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Anti-inflammatory eating - How to reduce your bodies inflammation

When you hear the term inflammation what do you think of?

Well, I'm assuming you don’t think of good things. Pain, infection, swelling or injury may come to mind. But is this correct?

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the body’s defence mechanism, helping protect you by fighting infections and injuries and initiating the healing process. Inflammation is a good thing and is required for the body to function correctly however, if inflammation lasts too long (chronic inflammation) it can damage healthy tissues and lead to disease.

Disease is a broad term so you’re probably wondering which diseases are associated with unhealthy inflammation.

The simple answer is all of them.

Diseases such as inflammatory bowel, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune, obesity, arthrosclerosis and chronic inflammatory diseases are just a few of the many diseases associated with inflammation.

So, how do you prevent yourself from getting chronic inflammation to prevent these diseases from occurring?

Two words. Diet + lifestyle.

Top tips for an anti-inflammatory diet

1. Pay attention to proteins.

Focus on protein which comes from plant-based sources as these are associated with reducing the inflammatory burden. Not only does plant-protein help inflammation but it also provides fibre and antioxidants which promotes overall good health.

Sources include: seeds, beans, nuts, soya products

2. Eat a colourful well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals which helps improve immune function and therefore help reduce inflammation.

Which fruit and vegetables should be eaten?

  • Vitamin K vegetables such as spinach and kale

  • Purple fruit and red and blue berries contain anthocyanins which is an anti-inflammatory compound (cherries, raspberries, blueberries and plums)

  • Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (contains phytochemicals)

3. Increase omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA or EPA which are found in fish oil are known to reduce inflammation

Sources include: Sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna and all other oily fish

These should be consumed 2-3 times per week to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits. If you struggle to consume this quantity of oily fish, you should possibly consider supplementing your diet with a high-quality fish oil (3-5g daily.)

4.Include tea and several spices

Not only are spices used to make food taste better but they can be used medicinally. They contain powerful plant compounds (phytochemicals) that can help prevent oxidative damage and reduce inflammation.

Sources include: Green tea, turmeric, ginger, paprika, cinnamon and cloves

5.Eat more fibre.

To put it simply, eating more fibre can reduce inflammation by lowering body weight. Fibre helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and helps regulate blood sugar levels, keeping you fuller for longer. The fuller you feel, the less you eat and the lower your body weight is.

A high fibre diet also lowers inflammation by modifying both the pH and the permeability of the gut. In simplest terms, high fibre foods feed beneficial bacteria living in the gut which then releases substances which lowers inflammation.

Sources include: fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, (phytochemicals) , nuts and seeds

What foods may cause inflammation?

There are certain foods which should be avoided to reduce inflammation, so what are they?

  • Trans-fat containing foods- margarines, deep fried foods, processed foods

  • Refined seed vegetable oils- soyabean, corn and sunflower oil

  • Foods high in saturated fat- meat products, butter, creams, cheeses , pastry's

  • Full fat and non-fermented dairy- butter, cheese, milk

  • Red meat and processed meat- bacon, sausages

  • Sugary beverages- fizzy drinks and energy drinks

We have talked about diet but what about how lifestyle affects inflammation?

Here are the top 4 tips on how to reduce inflammation through lifestyle!

1. Be active

At least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This can be fit in to your lifestyle however you fancy. Whether that be 5 x 30-minute sessions where you go for a quick, brisk walk or 2 x 75 minute sessions where you decide to go for 2 long cycles on your days off from work. Whatever suits YOU best!

2. Get enough sleep

This means not only getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night but that the sleep you get is restful to ensure your body is able to function to the best of its ability.

3. Manage stress

This includes physical, mental and emotional stress. This may be easier said than done as we can all be stressed from time to time but its important to keep this in mind.

4. Manage weight

An increase in weight means an increase in inflammation. Obesity triggers inflammation with visceral obesity being most concerning as the fat inside the abdomen (belly) secrete molecules which increase inflammation. If you feel as though you have tried everything and your bodies inflammation is not reducing, our expert registered dietitian team and personal trainers at Nutrition and Co will be there to guide you to reducing your lifestyles inflammatory sources by looking at YOUR root cause.


Book a free discovery call today to find out more.

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