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05 May, 2021

Managing Inflammation Through our Diet

Nutritional Therapist Phoebe Liebling outlines how to manage inflammation through our diet, as well as her 7-day challenge to help you retrain your taste perception and curb sugar cravings. After decreasing your reliance on sugary foods/becoming more aware of how you interact with them, you will have removed or at least hugely calmed a large, potentially inflammatory influx within your diet.

Health

“Most people hear the word inflammation and immediately consider it a negative, however the inflammatory response is actually a key player in our immune function. An appropriate level of inflammation is what prevents you from bleeding to death when you nick your finger in the kitchen for example.

The key point here is the word appropriate, as what we tend to see in many cases these days is an overactive or unregulated level of low grade, chronic inflammation. It’s this that leads to long term health concerns, as well as issues such as premenstrual symptoms, mood instability, increased levels of pain, and poor cognitive function.

The brilliant thing is though that our dietary choices can be the easiest and most influential modulator of this natural mechanism as certain foods/cooking methods will increase inflammation but conversely others will dampen it down and allow it to revert to its intended uses.

I give 2 quick, easy examples below where we can make a whole lot of difference!

FATS

Pick wisely here.

We want more of our omega 3’s (hemp, chia, flaxseed, small oily fish such as mackerel, anchovies, herring & trout) than our omega 6’s (animal fats, intensively reared meat/poultry/dairy, sunflower/vegetable oils, processed foods) and most diets naturally contain more 6 than 3. Try to concentrate on out competing the omega 6 in your diet with more of the 1st group.

The next crucial factor is their form - fats change when we heat them, they become oxidative which means they can cause damage inside the body, and this is then going to push inflammation forward at a great rate.

Choose to cook without fats where you can, stream, poach, braise, bake, steam fry, and then add your fats cold at the point of serving in things like cold pressed olive/avocado oil, olives, avocado, nuts, seeds, and the omega 3 group above.

SUGARS

... are a self perpetuating cycle.

We see sweet flavours as a marker of quick energy, and the more we consume the more we want. The thing is sugars, like the oxidised fats above, become little missiles bombing around the body and causing damage if they have the opportunity. Additionally, they negatively impact our ability to take up energy if had too often, making us tired, irritable, raising our insulin levels (increasing fat storage), and generally not functioning so well.

In this instance I want you to be your own guinea pig by trying the following challenge.

Firstly, identify where you turn to sweet things, not just added sugars (anything from caster sugar to coconut sugar, maple syrup & honey) but also dried/fresh fruit. Sweeteners of any kind too (again including the ‘better’ options such as stevia or erythritol).

Then ask yourself - do you have/want these when your energy is low? Do you have them in the morning and then feel the need for sweets in the afternoon? What’s your level of caffeine/stimulant intake and do you notice a correlation between a craving for sweets and how much of these you’ve had?

Then take the amount of sweet things you would normally consume in a day and halve that. Do this for a week, keeping to naturally tart fruits like berries, pomegranate and citrus, + sweet vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. If you are someone who would usually add honey or sugar to meals try cinnamon, cacao/carob, ginger or vanilla instead. Sweeteners of all kinds get a total blanket ban for the 7-day period.

The basis behind this is that your taste perception can fully evolve in a week, and after decreasing your reliance on sweets/becoming more aware of how you interact with them you will have removed or at least hugely calmed a large, potentially inflammatory influx within your diet.

For more information and support on decreasing your sugar intake I have created a free download here.”

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We cook all our meals from scratch and deliver within 24 hours of cooking, meaning you are always eating real food made from real ingredients. So by letting us cook for you you'll be eliminating common dietary inflammation triggers from your diet, helping you to feel your best. Stress is also a contributory factor to chronic inflammation so enjoy that break from the cooking and washing up!

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