Inflammation is a common occurrence when an irritant comes in contact with one’s body. Be it bacteria, virus or fungi; injuries like scrapes and wounds, or the after-effects of chemicals – there can be many causes of inflammation. But when it comes to foods that are often a culprit for it include coffee, sugar, alcohol or even dairy. But you can change it with an anti-inflammatory diet.
According to health coach Simrun Chopra, Founder of Nourish with Sim, there are several alternative foods.
Beverages that are high in sugars like soft drinks, fruit juices. Different names used for sugars are corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, golden syrup, sucrose and maltose. Sweet snacks, chocolates, pastries and candies are culprits for more sugar intake.
Healthy substitute: Natural sweeteners in minimum quantities like stevia, honey, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, etc. The best way to get sugar is by adding fruits that also supply vitamins, antioxidants and fibers like apples, berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries).
You should avoid polyunsaturated oils like cottonseed, grapeseed, corn and sunflower oils, in an anti-inflammatory diet. These oils are most often used in processed foods too.
Healthy substitute: Try to include extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, any oil that comes from nuts and some seeds in your diet.
You should maintain your distance from fast foods, deep-fried foods, commercially baked goods, anything made with partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening. Commercially prepared peanut butter is an example of partially hydrogenated oil.
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Healthy substitute: Homemade and natural peanut butter and foods without trans-fats. Read labels and go for the ones that are truly trans-fat free. Include nuts in your diets such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts.
Avoid full-fat dairy products like curd, butter, cheese. Many cakes, crackers, cream sauces, boxed cereals and chocolates contain milk ingredients. Reading the ingredients before buying any of these products will help.
Healthy substitute: Coconut or almond or soy milk. Kefir or unsweetened yoghurt can be a replacement for those allergic to milk.
Common red meats such as beef, lamb and pork, while processed meats are ham, sausage and salami, must be avoided. Taking them in the right portion sizes and from the right sources helps. Processed meat, however, is a complete no-no.
Healthy substitute: No amount of processed meat is safe. Replace the bulk of your red meat with organic Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens, poultry, fish and relegate red meat to a weekly treat. Choose lean cuts and grass-fed animals. Do not overcook – this helps reduce the formation of heat generated due to food contaminants. Use moist heat cooking like stewing and boiling more often than dry heat methods like grilling or frying.
Omega-3 fatty acids are “good fats” that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other conditions. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include: flaxseeds, oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies).
Avoid beer, ciders, liquors, liqueurs and wines.
Healthy substitute: A refreshing, thirst-quenching, pure, filtered water! Or green tea. Limit the consumption of any kind of alcohol to one glass a day or less. Have dark chocolates and cherries for cravings. Additionally, limit consumption of processed, packed foods. Use anti-inflammatory herbs and spices or natural sweeteners to add flavour to your dishes. There is also evidence that certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.
Most common are white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. These refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and often have lots of salt, sugar, artificial flavours and partially hydrogenated oil in the process.
Healthy substitute: Take minimally processed grains. If you are an avid bread or pastry maker, invest in a grain mill to produce your flour. When buying products made of grains, don’t always take the word on the box. If they say “made with whole grains”, there is no guarantee that the whole grains are still 100 percent intact. So if it is not organic, or does not look close to the natural state, don’t buy it.