Food is a powerful way to help lessen inflammation in your body.
Think of foods as having either a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies. How do you know what side a food is on?
Most whole foods are our anti-inflammatory heroes and most refined foods are pro-inflammatory instigators. That is a good start.
The trick to this is finding out which foods (even whole ones) may cause you to feel less than optimal. A food log can be critical for helping with this, and I will get into how to create and use a food log in the coming weeks. For now, using the general groups of foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory for most people will be the focus here.
So, in general, here are some key considerations to help your own personal anti-inflammatory food decisions with your daily meals and snacks.
Add in more of these foods!
First, do not worry about removing foods yet. Just focus on adding in more whole foods. Focus on increasing healthy fats and anti-oxidants for now as this allows you to just add to what you are already doing to keep things simple.
Aim for more anti-inflammatory fats where you can switch out refined fats for these rockstar fat sources:
Cold water fish and fish oils
Extra virgin olive oil
Organic/grass fed butter
Nuts and seeds - mostly raw, less roasted/refined
Pasture raised eggs
**Avoid pro-inflammatory fats like oils from refined vegetable oils and oils used in deep frying as well as deep fried foods.
Increase antioxidant intake through food. Aim for 8+ cups of vegetables and fruit a day, raw as well as cooked. How? Here are some easy ways:
Find veggies and fruits that are easy for you to consume and that you enjoy.
Even if it means buying fruits and veggies already washed and chopped or bagged salads - those are still great options!
Choose fresh or frozen over canned. A handful of frozen blueberries or raspberries in your granola, yogurt, oatmeal, etc, is a bonus of anti-inflammatory benefits. Berries are a huge anti-inflammatory food and they will naturally sweeten foods without the same impact of refined sugar on your blood sugars which we get into more of below.
Aim for a rainbow of colour as each colour has a different variety of anti-oxidants.
Use herbs and spices as there is lots of healthy benefits in even small amounts of herbs and spices and these make meals taste incredible!
Anti-inflammatory spices include oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, turmeric, paprika, cumin, ginger, pepper, and cinnamon, as well as the big guns - onions and garlic! Add those to everything you can!
Balance your Blood Sugar
Pay attention to drops blood sugar which can cause feelings such as foggy brain, dizziness, shaky, irritable or headaches. Aim to eat before you ‘hit the wall’, and avoid those foods or meals that caused your blood sugar to spike and drop.
Have healthy whole foods which include a balance of protein and fats as well as fibre to help balance out sugars. A spike in blood sugar from a sugary drink or refined snack like a pastry, chocolate bar, etc, will cause a big drop in blood sugar which sparks a need for another quick fix of sugar again. It’s a rebound effect and it is very much is a caused of inflammation.
The end result?
In summary, add in more whole foods to your daily meals and snacks such as adding in a half cup of berries, so there is less room for refined foods each day. This one small change donates to your anti-inflammatory army which reduces the pro-inflammatory processes should result where you end up with less pain and more mobility and energy. Win!
Quality Greens has an incredible variety of veggies and fruits to help make finding whole foods shopping very simple and affordable.
Have a great week!