BY LISA WILLIAMS
The Anti-inflammation Diet is a new healthy eating trend that’s claims to do it all – live healthier, perform better, lose weight and look younger! It is not extreme like other fad diets. Nonetheless, the effects of this eating plan made popular by sportspeople and celebs can be dramatic. Our beauty team went in search for more information on this hot ‘beauty’ diet that promises youth through food, and came up with some surprising findings!
What is Inflamm-Aging?
What do wrinkles, eczema and acne have in common? – Inflammation. Although inflammation is normally the body’s natural response to protect you from infections and promote healing of injuries, chronic inflammation can be your silent and destructive enemy.
According to Dr Kenneth Lee, besides premature sagging and allergies, low-grade inflammation can simmer in the body quietly for a long time even when there’s no wound that needs healing, and it is believed to be one of the major causes of a whole range of ailments including chronic fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and even cancer. In fact, C-reactive proteins (CRP) released into the bloodstream due to inflammation is used by doctors as a screening predictor of heart disease.
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What sparks the flames?
One of the main triggers of chronic inflammation in most people is the dietary imbalances that plague our modern eating habits (eg. diets high in the wrong kind of carbohydrates and fats). Smoking, stress, lack of sleep, exposure to toxins (eg. second hand smoke) or environmental pollutants, and inactivity or over-exercise (e.g. persistent overuse injuries in professional athletes and dancers) can also trigger the chronic inflammatory process to run riot in our bodies.
That puts most busy urbanites at risk! And since it is difficult to know for sure whether you have simmering internal inflammation till late symptoms of system damage occurs, it is worthwhile making small dietary changes to prevent inflammation from going rampant whether for the sake of your looks or health.
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Antidote to aging and ailments
In a nutshell, Nature’s antidote to ageing and degeneration is a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and other anti-inflammatory nutrients. There are different variations of the diet. One of them is the “Inflammation Free Diet Plan” which puts foods on a scale – wild Alaskan salmon at +493 is a positive friend in your battle against inflamm-aging; while fiends like the pro-inflammatory plain bagel gets a negative score of -183. Others include Perricone’s (celebrity anti-aging doctor) “Anti-inflammation Diet”, “The Zone Diet” by Barry Sears that is a favourite of Jennifer Aniston, and Nigel Serby’s “The GL Diet” which counts Liz Earle as a fan.
The skinny on anti-inflammation diet plans:
Coldwater Oily fish like salmon, herring and sardines contain the largest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have phenomenal anti-inflammatory properties and are central to these diets. If oily fish is seriously not agreeing with your tastebuds, try walnuts or omega-3 fish oil capsules. Of course, natural sources tend to be more biologically active, come with a package of other healthy nutrients, and are still preferred over an oral supplement.
Brightly-colored fruits and vegetables are colour-flagged by Mother Nature as antioxidant treasure troves. Add a good mix of rainbow-coloured fresh fruits and vegetables such as grapes, pomegranates, blackcurrants, berries, broccoli, spinach and carrots to your diet to stay younger for longer.
Spice up your life with turmeric, ginger, garlic and chillies. Turmeric and ginger, two of the spices frequently added to curries, contain powerful anti-inflammatory curcuminoids.
Olive oil provides monounsaturated fats and is encouraged as opposed to the baddies (saturated and trans fats) from fatty meat or full-fat dairy products like butter. Avoid frying foods as high temperatures will destroy good fats and produces chemical reactions in sugar and amino acids that can increase inflammation.
Snack on nuts and seeds, especially walnuts since they are valuable plant sources of essential fatty acids. High quality dark chocolate, being rich in antioxidant, is a good occasional sweet indulgence to help reduce inflammation as well.
Foods with a warning label. You guessed right – processed foods, convenience foods, and refined sugar and carbohydrates (white bread and refined rice) are generally bad for you. Eat more whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat instead. Red meats should be minimized in favor of white lean meat like chicken and fish.
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