Far from the next big diet trend, an anti-inflammatory diet is the answer to sustained health, increased energy, better moods and enjoying a longer life. Using your food intake to get your body in optimum condition and become the best version of you, is easier than you think.
“We've started to limit our food so much that people don't know what to eat anymore,” warns Functional Medicine Nutritionist and LYMA Ambassador Dana James. “Nutrition is timeless, not a trend and our bodies are principally the same as they were hundreds of years ago.” Dana James is one in a long line of experts in the field of nutrition, urging people to view their nutritional intake as preventative medicine rather than fuel.
What is inflammation?
Let’s talk about what anti-inflammatory actually means. Inflammation is crucial; the body heals through inflammation and produces inflammation to clear viruses from the body. What we don't want though, is chronic inflammation which can come in from many different sources, one of them being food. “An extreme example of this would be eating cereal or a piece of toast for breakfast, a bowl of pasta for lunch and then maybe a piece of carrot cake in the afternoon. If somebody's eating that way on a repetitive basis, that sheer load of carbohydrates and glucose is very destabilising, which then becomes inflammatory for the body,” explains Dana James.
When food sensitivities cause inflammation.
Food sensitivities or food allergies, also inflame the body. Not everybody has the luxury of being able to run food sensitivity tests on themselves because they’re expensive but there are certain things that most of us know we don't react well to - wheat and gluten being the most widely known. “If you are sensitive to a food product, you’ll feel more fatigued,” explains Dana. “Remove it from your diet for four weeks and then try it again and if you feel tired and bloated afterwards, you probably have a sensitivity to that food. Keep it out of your diet for about nine months to hopefully reverse that sensitivity.”
The number one food sensitivity is not what you think.
Wheat? No. Gluten? Nope. Dairy? Not even close. Try almonds. Yes, 95% of us now have almond sensitivities because our intake has been ramped up by attempting to eat a more plant-based diet. By subbing out the dairy and the gluten for almond milk and almond flour, almonds could be entering our digestive system around six times a day.
What an anti-inflammatory diet looks like: Dana James lays out exactly what should be on your plate.
“All fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory so filling three quarters of your plate with those gives you a nice anti-inflammatory diet. Next is your preferred form of protein. I’m an advocate of animal protein, be it grass fed organic meats or wild fish; they give you the amino acids to stabilise blood sugar levels so you don't have insulin spikes. If you're vegetarian or vegan, then you would have chickpeas, black beans or brown rice. Technically meats and grains can be a little inflammatory but they’re offset with the three-quarters of the plate of the anti-inflammatory ingredients. Then you want to have some fats in the mix and those should be clean fats - olive oils, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. Carbohydrates next - whether it's a potato, sweet potato, squash, rice or beans. Carbohydrates should be calibrated to your exercise level, so you're if you're training intensely, you need more carbohydrates and if you are not moving your body much, then you don't want those starchy carbohydrates, aim to get your carbohydrates from your vegetables.”
Diets should never be trends.
The Paleo and Keto diets are extremely similar and both clean ways of eating, mainly because they’re both modifications on the anti-inflammatory diet. “Everyone’s looking for a quick fix,” says James. “That's why we keep jumping onto these new concepts. Only they're not necessarily new, they're just packaged up in a different way.”
Plant-based might be the biggest buzzword in nutrition right now but even that can be highly detrimental to health when it gets misconceived. Let’s face it, you could be having toast for breakfast, then mac and cheese made with almond cheese for lunch and that would still be considered plant-based but still highly inflammatory for the body. “75% of your diet should come from vegetables and the rest of it is your choice, be that moralistically or from an environmental perspective, it's up to you,” says James.
Take it back to basics - remove the food sensitivities and eat a diet that's rich in fruit and vegetables, then add a little of your preferred protein and some fats. Eating was never supposed to be difficult. After all, don’t we want to spend our time looking at more important things in life?
One single supplement can reduce inflammation.
We can further reduce inflammation levels by taking a supplement that rejuvenates the body at a cellular level. Wellmune® is one of nine patented ingredients formulated in LYMA and is a standardised and validated 1,3 1,6 beta glucan. It’s a hero nutraceutical and a game-changer in terms of its anti-inflammatory potential. LYMA also contains HydroCurc®, a peer-reviewed, specialised delivery format of curcumin, with up to four times the active benefits of generic turmeric. HydroCurc® is the world’s first 100% cold water dispersed curcumin that offers unrivalled protection against inflammation, making LYMA the best supplement out there to support an anti-inflammatory diet.
Originally published Aug 16, 2021.
Written by Jess Lacey, Beauty & Wellbeing Editor.