The warm weather is on the horizon, which means, bathing suit season is just around the corner. Many of you are wondering how do I get rid of this perpetual winter bloat I carry around year after year? You think, have I really gained this much weight or are all of my clothes suspiciously shrinking? What exactly is the story behind what we pretend is a deceiving trick that our laundry machines are playing on us? It is time to consider the real possible offender: inflammatory foods.
You have probably heard of the expression, “you are what you eat” and that phrase still holds true. However, in reality it’s more “you are what you eat, drink, what you breathe, put on your skin and what you don’t excrete, to put it so eloquently. But for our purposes we will focus on your diet. Let’s break down the way these inflammatory foods work.
As you eat large amounts of inflammatory foods, it triggers your body’s level of cytokines (extremely inflammatory proteins) to increase as a protective mechanism in keeping your body in a state of health. These proteins act as a red flag for your body to fight off a foreign invader. This occurs just as any other foreign danger is identified within the body, signaling by the inflammatory response- only this time it is expressed as the bloating you see around your gut!
A key component in helping to avoid gut inflammation is to avoid or eliminate all inflammatory foods. Many of the main triggers of inflammation are artificial sweeteners, refined flours, refined sugars, trans fats, and excess amounts of omega-6 fatty acids such as corn oil and soybean oil. These foods lack the health benefits that you should be seeking on a daily basis and many are found in processed foods and fast food chain items.
Another key component in order to reduce gut inflammation is to make sure you eat enough anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods possess an element that allows them to counter-act the damage being done to the body by inflammatory foods. The goal to this is making sure that your diet consists of enough omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, canola oil and flax seed, as well as sufficient fiber everyday. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is a great start to working towards a healthier you. A proper balance between omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids is essential in the diet. A few anti-inflammatory food choices that you may want to pick up at the grocery store on your next trip are; berries, walnuts, almonds, avocados, salmon, herring, and flax seed.
Cooking your own meals at home allows you to make much wiser food decisions as well as providing an opportunity to play around with different herbs and spices that you may have never used before. Turmeric and ginger are both excellent, naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents. Cinnamon, garlic, thyme, basil, rosemary, and curry powder are also wonderful ingredients that can offer this property and will add that extra kick you were looking for in any meal.
Now that you have a few keys to success, you have the power to feel better and eliminate some of that unwanted bloating this summer. Remember, you are what you eat, so why eat foods that lead to bloating? Take charge of your body and vitality!