The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Posted on June 11, 2011 by nichole There have been 0 comments

Feel swollen? Belly bloated? Have a headache? This could be from inflammation and it could be coming from the foods you eat. Typically we learn to live with symptoms like this and hope that they will be gone tomorrow. Think this is quality living? Nope. You can actually do something about it naturally.

There are two types of inflammation: silent and classic.

We have all seen or felt classic inflammation. If you are like me, Clutzy Cathy, then you know what it's like to trip over the sidewalk crack, fall and bang your knee like a 5 year-old child. The redness, bruising and swelling is the body's first response to help the injury heal. This is classic inflammation.

Silent inflammation can be even more dangerous because we do not necessarily feel the inflammation like an acute injury. Silent inflammation makes it possible for us to walk around for years tolerating little nuances while we are severely damaging the inside of our bodies. The symptoms of silent inflammation may be obvious: water-retention, achy joints or headaches. But there could also be non-obvious symptoms such insulin-resistance or cardiovascular disease which we may not know until it's too late.

THE CARB DILEMMA

Eat good carbs, don't eat carbs at all...there are way too many opinions on this, leaving everyone confused. One thing we do know is that when insulin levels (a hormone released when we eat carbs) are too high, it may lead to inflammation. The trick is two-fold: eat carbs in moderation and choose healthy whole grain carbs. We all know this feeling: you have no time to eat in the morning, therefore you grab a bagel (and leave the cream cheese off to save calories and fat) and two hours later you are craving more carbs. This is because your insulin levels rose when you ate the bagel, fell quickly afterwards and now you're body is craving more carbohydrate, creating that viscious  'gotta have more carbs!' cycle. The key is to eat moderate amounts of whole grains to keep insulin levels at bay, and include some lean protein and a little healthy fat with each meal.

Other natural tips to ward off inflammation:

  • Eat lots of organic fruits and veggies
  • Eliminate or minimize inflammation-causing trans fats
  • Eat moderate amounts of whole grains like quinoa, brown rice. steel-cut oatmeal and whole grain breads
  • Minimize processed foods
  • Minimize refined sugar
  • Use anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, ginger and curry
  • Eat healthy protein with every meal like beans, nuts, seeds and fish
  • Drink green tea
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Stay active (walk, do yoga, ride a bike, dance...)
  • Breathe! Breathing=relaxation=release of good hormones=decreased inflammation

Check out this fantastic Anti-Inflammation Food Pyramid by Harvard-trained and preventive medicine physician, Dr. Andrew Weil and his yummy anti-inflammatory recipe.


This post was posted in SELF Magazine

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