Influencing Inflammation

Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner

Our bodies have an innate intelligence to heal itself. In response to trauma or infection, inflammation is the protective mechanism that responds by rushing nutrients and nourishment to the site, and appears as redness, swelling and heat. Chronic inflammation, however, can be a case of too much of a good thing, with researchers linking inflammation to more serious health concerns such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune conditions.

Diet and lifestyle can play an integral part in managing the inflammatory response. Below is a table outlining some key aspects that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but certainly a positive place to start, and changes can be quite powerful.

Inflammation can arise from an immune response that develops in the gut, where normally tightly bound gap junctions that line the gut wall become inflamed and prone to ‘leaks’. This allows larger molecules to enter the blood stream, eliciting different and inappropriate immune responses. This is when other body systems can become affected such as skin irritation, allergies, brain fog or mood changes, autoimmune conditions and pain responses.

It is also important to be aware that there can be other underlying factors contributing to inflammatory health conditions and should be addressed. If you feel that chronic inflammation is hindering your opportunities in achieving greater wellbeing, make an appointment with your natural health practitioner. Together you can feel supported in unraveling the underlying cause of your health concern, and start working towards a healthier you!

Foods to Include

Omega-3 Oils
• Cold water, oily fish
– Salmon and Tuna (fresh)
– Mackerel and Sardines (fresh / canned in brine)
• Nuts and seeds
– Flaxseeds or oil
– Chia seeds or oil
– Walnuts
• Leafy green vegetables
Monounsaturated fats
• Avocado
• Nuts and seeds
• Olive oil
Antioxidant rich foods
• Highly pigmented fruits and vegetables – eat the rainbow
• Dark leafy greens
• Citrus fruits
• Black and green teas
• Allium foods – garlic, onions, chives, etc.
• Brassica vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage
Foods high in fibre
• Nuts and seeds (especially chia and flax)
• Fruits and vegetables with the skin left on
• Wholegrains
Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
• Turmeric!
• Ginger
• Rosemary
• Oregano
• Cayenne
• Clove
Hydration
• Drink at least 1.5-2L water each day
• Increase water intake with intense exercise
Regular exercise
• Decreases cortisol, improves circulation and supports healthy BMI.
Good quality rest, relaxation and sleep
• Restores, repairs, refocuses and re-energises.
• Reduces cortisol and regulates leptin to maintain healthy BMI.
 
 
 

Foods to avoid

Food high in trans fats, or excess omega-6 oils
• Red meats
• Dairy products
• Hydrogenated oils
– Margarine
• Some seed oils
– Corn oil
– Cottonseed oil
– Grapeseed oil
– Peanut oil
– Safflower oil
– Soy oil
– Sunflower oil

Artificial preservatives, flavours, colours and sweeteners
• Chips
• Crackers
• Baked goods with extended shelf life
• MSG
• High-fructose corn syrup

Refined carbohydrates and sugars
• White bread, pasta, rice, noodles (including gluten free options that are highly refined)
• Lollies, chocolate, soft drinks, flavoured milks, fruit drinks, energy drinks

Gluten
• Can be pro-inflammatory regardless of whether it is generally well tolerated
• Found in wheat, barley, oats, rye and used as an additive in some prepackaged foods

Food intolerance’s
• Foods that have been found to illicit a reaction in an individual can be pro-inflammatory (eg. Dairy, wheat, eggs, seafood, artificial additives and sweeteners).

Stress
• Stress increases cortisol which can have an inflammatory effect on the body.

References:
de Punder, K & Pruimboom, L 2013, ‘The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation’, Nutrients, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 771-787.

Haskey, N & Gibson, DL 2017, ‘An Examination of Diet for the Maintenance of Remission in Inflammatory Bowel Disease’, Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1-20, viewed 29 June 2017, http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/3/259/htm

Hechtman, L 2012, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine, Elsevier, Chatswood.

Kaefer, CM & Milner, JA, 2008 ‘The Role of Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention’, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 347-361.

Kiecolt-Glaser, JK 2010, ‘Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge’, Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 72, no. 4, pp. 365-369.

Maiorino, MI, Bellastella, G, Petrizzo, M, Scappaticcio, L, Giugliano, D & Esposito, K 2016, ‘Anti-inflammatory Effect of Mediterranean Diet in Type 2 Diabetes is Durable: 8-Year Follow-up of a Controlled Trial’, Diabetes Care, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. e44-e45.

Mashhadi, NS, Ghiasvand, R, Askari, G, Hariri, M, Darvishi, L & Mofid, MR 2013, ‘Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence’, International Journal of Preventative Medicine, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. S36-S42.

Nasri, H, Sahinfard, N, Rafieian, M, Rafieian, S, Shirzad, M & Rafieian-kopaei, M 2014, ‘Turmeric: A spice with multifunctional medicinal properties’, Journal of HerbMed Pharmacology, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 5-8.

Olendski, BC, Silverstein, TD, Persuitte, GM, Ma, Y, Baldwin, KR & Cave, D 2014, ‘An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report’, Nutrition Journal, vol. 13, no. 5, viewed 29 June 2017, http://www.nutritionj.com/content/13/1/5

Prasad, S & Aggarwal, BB 2014, ‘Chronic Diseases Caused by Chronic Inflammation Require Chronic Treatment: Anti-inflammatory Role of Dietary Spices’, Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 1-11, viewed 29 June 2017, https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/chronic-diseases-caused-by-chronic-inflammation-require-chronic-treatment-2155-9899.1000238.php?aid=28021

Sears, B 2015, ‘Anti-inflammatory Diets’, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 34, no, 1, pp. 14-21.

Sears, B & Ricordi, C 2011, ‘Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition as a Pharmacological Approach to Treat Obesity’, Journal of Obesity, vol. 2011, no. 2011, pp. 1-14, viewed 29 June 2017,

Shibata, T, Nakashima, F, Honda, K, Lu, Y, Kondo, T, Ushida, Y, Aizawa, K, Suganuma, H, Oe, S, Tanaka, H,
Takahashi, T & Uchida, K 2014, ‘Toll-like Receptors as a Target of Food-derived Anti-inflammatory Compounds’, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 289, no. 47, pp. 32757-32772.

Tilg, H 2015, ‘Cruciferous Vegetables: prototypic anti-inflammatory food components’, Clinical Phytoscience, vol.1 no. 10, viewed 30 June 2017, https://clinphytoscience.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40816-015-0011-2

Woods, JA, Wilund, KR, Martin, SA & Kistler BM 2012, ‘Exercise, Inflammation and Aging’, Aging and Disease, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 130-140.

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