As we enter yet another week the weather is hotting up big time. A bit of time out of the house is allowed and it feels like we are getting close to some normality, but how are you feeling? Beach ready? I doubt it! All a bit overwhelming isn’t it? It’s really fine to not feel your best. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. Let’s try to move forward now, and nourishing ourselves is a perfect starting point.
We’ve done the baking thing and now its fresh, colourful, summer food time. Are you suffering from allergies and hay fever? Well, funnily enough you could be having worse symptoms this year than usual thanks to all that baking (‘oh no!’ you shout) and high levels of stress.
Inflammation is a natural short-term response of the immune system that helps us to combat infection and recover from injury. Poor diets and stressful or emotional lifestyles can trigger chronic inflammation, and this can be very damaging to our cells and tissues. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many serious illnesses from heart disease and cancer to arthritis, plus just a general feeling of unwellness.
Fortunately, there is a great deal you can do to reduce inflammation through diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods include:
Vegetables – of course!! Eat plenty, especially brightly coloured ones and leafy greens. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support healthy functioning of all tissues and body systems including the immune system.
Oily fish – eat two to three portions a week of salmon, mackerel, herring, and anchovies or sardines, choosing wild over farmed fish when possible. If you don’t eat fish take a good quality fish oil or a vegetarian omega 3 supplement, or include flax seeds and chia seeds –2 tbsp. daily
Eggs, lentils, beans, oats, sunflower seeds – contain B vitamins and amino acids that support the liver and promote the breakdown of inflammatory agents in the blood.
Avocado – rich in vitamin E which reduces the inflammatory response.
Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, rocket, watercress and other members of this group support the liver and help the body deal with toxins that can cause inflammation.
Pomegranates, berries, sweet potato, kiwi fruit – rich sources of vitamin C, which reduces the production of inflammatory agents, and is a natural antihistamine, reducing allergy symptoms.
Turmeric – use the fresh or dried root in curries and other Asian dishes, or as a tea. It contains curcumin which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
Ginger – counteracts inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. Use sliced root as a tea, add to fresh juices.
Green tea – contains flavonoids that reduce inflammation.
Pineapple – contains bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory
Avoid or reduce these inflammatory foods:
Excess protein of animal origin (grain fed) – too much animal protein can be acid-forming and promote inflammation. Choose organically reared or grass-fed varieties – quality rather than quantity!
Sugar – avoid foods with added sugar and sugar-containing sweeteners including agave, maple syrup and honey.
Cooking oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, soya – it is best to obtain most of your dietary fat from foods in their whole form such as in oily fish, avocados, olives and nuts. Opt for coconut, olive oil, or butter in place of vegetable oils, which promote inflammation.
Processed/convenience foods – often contain food additives, and high levels of salt, sugar and cooking oils, while being low in nutrients. If you are short of time to prepare food try to keep quick and easy healthy options in stock. Avocados, oatcakes, nuts and seeds, nut butters, hummus, salad leaves and soups all make good fast food choices.
Refined grains – found in pasta, bread, flour, cakes, biscuits etc. Refined grains raise your blood sugar levels and promote inflammation. Use alternative flour such as buckwheat, quinoa, spelt, oat or ground almonds.
Common allergens – especially pasteurised dairy products that can trigger an allergic response.
NUT & SEED LOAF RECIPE
A very healthy, high protein bread recipe- delicious and filling. Enjoy!
- 150g hazelnuts or cashew nuts
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 100 g flax seeds
- 100g sesame seeds
- 50g dates (optional)
- 50g black sesame seeds
- 50g poppy seeds
- 50g sunflower seeds
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup olive oil (you can use coconut oil)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven 180 degrees celsius
- Line a bread pan, set aside
- In a large bowl add the eggs and stir with a spatula
- Add seeds along with nuts, salt, olive oil and spices and mix until combined
- Pour the mixture into the bread pan, press the batter and bake for 1 hour
Note: This is a very forgiving recipe. You can combine any seeds and nuts at the correct weight
About the author
Suzanne is a Nutritional Therapist trained in London at College of Naturopathic medicine. She has 25 years experience as a chef and recently trained in raw foods, at a gourmet level with Matthew Kenney.
Suzanne’s business is Vital Nutrition which she founded in 2008. She offers private consultancies focusing on diet and lifestyle improvements supporting patients on their journey to optimum health.
Her regular cookery workshops are delicious, fun and educational and her cooking skills are available to private clients, on retreats and for chef training.