HOW TO EAT FOR LOW-GRADE INFLAMMATION
Vegetables: Think of vegetables and fruits as the base of your diet. Vibrantly colored vegetables are the best as they contain the biggest amounts of vitamins and nutrients that protect your body from inflammation and also prevent it.
➢ Greens (dark leafy greens, salads, kale), carrots, paprikas, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage etc.
Olive oil: The king of the nutritional elements that protect from inflammation. Olive oil is thought to be the single most important factor in the Mediterranean diet that protects from many chronic diseases. Also other healthy oils and fats. Although be careful when cooking with olive oil since it does not tolerate high heat well. Cooking is best with Ghee or coconut oil.
➢ Choose organic olive oil in dark glass bottle if possible.
➢ Organic butter, virgin coconut oil, avocado, seeds, nuts
Omega-3 and -6 balance: An important thing to consider. In the usual western diet the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio is often totally wrong. The ideal ratio to omega-6 and omega-3 is 2:1 which is found on indigenous groups of people that follow their traditional diet. On the average for example in the USA the ratio is 25:1 so there is some work to do with this.
➢ Oily fish and omega-3 supplement taken daily
➢ Chia seeds, organic eggs
Strong spices and herbs: For example ginger is one of the natures own NSAID: s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug)
➢ garlic, turmeric, ginger, chili, paprika, parsley, dill, cilantro
Protein from healthy sources: Find your own way (vegetarian, paleo, vegan etc.) Aim to eat the cleanest and most natural sources of protein. Favor organic and ethically produced foods.
➢ (organic) cottage cheese, feta cheese, cheeses that are made of unpasteurized milk, lentils, beans, organic eggs, organic meat, fish
Minimize: Dogmatism isn’t necessary but it’s a great thing to try to replace these with healthier options or consume seldomly.
➢ White sugar and white processed grains. Avoid gluten if you feel better without of it (This you’ll know by trying)
➢ Processed dairy like milk that you buy from the regular grocery store. (sour milk products like yogurt and cheeses are okay with moderation) I like the Califia Farms almond coconut milk at Albertson’s or any of the health food stores, it is the closest non-dairy option that tastes like regular milk.
➢ Trans-fats for example margarine/processed spreads, cookies, cakes and muffins that last “forever”
➢ Convenience foods, puddings, fast-food
➢ Alcohol (biodynamic red wine is probably the best option or organic ciders)
Stress: Aim for reducing and avoiding too much stress. Take time for yourself just for being everyday. Start meditating by trying some MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) Focus on the good and live in the now.
DISCLAIMER: If you feel stressed and anxious about these tips try to think that your goal is to treat yourself in the best possible way and with love and compassion even though the changes might feel challenging at moments. This mindset can reduce the stress that might be linked to changing your lifestyle.
Training: Moderate exercise everyday. For example daily walks, stretching, light yoga (excellent for stress reduction also) In addition about two aerobic exercise sessions that make you sweat in a week plus two times strength training. Training too much isn’t necessary because in some cases too much training could even be pro-inflammatory as it might increase the oxidative stress in the body.
Lastly I would like to say that it isn’t necessary to follow any of these lifestyle tips religiously. I try to avoid extreme of thinking and dogmatism as much as possible. Your world won’t crash and you won’t be destroyed by low-grade inflammation if you once in a while eat fast food or drink alcohol but chances are the less you do the less enjoyable it will be. Aim for the ideal and little daily choices matter. Attitude matters. Even positivity and good feelings can help you can dissolve low-grade inflammation. Sometimes you need that dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt or a weekend when you do nothing. I cannot stress enough the importance of balance.