Here’s some tips from our Nutrition Partner, Laura, about managing inflammation through food choices.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s natural response when faced with injury or damage.
It is also an essential tool we hold to promptly and effectively prevent infection, viruses, bacteria and a number of other stressors we are confronted by. If left undetected in our body, these could lead to uncontrolled, severe infection.
It could be in response to a simple skin infection, an infection in the digestive tract or a knee injury, whatever the cause it is flagging our body to let us know that something is not quite right and prompt attention is needed.
Our bodies release proteins in response to damage and these proteins alert cells of the immune system to come in and help.
Ideally, it should be a short lived process, lasting hours, days or weeks in the most severe cases. Unfortunately, we are currently seeing persistent, low grade inflammation lasting longer whilst we are becoming increasingly aware of the damage an imbalance may cause.
Varying small and seemingly insignificant stressors are creating subtle inflammation for increased periods of time and those can manifest in a number of symptoms.
These symptoms could be fatigue, sleep disturbances, brain fog, lack of mental clarity and pain. Whilst these may seem insignificant in isolation, they may further develop leaving us exposed to a broad number of conditions and health implications, like mood disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and even type 2 diabetes.
Some factors that may contribute to the above mentioned conditions could include:
– Excess sugar consumption,
– Lack of sleep,
– Low fibre diet,
– Antibiotic overuse,
– Nutrient deficiencies including omega 3, vitamin d and other micronutrients.
– Prolonged periods of inactivity.
It’s not all doom and gloom though.. The good news is that these imbalances I have been talking about can be rebalanced when we are able to stop the triggers in the first place!!
By making some simple changes in how we live and the foods we eat, we can create some really positive impacts towards our health.
Here are a few things you can do in order to reduce or prevent inflammation:
– Try to get some good quality sleep and give yourself time to rest – this is when your body
heals the most.
– Keep that body moving!! Exercise regularly & try to make sure it is something that you
– Increase the fibre content in your diet.
– Get creative with your diet – eat a range of colourful foods & try to pick different meals each week.
– Spend more time out in nature where you can (This is one of my personal fave things to
– Try to replace unhealthy oils with some really good fats (Avocado’s are my fave here!!)
– Manage your stress, try some mindfulness practices.
There have been multiple studies showing that consuming a diet of refined carbohydrates and sugars, poor quality fats, large amounts of animal protein and processed foods being linked to greater levels of inflammation when measured in the blood.
BUT.. on the flip side of this, a diet high in fibre, increased plant foods, good quality fats from nuts and seeds, avocados and a reduced intake of animal protein have been linked to reduced measures of inflammation.
You may liken this way of eating to a mediteranean diet – similarly to some of the other antiinflammatory factors I mentioned; an array of fresh and brightly coloured foods.. even the different way of life where they may have more rest in their days and time outside!!
Another simple way to reduce inflammation is switching from consuming carbohydrates that have a fast release of sugar into the bloodstream to foods that have a higher fibre content; this way the release of sugar into the bloodstream is at a slower rate.. So think wholegrains, oats, brown rice, beans and legumes.
Turmeric has become increasingly popular recently for its health promoting benefits, you can even get your turmeric latte on the go now!!
But don’t stop there, by eating an assortment of spices and you will expose yourself to lots of micronutrients and phytochemicals; these will provide a host of antioxidants to potentially reduce inflammation.
Try cinnamon, cayenne, basil, ginger, cloves, garlic, coriander, cumin and mint.
If anything I have spoken about here interests you, maybe even applies to you and you would like to talk on it further.. please do get in touch, I would love to hear from you!!