Have you heard of the anti inflammatory diet? Trust us. This one is different. How so? We explain all the finer points of this diet to help you decide if it might be right for you.
It seems that each month brings a new diet with the latest health claims. It’s hard to know which diet is going to produce the best results for your goal. However, if you find yourself at a standstill with your weight, it may be time to dig a little deeper into your nutrition and see if there is something more going on in your body. Whether they’re gnc weight loss products or a new fad diet you need be on top of your diet.
The anti-inflammatory diet differs from many popular diets.
This diet is a plan of eating that uses science to identify foods that are best for the body and it’s not some simple weight loss plan. Inflammation, in its most basic form, can be defined as swelling in the body. It is our body’s natural response to injury but, in excess, it’s also the cause of many chronic illnesses. In order for your body to function at its optimal level, and for you to train at your best, you need to find a way of eating that promotes overall health.
Can this diet help you as it relates to your training?
We will discuss that and everything else you could ever want to know about the anti-inflammatory diet.
These Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Inflammation
Before you jump into a new diet or the best supplements for weight loss and muscle gain, it’s important to learn why the diet is helpful for the body. Body inflammation reveals itself in many diverse ways, all of which contribute to the decline of your health. Sometimes it shows up in aches and pains. Other times, the damage is silent but deadly.
We all know how it feels to be sore after a workout.
With that said, can you imagine being in a constant state of pain and soreness that does not go away with a stretch?
In some cases, you can lose mobility and even function in your joints when they swell.
Inflammation can stall weight loss by causing the body to retain fluids. It can also increase insulin production in the body. This is usually what is to blame for abs fat. Inflammation also disrupts the hormone that signals the brain to stop eating. This can increase hunger and persuade you to eat more than your body needs.
One major autoimmune disease that has been linked to inflammation is Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease causes major inflammation in the digestive tract that can make it hard for the body to absorb and process different nutrients. When the body can’t digest food properly, it can lead to a lack of energy, stomach issues, and bowel obstructions. While Crohn’s is not solely caused by inflammation, a large portion of the disease can be linked to swelling in the digestive tract.
Nothing will stop your training session faster than a heart attack. Inflammation causes the walls of your arteries to swell and constrict. That, combined with plaque from poor food choices, can result in a heart attack.
What Is The Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
The anti-inflammatory diet is less of a diet and more of a means of identifying foods that reduce inflammation in the body. What you eat can either add a log to your inflammation fire or be the extinguisher that puts it out. The anti-inflammatory diet has a few guiding principles that can help make it easier for you to find your way through the food jungle. They are:
#1 Choose Fruits And Vegetables First
Make veggies the main staple in your diet. They are low in calories, high in nutritional value and easily digestible.
Like many other diets, reach for green leafy veggies like spinach and kale first. Onions, garlic, and leeks are high in antioxidants that help the body fight the swelling linked with inflammation. Next, make sure to get in a healthy dose of cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Your mother was actually doing you a favor when she forced you to eat your broccoli every day!
When choosing fruits, try to pick ones low in sugar. Opt for berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. They clock in with the lowest sugar content in the fruit category. Berries, like their veggie counterparts, are also high in antioxidants. By filling up on fruits and veggies, you can make sure that most of the space in your stomach is occupied with healthy food.
#2 Focus On Complex Carbohydrates
What’s great about this diet is that you can still enjoy foods from all food groups and your beloved carbs aren’t nixed from the equation. With that said, when choosing carbs, stay away from ones that are processed and refined. White bread, white rice, cookies, pastries and most foods with sugar will spike your blood sugar and cause your body to release insulin. Instead, focus on foods that are low on the glycemic index (keep blood sugar low), high in fiber and grains that keep the whole kernel intact (whole grains).
Your best option for choosing carbs is to focus on starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, beans and winter squash. They pack a nutritional punch without causing spikes in blood sugar.
#3 Omega-3s Are Good For You
There’s a lot of talk about omega-3 fatty acids and their role in brain health. The fact is that they are also an important part of the anti-inflammatory diet. This type of fat is one that the body can’t make on its own. As a result, you need to consume it in food or through supplements.
Foods rich in omega-3s include fish, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and egg yolks. This is good news for the egg lovers out there. There’s no need to toss your yolks so put down that egg white omelet and enjoy a full fat, flavorful egg.
When choosing fats for your diet, limit saturated fats that are typically found in red meat, butter and dairy. You also want to be sure to avoid hydrogenated oils like margarine, shortening, and many packaged and baked goods.
#4 Try A Pescetarian Approach To Protein
Red meat and processed meats are prime culprits in causing inflammation. It’s best to avoid having these as a staple in your diet. Instead, choose fish and seafood when you can and try to add in vegetable protein sources instead of choosing meat.
Your best sources of protein to avoid inflammation include: Fish, shrimp, eggs, quinoa, beans and legumes.
#5 Avoid Junk Food Like The Plague
Sugar and fried foods are kryptonite(and junk food!) to any diet and exercise program. That rings true for the anti-inflammatory diet as well. Both food categories cause the body to produce extra insulin to control blood sugar. This then causes the body to heat up and swell. Keep an eye out for sneaky sources of sugar and faux sugar. Even your zero-calorie sweetener can cause your body to react so it may be time to kick your diet soda habit.
It’s vital to note that all of these ideas for the anti-inflammatory diet are guidelines. Just because you are supposed to avoid refined carbs and limit red meat doesn’t mean you need to cut all of these things from your diet entirely. If you are eating them all the time, they’re going to cause your body to react. Of course, if you choose to only eat them once in a while, then enjoy yourself. Keep an eye on the things that cause your body to react and then limit the amount of those foods you consume.
What Are The Perks Of The Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on clean whole foods that are great for overall health and weight loss. The fact that this is less of a diet and more of an overall eating guide gives you some flexibility in the foods you eat. All of your macronutrients are accounted, but there are no specific targets that you must eat per day.
You are allowed and encouraged to eat often and in moderate amounts. There’s no measuring, tracking or counting involved. It is up to you to trust your judgment and pay attention to your hunger signals.
An anti-inflammatory diet is great for people with rigorous training programs. There is a longstanding myth that athletes need to eat an entire cow to grow or maintain muscle mass.
You can get enough protein from plant-based foods and the addition of eggs, fish and seafood. By focusing on anti-inflammatory foods, you can decrease the swelling in your body linked with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This helps speed up recovery time allowing you to train harder and resume activity sooner.
People who have asthma can benefit greatly from an anti-inflammatory diet.
Inflammation in the lungs causes them to constrict making it harder to breathe. If you can control the inflammation in your body, you can help reduce asthmatic symptoms. For the general healthy active population, reducing inflammation in your airways can increase your lung capacity. When you breathe easier, it allows more air into your blood. That allows your body to maintain its level of intensity longer.
What Are The Drawbacks?
As with all diets, there are perks and drawbacks to starting something new. No diet is a one size fits all type of plan. With this eating style, you are not going to drop 30 pounds in two days. There’s no way. This is not a fad diet.
There is no exact description of the anti-inflammatory diet available (only guidelines and suggestions). That leaves the diet open to interpretation. It will take some trial and error to figure out if it works for you.
For athletes who are used to tracking their food intake, the lack of calorie or macro counting can make it a hard diet to follow at first. Weight fluctuations are normal while your body figures out how to adjust to this new eating style. It may take you some time to attune your body to its hunger signals. The anti-inflammatory diet does not have a heavy emphasis on protein. Of course, this can also be an issue for athletes and people who are used to eating a diet mainly made up of meat.
If you are undertaking this diet to cure a condition you may have, you’ll have to give this new way of eating some time to run its course before you notice changes in your body or relief of your symptoms. It may be effective for some conditions but not all.
The anti-inflammatory diet is not considered to be a temporary fix. Since this way of eating is designed to be a lifestyle plan, there are no cheats allowed. This means that you have to decide if the food you’ve chosen to eat is helping fight inflammation or helping it flourish. This can be hard for people who like to eat what they want when they want. It is quite different than a plan where you count macros, but no food is expressly off limits.
The anti-inflammatory diet is designed to be a way of life so there are other parts that make up this lifestyle. For instance, one of the biggest non-dietary contributors to inflammation in the body is stress. Learning ways to combat and control stress can do wonders to keep your hormones in check. Take the time to do something you enjoy every day and make meals that are not only good for your health, but that taste good too.
When choosing a diet that is going to work well with the training program you are following, find one that gives you the energy you need. It is also important to manage your overall health to avoid illness and disease.
By Aly Tyghter
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