As inflammation is believed to be the cause of many of our most common lifestyle diseases, the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle has grown in popularity. The anti-inflammatory diet is based on strengthening and caring for the gut flora by ensuring that the gut bacteria are supplied with sufficient and adequate food. For those who want to live a more anti-inflammatory lifestyle, here are our five best dietary tips:
1. Limit sugar and sugar-like foods as they contribute to increased blood sugar, which in turn can cause inflammation. Avoid soda, candy, bread, pasta, boiled rice and hot root vegetables (eat the root vegetables cold instead as the sugar then transforms back into fibre through a process called re-crystallization).
2. Avoid, as far as possible, inflammatory proteins such as casein (dairy), gluten (wheat, rye and grains) and zein (corn).
3. Let most of your diet consist of fresh raw (frozen is also good) vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Also, eat foods rich in antioxidants, plant protein and plant fibers such as gluten-free grains (amaranth, durra and teff), quinoa, seeds, beans, lentils and nuts. Season the food with anti-inflammatory spices such as cloves, turmeric and pepper.
4. Lower the heat when cooking, as toxic and inflammatory substances such as acrylamide can be formed when cooking at high temperatures. Try never to heat the food over 120-130 degrees celsius.
5. Limit the intake of long-chain fatty acids that cause inflammation – such as animal fats from pig and cow, as well as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oil. Use fats with shorter chain lengths like coconut and avocado instead.
6. Bonus tip! For those who want to boost their health – supplement the diet with vitamin D, omega 3, turmeric and lactic acid bacteria.