The basis of the anti-inflammatory diet
Silent inflammation is a key factor in the development of many chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, allergies, type two diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and many others.
Many factors can trigger silent inflammation, including obesity, insulin resistance, stress, environmental toxins, low antioxidants intake, free radical damage (resulting from radiation or smoking), chronic infections, imbalances of dietary fats and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
Since diet is considered to be a major contributor to silent inflammation, it is very important to follow the anti-inflammatory guidelines in order to reduce the inflammation in the body.
Foods to increase in your diet
- Foods rich in omega 3 fats, such as oily fish (SMASH: Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Salmon, Herring) and flaxseeds.
- Foods high in fibre. Aim to consume around 30 grams a day, which is easier to do when following a plant-based diet (consisting mainly of fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds).
- Include anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, such as Boswellia, turmeric (curcumin), ginger, cayenne, oregano and rosemary.
- Fruit and vegetables. Try to eat a rainbow and, ideally, seven portions a day.
Red: Apples, cranberries, cherries, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, red cabbage, radishes and red bell peppers.
Green: Broccoli, spinach, celery, green bell peppers, cucumber, leafy greens vegetables, avocado and kiwi.
Blue/purple: Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, figs, beetroot, plums and aubergines.
White: Cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, coconut, pears, turnips and Jerusalem artichokes.
Yellow/orange: Pineapple, apricots, oranges, lemons, carrots, mangoes, papayas, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Foods to avoid
- Foods high in arachidonic acid, especially red meat and dairy products.
- Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, bagels, muffins, pasta, breakfast cereals. The aim is to balance blood sugar and avoid rapid raises and drops in insulin levels. Choosing foods with a low glycaemic load (GL) is an excellent way to do it.
- Avoid sources of toxic metals (limit your intake of tuna, marlin or shark), artificial food additives (they could be found in virtually every processed food there is on the market) and also trans fats (margarine, biscuits, chips, crisps and crackers etc.).