“Inflammation is at the root of most diseases.”
It’s long been said that inflammation is at the root of most diseases and it was Hippocrates that said all disease begins in the gut.
This is because when damaged cells, pathogens or irritants affect a part of our body, our body's hormonal response is inflammation which begins to remove harmful particles from the area and starts the healing process.
To understand what inflammation really is and the many ways it affects your body and overall health, have a read of my blog post, 'How is inflammation affecting your whole body health?'
Whether you have common symptoms of inflammation or not, everyone can benefit from supporting their body and consuming more anti-inflammatory foods.
6 Ways to Fight Inflammation Naturally
1. Remove foods that are commonly linked to intolerance
Intolerance is always a tricky conversation to start as there are varying degrees of intolerance. Tests available for Celiac Disease are very unreliable and test only a fraction of inflammatory markers to a fraction of the proteins found in wheat. In addition, going 'gluten-free' or 'dairy-free,' has become associated with trendy fad diets.
So, what's actually going on?
For 70% of fair-skinned people, grains - especially gluten-containing grains - can drive problems affecting everything from digestion, mood, skin disorders like rashes and eczema, to joint pain, weight gain, migraines and thyroid disorders. Most adults do not tolerate dairy and it can drive such as headaches, skin breakouts, bloating, congestion and asthma.
What to do?
Proteins that cause inflammation in your body will stay in your bloodstream for up to 21 days. At the BePure Clinics, we use a gold standard test for assessing intolerance is called the IGG/IGA to measure this. Another way you can do this at home is to perform an elimination diet. This involves the removal of all gluten-containing grains for a period of at least 30 days, before reintroducing gluten to see how your body reacts to it. Once you have done this with gluten, try it with dairy. It’s important to only test one thing at a time to fully see the effect.
2. Add foods to your diet that are anti-inflammatory
While there are many foods that can trigger inflammation within the body there are also many that work to calm it. Turmeric contains curcumin which is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to inhibit the estrogenic effects of pesticides and environmental chemicals. Antioxidants, like berries and fresh leafy greens, help to fight free radicals within the body and vitamins B12, folate, C, D all help the body to reduce inflammation.
What to do?
Add fresh leafy greens to each meal of the day, we love adding a good handful into our morning smoothie. Drink green tea and a variety of fresh berries in warmer months and frozen during winter. I recommend everyone take a good quality multivitamin, like BePure One, to ensure they are getting the right levels of essential nutrients and antioxidants in their diet.
3. Balance your ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids
Both inflammatory omega-6 and anti-inflammatory omega-3 are essential fatty acids our body needs for optimal health. Ideally, our body needs a balanced ratio of 1:1, however, due to our exposure of highly processed fats and our consumption of grain-fed animal products, we are getting a much higher proportion of omega-6 fatty acids. This excess of omega-6 in our body has an overall pro-inflammatory effect on our body.
What to do?
Replace highly processed oils, such as vegetable oils, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, margarine, with omega-3 rich substitutes like avocado and olive oil. When possible, buy grass-fed animal products and I’d also recommended supporting your diet with a high-quality, sustainably sourced fish oil such as BePure Three.
4. Avoid inflammatory foods
Consuming refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine on the regular, can have a negative impact on our blood sugar levels, hormones and stress levels. These three key staples of our modern-day diet all spike our blood sugar levels and cause our body to produce insulin. Excess insulin causes inflammation and activates the proinflammatory cytokines.
What to do?
Try switching your daily coffee for decaf, turmeric latte, spiced chai or green tea. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach or while eating and try limiting your consumption to no more than four coffees a week. Refined sugar is tricky to avoid in processed food, so as much as possible, move towards a whole food, natural diet and steer clear of anything that comes in a packet.
5. Stabilise your blood sugar levels
We all know what it’s like to feel like we are on a blood sugar rollercoaster. You feel ravenous one, two or three hours after eating a substantial meal and need to get food quickly. So you grab the nearest thing you can find; often sugar or refined carbohydrates. Immediately your energy picks up again and you’re fine for another one, two or three hours until the cycle repeats itself.
At the core of the BePure eating philosophy is eating the right diet for your unique body. We know there are foods that are more nourishing than others and that some people thrive on a protein or fat-rich diet, while others function optimally with a large amount of high-quality complex carbohydrates. We call this eating for your macronutrient profile.
What you can do?
If you don’t know what your profile type is you can take the BePure Macronutrient Profile Questionnaire. Once you know the best proportions of carbs, fats and proteins for you, you can start eating right for you with the BePure Food Pyramids and start controlling your blood sugar levels.
6. Stay hydrated
Our body is made up of 60% water, so making sure that you are hydrated and getting optimal amounts of water is essential for feeling good and maintaining optimal health and energy.
Water also transports nutrients throughout the body, protecting our joints and reducing inflammation.
As we move into summer and the weather gets warmer it’s even more important to focus on hydration. Warmer weather places demand on our natural detoxification pathways due to increased body temperature and sweating. We are also often more active outdoors in summer, meaning we need to replace any water lost due to physical activity.
What can you do?
It is important to drink the right amount of water for you according to your weight. To work this out the formula is:
0.033 litres per kg of body weight, which roughly equates to the following amounts:
- 60 kg = 2 litres
- 75 kg = 2.5 litres
- 90 kg= 3 litres
- 105 kg = 3.5 litres
Only water and caffeine-free herbal teas count towards your water intake. Tea and coffee does not count and can actually increase dehydration. If you drink one coffee it takes two glasses of water to break even as far as hydration goes.
We know there a lot you can do to support your inflammation, but trying to do it all can be overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is to be mindful of your wellness habits this summer. Perhaps focus on 2 or 3 things on this list, and naturally, the others will follow.