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Foods that cause and fight inflammation

Jun 18, 2018
Ashley Ann Lawrie

After reading last week’s blog you may have already tried a few of our tips to reduce bloating. Whether it was slowing down while eating, or avoiding certain foods, if you have been consistent you may have already started to feel a difference!

For some of you, though, this may not be the case. Despite your best efforts that all-over puffy-ness just will not go away. Don’t let that discourage you. We live in an age of information, and so we have put in the research to help you un-puff and really start to see the results of your hard work!

What Is Causing the Puff?

Our bodies are never trying to do anything to hurt us and the puffy-ness we experience is another great example of this. Chronic low-grade inflammation is a response by the body that is actually there to protect us.

Under normal conditions inflammation is a process in the body that is localised and brought on by injury or infection. The body sends more blood, specializes cells, and other chemicals to begin the process of eliminating toxins, infections, or anything else that takes us away from homeostasis. The influx of chemicals and blood in the localised area can make that area look puffy, or inflamed.

So how does localised inflammation for things like sprained ankles, or broken wrists translate to inflamed midlines when there hasn’t been an injury?

Think of low-grade inflammation as your body’s guard dog. It isn’t always on attack mode, but it is constantly monitoring body, ready to strike when things get really bad. Our body calls on the guard dog (low-grade inflammation) in response to a number of chronic health conditions. Metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and non-alchoholic fatty-liver disease are a few of the most common reasons that low-grade inflammation is present in the body.

What Can You Do About It

For the above mentioned chronic health conditions there are 4 major risk factors that you can control:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Smoking

If you want to avoid unnecessary inflammation in the body and lower your risk of developing a disease or condition mentioned earlier, then you can reduce your sedentary behaviour by getting active (maybe by seeing one of our amazing trainers?!), develop strategies to manage your stress (like working out at an FFF gym?!), avoid smoking, and the last one, and our focus for the rest of the blog, you can change your diet!

Foods That Cause Inflammation

Fight inflammation begins by limiting foods that cause inflammation in the body. The following foods should be consumed in small quantities to reduce unnecessary inflammation in the body:

  • Sugars: High levels of glucose in the blood lowers our bod’s germ-killing abilities, and increases the cytokine levels in the body. Cytokines are cells in the body that help with the inflammatory response in the body.
  • Omega-6-rich Oils: Certain vegetable oils have a much higher concentration of inflammation-causing omega-6 oils than others. Soy, palm, and sunflower are just a few examples that can make your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio up to 20:1, when it should be 1:1!
  • Refined Grains: When grains are stripped of all of their fibers and nutrients that slow down the digestion process all they are left with are high concentrations of glucose and easy-to-digest carbohydrates. This fast digestion causes an insulin spike in the body which has been cited as a cause of inflammation.
  • Dairy: Last week we mentioned that certain allergens can cause bloating in the body. Well, dairy is a very common allergen and can therefore cause inflammation in the body as well. Although a small portion of full fat, plain, probiotic yogurt can be helpful in reducing inflammation by supporting our gut microbiome, foods like cheeses, and milk products have been shown to increase the inflammatory response in the body.

Grain-Fed Meats: Grains were not a part of the diet that helped animals like chickens, cows, and pigs evolve. In the large-scale farming operations that are now very common, farmers have to give the animals antibiotics to help them stay healthy on this unnatural diet. The meat in those animals absorbs the antibiotics and this can lead to inflammation in the individuals who eat that meat. Does that mean giving up meat altogether? No – you just have to do a little research to find the grass-fed, free range animals. Thankfully there has been a rise in popularity of these kinds of farming practices so you can find many grass-fed meat products at the local farmer’s markets around the city.

Foods that Fight Inflammation

Now for the good stuff; the foods that can actually help to fight the inflammation response and get rid of that puffy-ness!

  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Fatty-fish
  • Olive Oil
  • Some Herbs and Spices

As a final note, we always like to remind you that moderation is key. We have listed here food that is both good and bad for inflammation. If you limit your consumption of the “bad” you should be able to control unnecessary inflammation. Consuming more of the “good” will also help reduce inflammation. Extreme avoidance, or over-consumption are not the goal here, just take this as another tool in your healthy-lifestyle toolkit.

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