If you have read anything I’ve written, you will probably know that I am not an advocate of any ‘diet’ in particular, largely because I believe that restricting food groups can often put us at more risk than leaving them in.
However, adhering to a diet that is predominantly ‘anti-inflammatory’ is certainly something I would encourage everyone to do as much as they can, principally because doing so has powerful benefits on our health. Though it may not have occurred to you before, inflammation is an underlying factor in almost all health issues and diseases – from problem skin, PCOS, allergies, polyps, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, IBS and injuries; to cardiovascular issues and even cancer and Alzheimer’s.
What is inflammation?
Though it has negative connotations, in fact inflammatory reactions are completely natural and incredibly important for the body – they protect us from infections, repair wounds and heal broken bones. These should be balanced closely with anti-inflammatory reactions, which prevent inflammation from spiralling out of control. The problem starts when we have too much inflammation in the body and sadly, typical modern lifestyles (which entail stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol and an abundance of the wrong kind of foods) promotes these reactions, leading to a number of health issues.
The benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet
Since inflammatory/anti-inflammatory reactions occur throughout the body, there can be a multitude of benefits to primarily eating the right kinds of foods. Better digestion, improved immunity, reduced tendency for allergies and inflammation (in joints, muscles etc) more balanced hormones, fewer aches and pains, and stronger nails and hair are all commonly reported. Too much inflammation is also often at the heart of most skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives and rosacea so it is advisable to take this on board if trying to manage your skin.
Pro-inflammatory foods to watch out for:
Unsurprisingly, it is foods that are typically ‘bad for us’ that tend to promote inflammation so limit these where possible. I’m not saying never eat them, but they should certainly not form the majority of your diet!
Anti-inflammatory foods to increase:
All the good stuff tends to promote anti-inflammatory reactions in the body, whilst also protecting against the damage done by inflammation. Eat an abundance of these foods, and for those times when gorging on ribs and steak, aim to eat them alongside veggie side dishes to offset the impacts.
Supplements for reducing inflammation:
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!