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How can anti-inflammatory nutrition improve your life?

We’ve heard so many times that nutrition is a powerful tool to improve your health and quality of life. However, we tend to forget that it can also work in the opposite direction! In the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to low energy, stress and increased inflammation, while over time this can lead to hormonal imbalance, poor period health, chronic inflammation and an array of other health conditions. Inflammation itself is not a bad thing!

In fact, it is a natural emergency defense mechanism that is activated when our body is trying to fight an infection or injury. The trick is that we cannot be in an “emergency” state forever. If our immune system continues to be on alert and overloaded for a prolonged period of time, the inflammatory state will start exhausting the body’s resources and we may get sick. That is why so many health professionals, nutrition scientists and experts, such as those who have a Professional Master’s Degree in Flavor Design, recommend anti-inflammatory nutrition.

There are many variations for anti-inflammatory nutrition, but in general, you are guided by two basic principles: eat more wholesome foods that help to fight inflammation, and avoid or minimize products that cause inflammation, pain and overall imbalance in the body.

Advantages of anti-inflammatory nutrition

Anti-inflammatory nutrition is a well-rounded diet and can be beneficial for anyone, but it can be particularly useful for women struggling with hormonal imbalance, food sensitivities, irritable bowel syndrome, fatty liver and other health conditions commonly associated with chronic inflammation. When done correctly, this diet can work wonders, because it is grounded in lowering saturated and trans fats, reducing added sugars and processed foods and increasing foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. All of this helps your body to fight inflammation, combat stress and supports natural detoxification mechanisms!

Basics of anti-inflammatory nutrition

Anti-inflammatory nutrition emphasizes fresh, seasonal and wholesome products, as well as ways you cook your food. “Non-aggressive” cooking techniques, such as steaming, boiling, baking, stewing or using the wok are usually recommended.

In its essence, anti-inflammatory nutrition is structured around three fundamental points:

1. Eat more antioxidants: These are unique molecules (you can think of them as your body’s soldiers) that work by “neutralizing” damaging compounds called free radicals. Without antioxidants, free radicals would be able to without restraint travel around your body, damage cells and promote inflammation.⁠

2. Keep your sugar under control: Excess of sugar can stimulate the liver to make fats. The body will then will digest these fats into other compounds that can lead to inflammation. However, not all sugars are equal! Sugary processed foods, refined flours and sodas are the ones to be careful about.

3. Balance your omega-3s and -6s: These are two important fats that are often referred to as “essential”, because our bodies can’t make them, and therefore rely on us to get them from foods. Although we need both types of fats to keep healthy, omega-6 can become pro-inflammatory if we consume too much. Most Western diets have huge amounts of omega-6s, so optimizing the ratio between these two fatty acids is key! If you want to read a bit more about omega fats, you can also check out my June article HERE.

Which are the best anti-inflammatory foods?

Great news! There are tons of wholesome foods that naturally contain antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory nutrients, so don’t forget to save this post and add some of these foods to your next grocery list!

· Lycopene in watermelons or strawberries

· Carotenoids in carrots, oranges, or pumpkins

· Lutein and quercetin in corn and apples

· Chlorophyll in spinach, lettuce, peas, artichokes, and broccoli

· Anthocyanins in blackberries, blueberries, and eggplants

· Selenium in fish, whole grains, nuts, and legumes

· Curcumin in turmeric

· Cyanidins in nutmeg

· Omega-3 fatty acids in wild fish (not farmed or fed with cornmeal), flax, chia and hemp seeds, algae, Brussels sprout and avocado

And there are so many more! So, if you are looking for a tip on how to remember all these important and delicious nutrients, I’ve got one for you. You don’t have to! Simply practice “eating the rainbow” by including as many different plant-based colors as possible in your meals.

In this case, the more variety, the merrier!

As always, love you all and til next!

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