There are many different diet protocols that have gained popularity recently because they claim to not only help you lose weight but also inflammation. This claim leaves many wondering, what is inflammation and how do you know if you are experiencing it? We are all sensitive to the way certain foods affect our bodies. Some people bloat after eating grains, others have digestive problems after eating legumes; some people have skin conditions that flare up after eating dairy. Everyone experiences inflammation in different ways and that does not necessarily mean that they are allergic or would test as “allergic” to certain foods. But, they may be sensitive to foods and inflammation is simply a symptom of that sensitivity. If you have an autoimmune disease, those sensitivities may be even more pronounced and easily triggered. That is why many people with autoimmune disease are turning to an anti-inflammatory diet to help heal or treat their autoimmune disease.
There are many ways to mask or deal with the symptoms of autoimmune disease. But, medications only deal with the symptoms and not the root cause of the disease. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help you deal with the root, thus reducing or eliminating the symptoms altogether. Some people opt to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and others do a more stringent option: the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet. The focus of any anti-inflammatory diet is to completely remove foods from your diet that are common inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory diets often remove grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, processed foods, seed oils (vegetable oil, canola oil), alternative sweeteners, alcohol, and more. The diet may also restrict the consumptions of eggs, nuts, seeds, and nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and more. It is an elimination diet and after a pre-determined length of time, you can gradually begin to re-introduce foods one at a time to see if any specific foods trigger inflammation. For example, at the end of 30 days of complete elimination, you can reintroduce dairy products and see if they cause inflammation or a bad reaction of any kind. If they do not, you can probably reintroduce them to your diet. Then, you wait a week before reintroducing another food. If you have a bad reaction then you know what you should elimination from your diet to optimize your health. Most anti-inflammatory diets focus on eating very nutrient-dense foods that optimize gut health, hormone regulation, and immune system regulation so that you can live the healthiest life possible while still enjoying delicious, flavorful food. Before beginning any diet, it is important to seek the guidance and counsel of your physician. A naturopathic physician will be able to help you carefully tailor an anti-inflammatory eating plan that is well-rounded, healthy, and effective so that you can get on the road to better health.