Why do inflammatory foods matter?
To put it simply, inflammation is the root of disease. It has been shown to be associated with just about every health condition. Unfortunately, there are many foods in today’s world that create inflammation in the body, contributing to poor health & disease. I want to educate & empower you to make better food choices so you can thrive physically & mentally during your childbearing years.
Cutting inflammatory foods out of your diet will change your world. It will improve your digestion, give you more energy, reduce your pain & your risk of disease. Not to mention, help you shift unwanted kilos.
I recommend eliminating (or reducing) the following foods out of your diet now – regardless if you are pre-pregnancy, pregnant or postpartum. During pregnancy & following childbirth your body requirements are high. Your body, mind & baby need good quality nutrients & minerals. Reducing inflammatory foods is an important way to facilitate your recovery & reduce chronic pain. Ideally implementing good food choices before/during pregnancy is optimal, as these choices will become habit, setting you up for success when you have your baby & life gets more demanding.
The Top 7 Inflammatory Foods:
1. Refined sugar.
You’ve heard it before, I know, but there’s a good reason for that- refined sugar is the enemy! There is a magnitude of research out there proving that sugar has negative long lasting effects on our body. It contributes to the development of chronic diseases, not to mention erratic mood and energy swings.
Refined sugar causes inflammation in the body & blood sugar levels to peak. Both trigger a stress response in the body, effect the production of our hormones & lead to a string of undesirable health outcomes.
As well as the obvious sugar (white sugar, confectionary, desserts, baked goods), refined sugar is often added to processed/packaged food. So next time you grab a packet, box or jar, take a look at the label to see if sugar has been added.
Gluten is a hard to digest complex protein (wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats). As a result, it can directly impact the intestinal lining & lead to leaky gut. Gluten has been shown to be a chemical stressor on the body affecting the absorption of nutrients & minerals. You don’t have to be coeliac to be affected by gluten; you can have gluten sensitivity, like I do.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with every single bit of gluten out there, focus on the big players – bread, pasta, pizza, and pastries. Before you freak out, it isn’t as bad as you think, I promise! Click here to find out some yummy gluten-free alternatives.
3. Excess dairy.
Dairy contains hard to digest proteins that can act similarly in the body to gluten. There are many factors that cause dairy to contribute to inflammation such as factory farming, pasteurisation & homogenisation. As a result, minimising your dairy to full-fat milk in your coffee & sheep or goats feta cheese is a good idea. Try substituting dairy for almond milk, coconut milk & ghee.
4. Conventional produce (non-organic).
Fruit & vegetables: The use of chemicals, pesticides & herbicides, on fruit, vegetables & the soil from which they grow have been linked to a host of health conditions & diseases. Click here for the dirty dozen & the clean dozen list so you know which foods to prioritise buying organic.
Conventional meat: The same applies for conventional factory farmed meat that is exposed to chemicals, hormones, unnatural feed & stressful conditions. I cannot emphasis the importance of buying organic produce from reliable sources or local farmers. The extra dollars you spend are worth every bit when you are fuelling your body & your family with quality meat that blows your taste buds!
5. Vegetable oil.
Unlike its name, vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil & canola oil is NO good for you. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is far too high. These polyunsaturated oils can be genetically modified, refined & turn rancid once heated or are easily oxidised releasing toxins, causing inflammation in our bodies. Use olive oil, coconut oil & ghee in your cooking & baking, which have a multitude of health benefits.
6. Excess alcohol.
Excess or chronic alcohol consumption creates inflammation in our liver & gut contributing to a host of health issues. So when you have a drink at the end of a hard day, drink in moderation & avoid adding more sugar to the equation with soft drink mixers.
7. Excess caffeine.
Don’t worry, I would never neglect you of your morning latte, it’s ok! But I will inform you that even though recent studies have shown drinking coffee can have health benefits, excess caffeine can have negative effects on the body. It can cause nervousness, irritability, anxiety, sleep disruption & bladder irritation. This means it can increase frequency, urgency & urge incontinence – a common issue amongst women. Like most things in life, drink coffee in moderation. Enjoy your 1-2 cappuccinos a day, but don’t substitute coffee for a meal or use it as a ‘pick me up’.
So there you have it, the top foods that cause inflammation in your body. With this knowledge, you can go forth & conquer! Eliminate/reduce these foods from your diet & you will see dramatic improvements in your health, your recovery postpartum & reduction in pain.
In writing this post, I want to make something clear. I am not for a minute pretending to be a nutrition expert. I am a nutrition enthusiast. I am passionate about nutrition & am motivated to do my own research on nutrition for both personal & professional reasons.
If you have any individualised questions you are most welcome to ask me, otherwise I recommend speaking to a Nutritionist.