Stress Awareness Month: 5 ways to fight inflammation

Stress Awareness Month: 5 ways to fight inflammation
Courtesy: Reuters

But if you are experiencing anxiety, low mood, fatigue, brain fog, exhaustion, or perhaps even the lingering after-effects of Covid-19, it may be time to consider overhauling your diet and taking an anti-inflammatory approach.

With so many work and social commitments, eating well often falls to the wayside.

To mark Stress Awareness Month this April, Caroline Hind, nutritional therapist with Vitaminology, has shared her top tips for the foods to include when abiding by a wholefood diet and looking to lower inflammation.

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Eat the rainbow

Always aim to eat five to seven portions of vegetables per day.

"Great options include leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, rocket, and Swiss chard, which are all a rich source of immune-supportive nutrients such as vitamin C, antioxidants, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium," she said. "Also look to eat orange-coloured vegetables such as carrots, orange peppers and pumpkin, which are rich in beta-carotene, the plant-based form of vitamin A needed to support immune function."

Introduce wholegrains

Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, and sugary cereals can exacerbate fatigue and inflammation.

"It's a good idea to include wholegrains and complex carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice, whole oats, buckwheat pasta, quinoa, sweet potato, beans, lentils and chickpeas instead of refined carbohydrates," noted Caroline.

Vary protein sources

Try to include a source of protein with each meal to support sustained energy levels.

"Good sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, quinoa, nuts and seeds or opt for plant-based meat alternatives such as soya," the expert advised. "Avoid fatty cuts of meat and processed meats such as salami, sausages and bacon which are more inflammatory. Dietary protein needs to be sufficient in both quantity and quality to guarantee optimal immune function, as immune cells have specific amino acid requirements."

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Embrace healthy fats

Healthy fats are omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.

"For a simple way to remember sources of omega-3 fatty acids, use the acronym SMASH – salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring," explained Caroline.

"You will find monounsaturated fats in avocado oil, hemp oil and extra virgin olive oil. These healthy fats support blood sugar balance, energy production, and help to regulate the immune system."

Aim for balanced meals

Eating balanced meals will help to support energy levels.

"Aim for a meal to contain a balance of non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy green vegetables, complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Finally, avoid snacking in between meals," she added.

(Cover Media/Reuters)

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