We've talked a fair bit about the impact stress can have on our mental health, but our diets and what we fuel ourselves with can also have a big effect on the internal stress we're placing on our immune systems. Inflammation is a word that gets branded around pretty frequently these days, often in a negative light. But actually, in acute circumstances, it's not a bad thing. Inflammation is simply our immune system's response to fighting something that may turn out to be harmful. This could be in response to stubbing your toe, getting kicked in your crown jewels or in response to a crappy diet.
The immune system is just watching our back and fighting our battles for us. The issue comes through when that inflammatory response becomes chronic, we're bombarding the body with crappy food day in day out. This leads to consistently elevated levels of inflammation across the body and can manifest itself in all sorts of forms, from autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity and worse. Immune cells become less sensitive to cortisol (our stress hormone), they're unable to regulate the inflammatory response, and then, when they're exposed to a virus or bug you're more likely to get ill.
By eating a predominantly anti-inflammatory diet, most of the time, you can keep yourself fighting fit and keep your immune system soothed and appeased to fight more important battles for you down the line. Here are our foods to include regularly in your diet to keep inflammation down as well as our foods to avoid:
✔️Green leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, kale (Mark bangs on about these A LOT, but for good reason!)
✔️Nuts like almonds and walnuts
✔️Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
✔️Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
✔️Garlic, turmeric & ginger (mixed up with some lemon, honey & chilli make an awesome dressing!)
✖️Refined carbohydrates - think white bread, white pasta
✖️Processed foods & meats
✖️Deep fried foods