The name alone explains the nature of this new dietary trend: eat foods that reduce inflammation and as a result, your body will function like a well-oiled machine…
Sound good? We think so! In fact, it sounds so similar to the IQS style of eating that we decided to do some digging. As with most ‘diets’ out there, we stumbled across a few variations, so we based our conclusions on the principles that most followers of an anti-inflammatory diet adhere to.
Here’s what you need to know…
What we love:
- An anti-inflammatory diet celebrates fruits and veggies! You’re encouraged to chomp down on leafy greens like spinach and kale, both of which are rich in vitamin k, as well as antioxidant-rich strawberries and blueberries.
- Getting your daily dose of fibre is key to keeping inflammation at bay (and maintaining comfortable pooping habits). An anti-inflammatory diet recommends upwards of 25g of fibre a day, which you can get by noshing on an abundance of vegetables, wholegrains and some high-fibre fruit.
- To avoid inflammation, you also need to ditch the sweet stuff. This way of eating encourages swapping sugar (and yes, that includes honey) for spices and herbs to flavour your meals – think turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and even cayenne pepper. We’ve banged on about the dangers of excess fructose in the diet for yonks, so this is certainly one principle we can get on board with.
While these are certainly nutritional principles we love, there are a few things to be wary of if you’re keen to explore this way of eating for yourself…
What to consider:
- Certain anti-inflammatory diets (and there are tonnes!) recommend limiting your intake of saturated fat to less than 10 per cent of your daily intake in order to reduce your risk of heart disease. Given that major studies like this one have found no link between saturated fat and coronary heart disease, stroke or cardiovascular disease, we won’t be adopting this guideline anytime soon.
- Low-fat dairy: we ain’t mad about it. In comparison to its full-fat counterpart, it contains more sugar but has less taste. So while some anti-inflammatory diets would see you slurping on low-fat milk (or cutting dairy altogether!), we’d stick with the creamy stuff. What’s more, scientists have found no connection between regular dairy products and heart attack or stroke, so feel free to enjoy that delicious Greek yoghurt, guilt-free!
- If you didn’t get the memo, we love fat. And there’s certainly been a lot of hullabaloo about it since IQS first stepped on the scene. But we’re also very selective about which fats we put into our bodies – and canola oil is not one of them! Some anti-inflammatory diets suggest using canola oil as your primary cooking oil, but it’s often highly-processed and sometimes even deodorised! And what’s more, it contains a hefty dose of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be inflammatory in high doses. In short, adding canola oil to your diet can raise your intake of polyunsaturated fats way more than necessary.
The bottom line.
Georgia, nutritionist and food and recipes manager at IQS thinks it’s worth considering the way our grandparents used to eat.
“They were right onto this anti-inflammatory way of eating before it became trendy. Everything that my Papou (that’s grandfather in Greek) cooked came straight from his veggie garden, in fact, wild greens with lemon were a staple breakfast at his house. He ate whole grains (and WHOLE fruit), he’d ferment eggplant on the regular and you’d struggle to find a packaged sweet in the pantry. I think that if you stick to JERFing and eating the way our parents and grandparents used to, you don’t need to get too caught up in these niche diets – you’ll reap their benefits regardless”.
While we definitely endorse incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet (hello, turmeric!), as with all dietary trends, it pays to do your research, read the fine print and always listen to your body.
Have you tried following an anti-inflammatory diet? Let us know in the comments below!