An inflammatory diet is one full of fried foods, caffeine, sugars and pre-packaged products. Eating too many can prevent cells from functioning correctly. On the flipside, loading your plates with foods rich in antioxidants, minerals and good fats will nourish your cells. Here’s some examples of both:
While it seems easier to swear off all sugars, the problem lies with refined sugars and carbohydrates. Think pastries and cakes, bags of white pasta and bread, and the bumper bags of sweets. Eating too many of these can spike our blood sugar levels which, in turn, can trigger all sorts of problems.
Yet, before you swear off sugar altogether, please remember this: not all sugars are bad for us. There are those, such as the ones found in fruits and wholemeal foods, that are good for us. While these foods do contain a fair amount of sugar, they’re also rich in fibre, which slows down their absorption into the body. They also have great benefits and contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are crucial to our health.
Contrary to decades of dieting advice, recent studies have shown that fats are not the main culprit in obesity. In fact, we need to eat fat to lose fat.
Search out unsaturated fats and mono and polyunsaturated fats, which reduce inflammation in the body. The best sources of these fats are from vegetables such as olive, canola, grape seed and other foods such as avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds and fish.
This one is a little more tricky – even dieticians can’t quite agree on whether or not dairy is good for us. On the one hand, there are those who find it suits their diet perfectly, while others find it inflammatory.
The best way to find out whether or not you can tolerate dairy is to simply go without for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. I personally find that I am less congested and have less bloating, but I do still enjoy the odd cup of tea with milk.
Some of us find that wheat, barley and rye can cause inflammation in the body.
There are very few people who are actually allergic to gluten and have the potentially life-threatening autoimmune condition coeliac disease. However, there are a growing number of us who suffer from bowel-related inflammatory conditions, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which can be triggered by grains.
While we know not to go crazy and binge drink, many of us will have heard about how small amounts of alcohol (or, at least, certain kinds!) are good for us. Yet, while the odd glass of red wine can help to protect our heart, I’m sorry to break it to you – alcohol definitely plays a part in weight gain. And that’s not just because of the empty calories; alcohol stimulates the release of fat-storing hormones into the blood stream, too.
Read more in The Youth Plan by Kathryn Danzey. Out now priced £14.95.