And on the flip-side, here are the foods to avoid. I’m not suggesting giving up everything at once. You need to be a bit kinder to yourself than that. To help you out I have a short guide to how to transition below.
Refined sugar and other foods with high glycemic values hike up insulin levels and put the immune system on high alert.
Reports in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, which causes pain, overheating, redness and swelling.
Plus of course, sugar is the most acid-forming food you can consume and messes with every area of your body.
Best avoided when possible!
2. Red Meat
High intake of red meat has been repeatedly linked to inflammation across many studies.
Quality of meat can be a factor, in that mass-produced, low-quality meat can contain dangerous chemicals which are added to the meat supply through feed and medicines and these contribute to inflammation.
Red meat also contains high levels of omega-6 fatty acids that produce inflammation. This arachidonic acid produces inflammation that can attack anywhere in the body from your heart and arteries to your joints.
According to Mark Hyman, MD the caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation and this makes you feel lousy.
The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).
There are also numerous studies that show coffee increases inflammation. One particular study looked at coffee consumption on inflammation marker concentrations were in 3,042 randomly selected men and women.
In all inflammatory markers, the consumption of coffee, as little as one cup a day, was associated with an increase in inflammatory markers.
Common allergens like casein and gluten (proteins found in dairy and wheat) are quick to spark the inflammatory cascade.
And it has been estimated that as much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk!
In fact, researchers think that being able to digest milk beyond infancy is abnormal, rather than the other way round. Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhoea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
5. Refined Grains
A lot of the grains we eat nowadays are refined.
They are devoid of fibre and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and aleurone layer intact.
This makes refined grains as good as refined sugars, which are practically empty calories, devoid of nutrients.
And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can cause inflammation throughout the body when consumed.
Just skip them.
6. Trans-Fats (and excessive omega 6 with no omega 3)
As we’ve discussed, you want to be increasing your intake of omega 3s.
These are the anti-inflammatory fats that lubricate your circulation, your joints and your brain.
Sadly, the vast majority of people get almost no omega 3 on a daily basis and a LOT of omega 6s.
These are the polyunsaturated fats including corn oil, safflower, sunflower and soybean oil.
How much is too much? The ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6’s in the diets of most Americans is 1:20. Our ancestors were healthy in a diet with a 1:1 ratio. Whoops.
In the ratio they occur in the typical Western diet, these oils create inflammation, pain and cellular damage.
Trans fats are even worse.
These are the list of the oil as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated and appear nowhere in nature.
Trans and partially hydrogenated fats are a huge contributor to inflammation and should be avoided whenever possible.
7. Processed / Packaged / Prepared Foods
Quite simply because they contain a lot of the above, and have had all of the beneficial foods processed right out of them.
If you are eating a lot of prepared/packaged/processed foods do try to move away from these. I know they’re convenient but they’re not worth the hassle.
So Here’s The Plan…
It. Never. Works.
Well actually, in about 1% of cases it does because some people are just super-human.
But for the other 99% of us, I need it to be simple, manageable, achievable and leave me feeling stress and guilt every time I have a treat!
So the plan goes something like this…
Work out ways to SNEAK these anti-inflammatory foods IN
It would be easy to say: “just eat vegetables, low-sugar fruits and healthy fats from now on and you’ll be fine”.
But like I say, that won’t stick for more than about 3 hours.
So we need to have a way to sneak an abundance of these foods in and that’s where I come in with my sneaky strategies:
Sneak These Foods Into Your Existing Meals!
This is going to make life so much easier for you because it requires almost zero change.
You don’t have to do anything different. You just need to add these ingredients to your current meals!
Idea 1: If You’re Making a Juice
You can add a heap of beetroot to a juice, some celery, some turmeric…
Idea 2:…Or Smoothie
Add chia seeds for more omega 3, a spoon of flax oil, a pinch of turmeric, some grated ginger and of course, avocado makes every smoothie super creamy without changing the taste all that much.
Idea 3: If You’re Making a Sauce
If you are making a sauce for pasta, pesto or anything like that you can always add a pinch of turmeric and an extra clove of garlic.
For a lot of sauces where you’d normally call for olive oil, you could also make it 50% flaxseed oil and 50% olive oil for a much more omega-3 based sauce.
Idea 4: If You’re Making (or Having a Shop Bought) Soup
It’s so easy to double the nutrient content of soups! Adding quinoa to the soup is a great call. Makes it more filling, has more protein, more fibre, more omega 3’s and of course it makes it more anti-inflammatory.
You can also add celery, beetroot, ginger, turmeric, cauliflower and asparagus to practically any soup and this will only make it all the more delicious.
In fact, you could make an anti-inflammatory soup out of all of the ingredients in this guide plus some veggie stock!
Idea 5: If You’re Having a Salad
Salads are also easy to make into an anti-inflammatory superstar. Grate beetroot (or use a spiralizer), add lots of grated ginger, quinoa, grilled asparagus, avocado…you can see where I’m going here.
Idea 6: …and then for your Salad Dressing…
Mincing garlic into salad dressings is great, and you can make any salad dressing creamy by mashing in or blending in avocado (that’s a cool trick).
Plus for any oils in dressings, you can change these to omega-3 based oils like flax oil, and you’re adding whole-lotta anti-inflammatory ingredients to your salad!
Idea 7: And Even If you’re Eating a PIZZA!
Or any other foods you’d never consider healthy…but you’re having them (we all do, and need to at some point) – always ask this question:
What can I add to make this meal much more healthy, without a lot of effort or changing the taste too much?
For instance, if you were having a pizza (cooked in the oven at home, or takeaway) to make it more anti-inflammatory you could:
– Drizzle with flax oil for an omega 3 hit
– Sprinkle with chia seeds for a tasteless extra bit of omega 3 and fibre and digestive cleansing!
– Top with a pinch of turmeric (would not change the taste at all)
– Add extra garlic (sliced or minced) to make it more delicious and anti-inflammatory
– Add asparagus to make it more veggie and anti-inflammatory
– Serve with an avocado & tomato side salad (dressed in flax oil and lemon juice) for an alkaline, anti-inflammatory super-hit.
These are just a few examples and you can do this kind of thing with ANY meal.
You just have to be conscious of your need to include these foods and let your brain do the rest!
Of course, the very best thing you could do would be to simply eat a lot of these foods at each mealtime, and I strongly suggest you check out my Alkaline Diet Recipe Book.
It is actually off-the-market for about 2 weeks while my publisher reprints and gears up for the pent up demand.