Nutritional Approaches to Managing Inflammation


5 months ago by Ruth Taylor


Today I want to talk to you about nutritional approaches to managing inflammation. As identified by Dr Risdale, inflammation is being recognised as a common trigger for many chronic diseases as well as inflammatory conditions. The tricky aspect of inflammation is that initially we might not be aware that we have underlying inflammation in our bodies as the signs and symptoms can be quite insidious. Hence, it is really important to consider the factors that can trigger inflammation and to adapt our diet and behaviour to support our baseline health. The aim is to focus on reducing triggering factors as fully as possible in order to reduce our susceptibility to contracting infections and reduce our susceptibility to immune challenges.

Diet and lifestyle are known factors that can create physiological inflammation (see Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Inflammatory Triggers

As you can see from Diagram 1, there are a lot of factors that might lead to increased levels of inflammation. These need to be considered and addressed on an individual basis. I would suggest that you start by considering which factors might be relevant to you, and then decide which of these you are ready to tackle and change. I recommend you work on one issue at a time and aim to reduce the impact of this factor. Once you have achieved this you can then move on to the next issue.

From a dietary perspective, following a diet to reduce dietary triggers can help; whilst also boosting intake of foods that are thought to reduce inflammation and eating in a way to reduce insulin dysregulation. Some suggested dietary approaches include low glycaemic load, Mediterranean approach, low carbohydrate intake, ketogenic and time-restricted eating. The key with these is to identify a method of eating that you, personally, can follow that does not add to your stress. It is not about being perfect but about making changes that are realistic for you. Changes that can become a healthy habit that you enjoy. 

Anti-inflammatory foods and spices to enjoy can be found in the table below - aim to gradually incorporate these into your diet in place of foods that may be triggering inflammation.

 

Anti-inflammatory foods

Oily Fish

Salmon, mackerel, Sardines, Herring, Trout, Fresh Tuna

Healthy Fats

 

Nuts and seeds

Avocado

Olive oil - use cold pressed to drizzle onto salads and steamed vegetables!

Vegetables   and Fruit

Eat a diverse range of vegetables and fruit, the more diverse the better – aim to include fruit and vegetables with different colours as these will all contain different phytonutrients – aim for 5-10 portions a day.

Start from wherever you are and gradually build up to this amount.

Bone Broth

Aim to make a bone broth with bones from a chicken, lamb or beef joint. Add herbs and vegetables to taste, cook for a minimum of 12 hours – aim to have a small portion regularly across the week.

Fermented Foods

Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Miso, Tempeh

Herbs and Spices

Ginger, Turmeric, Oregano and Garlic

 

Finally, managing stress and working on reducing habits that create physiological stress such as smoking are other options to explore along with ensuring adequate sleep.

By Ruth Taylor