.
- Tart cherries – These contain a very high dose of anti-inflammatory compounds.