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Anti-Inflammatory Diet (Indian Version)

Indian Diet For Inflammation Management.

Inflammation is a confusing word most people use without knowing what it actually means.

Let me give you an example: If you accidentally fall and hurt your knee while playing outside, your body will send special cells to that area to help it heal. Notice the scar and pus formation around a healing wound? These are those special cells working their magic! These cells will cause the area to become red, swollen, and maybe a little painful. This is what we call inflammation.

what is inflammation

Even though it might not feel great, inflammation is actually a good thing because it helps your body heal faster. Once the cut or scrape is all healed up, the inflammation will go away and your knee will be back to normal.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, inflammation can occur in response to a wide range of stimuli, including,

  1. Infections,
  2. Injuries, and
  3. Exposure to certain substances.

When inflammation occurs, the body's immune system sends white blood cells to the affected area. These cells release chemicals that help to remove any harmful bacteria and repair any damage that has occurred.

While inflammation can be a helpful response in some situations, it can also be harmful if it becomes chronic.

Chronic (long- lasting) inflammation has been linked to a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can also contribute to a number of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Chronic inflammation can occur when the immune system continues to respond even after the initial threat has been eliminated. This can lead to damage to healthy tissues and organs, which can increase the risk of disease.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, including:

  • Poor diet,
  • Lack of exercise,
  • Auto- immune conditions,
  • Bad gut- health, and,
  • Stress.

Adopting healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress can help to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation.

How do you test for inflammation?

Testing for inflammation can be an important part of diagnosing and managing a range of health conditions.

There are several tests that can be used to measure inflammation levels in the body, including blood tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic tools.

Blood tests are the most common way to test for inflammation. These tests measure the levels of various markers in the blood that are associated with inflammation.

Blood test for inflammation

Some of the most commonly measured inflammatory markers include,

  1. C-reactive protein (CRP),
  2. CBC,
  3. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and,
  4. Procalcitonin.

CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation. It is often used to assess the severity of inflammation in the body and can be used to monitor a range of conditions, including infections, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

A CBC panel is a complete blood work, including the number of white- blood cells present in the body. White- blood cells are released as a responce to inflammation in the body.

ESR, on the other hand, is a blood test that can indicate the presence of inflammation. Elevated ESR levels are often associated with inflammation, though other factors can also cause them.

Procalcitonin is another marker that can be used to test for inflammation. It is produced by the body in response to bacterial infections and can be used to distinguish bacterial infections from other causes of inflammation.

In addition to blood tests, imaging studies can also be used to evaluate inflammation in the body. For example,

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to detect inflammation in the joints, while,
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans can be used to evaluate inflammation in the lungs or other organs.

Other diagnostic tools, such as stool tests and urinalysis, can also be used to evaluate inflammation levels in the body. These tests are often conducted to identify the underlying cause of inflammation, such as an infection or an autoimmune disorder.

In summary, there are several tests that can be used to evaluate inflammation levels in the body, including blood tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic tools. Besides the same, by identifying the underlying cause of inflammation, healthcare providers can develop a targeted treatment plan to manage inflammation and improve overall health.

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Acute inflammation is a short-term response that occurs when the body needs to protect itself from harm. For instance, when you catch a viral infection that lasts for a few days.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a long-term process that can contribute to a range of health problems. For instance, when someone is suffering from an auto- immune condition.

causes for chronic inflammation

According to Harvard Health, chronic inflammation can occur when the immune system continues to respond even after the initial threat has been eliminated.

The immune system ends up attacking the organs itself mistaking the same for an infection. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of health problems, including

  • Heart disease,
  • Diabetes, and,
  • Cancer.

It can also contribute to a number of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Managing chronic inflammation often involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause of inflammation.

This may involve lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy circadian cycle, getting regular exercise, and managing stress. In some cases, medication may be necessary to control inflammation and prevent further damage to tissues and organs.

How Does Inflammation Manifest In Different Parts of The body.

Chronic inflammation can affect different parts of the body and contribute to a wide range of health problems. Here are some ways chronic inflammation can affect your health:

  1. Joints: Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to joint pain and stiffness, and can lead to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  1. Digestive system: Chronic inflammation can damage the lining of the digestive tract and contribute to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut syndrome.

  2. Heart: Chronic inflammation can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  3. Lungs: Chronic inflammation in the lungs can lead to conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

  4. Brain: Chronic inflammation has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

  5. Skin: Chronic inflammation can contribute to skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

  6. Kidneys: Chronic inflammation can damage the kidneys and contribute to conditions such as chronic kidney disease.

  7. Liver: Chronic inflammation in the liver can lead to liver damage and contribute to conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

  8. Pancreas: Chronic inflammation can damage the pancreas and contribute to conditions such as pancreatitis and diabetes.

  9. Blood sugar: Chronic inflammation can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

  10. Mood: Chronic inflammation has been linked to depression and anxiety.

  11. Sleep: Chronic inflammation can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to insomnia.

  12. Weight: Chronic inflammation can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

By identifying and treating the underlying causes of chronic inflammation, healthcare providers can help to manage inflammation and reduce the risk of disease.

Five Ways To Reduce Inflammation in the Body.

While anti- inflammatory drugs can temporarily reduce inflammation, these should be considered as the last resort. NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs come with the side effects of kidney damage, risk to internal bleeding and even carry the risk of heart diseases.

Instead, explore the use of lifestyle and nutritional changes for disease management. Nutritional changes can include the consumption of certain herbs, spices and super- plants, while lifestyle changes can include working on your sleep habits, gut health etc. Let's explore some changes you can bring about here:

1) Increase Fiber- Rich Foods:

Diet plays a significant role in preventing and reducing inflammation in the body, and increasing fibre-rich foods is one effective way to accomplish this.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods that cannot be digested or absorbed by the body. Instead, it passes through the digestive system largely intact, providing a range of benefits. One such benefit is that it acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut and promoting a healthy gut microbiome.

Foods for inflammation

The better the gut, the lesser the inflammation. Inflammation is also a direct result of bad inflammation causing gut microbiota. By increasing fiber intake, you are promoting the growth of good gut- microbiome and reducing the growth of inflammatory bacteria.

Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Incorporating more of these foods into your diet can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

It is of importance to note that while fruits and vegetables do have fiber, it is often not enough as they are so high in water content. You want to consume whole grains and legumes as your primary source of fiber.

It's recommended that adults consume at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day, but most people fall short of this goal. Gradually increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods can help you achieve this target and reap the benefits of a more anti-inflammatory diet.

The better way to calculate your fiber intake is making sure you consume:

  • three servings of lentils,
  • two servings of grains,
  • five servings of vegetables, and,
  • four servings of fruits a day.

A servings size is roughly a fistful.

2) Reduce High-Fat and High-Sugar Meals:

Reducing high-fat and high-sugar meals is a key way to decrease inflammation in the body.

Consuming these types of foods can lead to weight gain, which is associated with chronic inflammation. Additionally, these foods can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to an inflammatory response.

Here are some examples of how different types of high-fat and high-sugar foods can contribute to inflammation:

  1. Sugar: Consuming excess sugar has been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Sugar in the body triggers the release of pro- inflammatory cells, thus, keep you in a chronically inflamed state.

  2. Saturated Fats: Saturated fats, are the type of fats predominantly found in animal meat and dairy products. The more the consumption of the same, the more inflammation rises. One of the key lifestyle changes for auto- immune management would be to drop the consumption of animal products.

  3. Trans Fats: Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that have been chemically altered. They are commonly used in food products to extend the shelf life of packed foods. These fats are commonly found in processed foods such as fried foods, baked goods, and snacks. Trans fats have been linked to chronic inflammation in the body. If you eat 'chakna' often, these can be a cause for inflammation in your body.

  4. Processed Foods: Processed foods are often high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and other inflammatory ingredients. In addition, these foods are often low in nutrients and fiber, which can exacerbate inflammation.

While the above might seem like a huge list, it really is not. Making small lifestyle changes can help you develop the habit of eating clean foods itself. For instance, just making sure you do not shop for packaged foods and instead make snacks like healthy laddoo's at home.

Choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lentils can help to promote overall health and reduce inflammation.

3) Get Enough Sleep:

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining overall health and reducing inflammation in the body.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause an increase in inflammatory cytokines (cells released when there is inflammation in the body). Inadequate sleep has been shown to be associated with increased inflammation, and chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

Sleep loss can also cause more cravings for sugar, which in turn will lead to more inflammation. Read this to understand more:

There are several ways to improve sleep quality, including,

  • developing a consistent sleep routine,
  • indulging in a tech- free hour before sleeping,
  • sunlight exposure in the morning,
  • avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and,
  • creating a comfortable sleep environment, etc.

If you are experiencing trouble sleeping or suspect you may have a sleep disorder, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider for guidance on treatment options.

Getting enough sleep is crucial for reducing inflammation and maintaining overall health. Developing healthy sleep habits can help improve sleep quality, reduce inflammation, and prevent chronic diseases.

Instead of going on complaining that you struggle with sleep or have a busy lifestyle, work with a sleep specialist and fix your sleep schedule for once and all.

4) Consume Specific Spices:

Spices have long been used in traditional medicine for their potential health benefits. Recent studies have also shown that many spices have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Turmeric, for example, contains curcumin, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that curcumin can help reduce inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.

spices for inflammation management

Ginger is another spice with anti-inflammatory properties. It contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

Cinnamon is also believed to have anti-inflammatory effects. It has been found to reduce inflammation in conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Other spices that may have anti-inflammatory effects include garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cloves. It's worth noting that while incorporating these spices into your diet may have potential benefits, they should not be considered a substitute for medical treatment for any health condition.

5) Practice Conscious Sunlight Exposure:

Vitamin D is produced in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. This vitamin is essential for a healthy immune system, and research has shown that vitamin D deficiency can lead to chronic inflammation. In addition to boosting vitamin D levels, sunlight also helps to reduce inflammation by activating the body's natural anti-inflammatory pathways.

In addition to vitamin D, sunlight exposure also has other health benefits. It can improve mood, promote healthy sleep patterns, and lower blood pressure. Sunlight exposure has also been shown to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

I suggest just spending some time outdoors in the sunlight early morning, upon waking up. This helps naturally set your circadian cycle, helps you sleep better, thus reducing cravings for sugary foods which lead to inflammation. I personally practice 15- 20 minutes of sunlight exposure early morning.

What type of Indian food Causes Inflammation In The Body?

Certain types of Indian food can be the cause for inflammation in the body. Avoiding the same is the fastest way to bring down inflammation. Eating them daily only leads to chronic inflammation that leads to auto- immune and lifestyle diseases. Lets discuss the foods you must avoid:

  • Dairy:

Dairy is a staple in many Indian dishes, but it leads to inflammation, especially in people with diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lactose intolerance is prevalent among Indians, and dairy can worsen the symptoms of IBS, leading to bloating, cramps, diarrhoea, and other digestive issues. Ghee is problematic too. Watch this to understand more:

A dairy-free diet can reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and relieve IBS symptoms. Dairy alternatives are easily available int he market or can be made at home. Look into changing the milk you are using for rice milk, oat milk, almond milk etc.

  • Meat/Saturated fats:

Non-vegetarian dishes like chicken, fish, and red meat, often consumed with butter, cream, or ghee, can lead to inflammation in the body.

Meat by itself is high in saturated fats, which can short-circuit immune cells and trigger inflammation. A high intake of saturated fat can cause insulin resistance and contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease. Reducing meat consumption or opting for plant protein sources like lentils, beans, or tofu can help reduce inflammation.

  • Sugar:

Sugar is commonly used in Indian cuisine to enhance flavour, but it can trigger inflammation in the body.

Most people might switch sugar for jaggery, brown sugar or even honey. All of these are equally inflammatory and must be avoided.

High sugar intake can cause an immune response that produces pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to chronic inflammation. Moreover, it can cause insulin resistance and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Lifestyle Changes for Inflammation Reduction.

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce inflammation in your body.

  • Switch to a WFPB (whole- food, plant- based) Diet.

One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation is to switch to a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet.

Studies have shown that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can reduce inflammation markers in the body. On the other hand, diets high in processed foods, sugar, and animal products can increase inflammation.

  • Try TRE or Time- Restricted Eating

Time-restricted eating (TRE) or fasting for 12-14 hours has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

When you fast, your body goes into a state of autophagy, where it cleans out damaged cells and reduces inflammation. Fasting can reduce the number of inflammatory cells in the blood and improve markers of inflammation.

Human's are not designed to eat 24/7 and continuously produce digestive enzymes. Giving the digestive system a break for a minimum of 12- 14 hours, can help the body focus on managing inflammation and flush out unwanted toxins. Aim to finish your last meal by 7 pm and only start eating by 9- 10 am the next morning. Water consumption during the fasting window is highly recommended.

  • Introduce Low-Impact Physical Training

Moderate exercise can also act as an anti-inflammatory. One study found that a single session of moderate exercise can suppress inflammation in the body.

Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation-related diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Please make sure to start only low to moderate intensity training. High intensity exercises have been known to be a cause for inflammation.

  • Practice Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce inflammation markers in the body. A study found that individuals who practised mindfulness meditation had lower levels of inflammation-related genes compared to those who did not meditate.

Additionally, another study found that meditation can reduce the production of a cytokine that are released as a response to inflammation.

By incorporating these changes into your daily routine, you can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Superfoods for Inflammation Reduction.

Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that can provide numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body. Here are some superfoods that have been shown to help reduce inflammation:

  • Avocadoes

Avocadoes are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

They are also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E and carotenoids, that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that incorporating avocados into your diet can help reduce markers of inflammation in the body.

Aim to include 1/2 an avocado to your diet per day.

  • Amla

Amla is more anti- inflammatory than any other fruit/ vegetable on the planet. Amla contains compounds called polyphenols, such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, and quercetin, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Studies have shown that amla extract can reduce inflammation in various parts of the body, including the joints, liver, and lungs. It has also been shown to improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Aim to consume one amla per day.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies have shown that curcumin can help reduce inflammation in the body and may even be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs. It is important to note that turmeric is best absorbed in the body when combined with black pepper. Aim to add a pinch of turmeric and black pepper to your meals everyday.

  • Garlic

Garlic is a member of the allium family and is a great source of sulfur compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Studies have found that consuming garlic can help reduce markers of inflammation in the body. It is also a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. Especially when falling sick, aim to chop 2-3 blobs of garlic, leave it sitting in the counter for 20 minutes, then swallow raw with water. Resting the garlic after chopping is very important for allium to be released.

  • Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and collard greens, are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.

They are also high in fibre, which can help promote gut health and reduce inflammation. A study found that eating leafy greens was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Aim to consume 80- 100 grams of leafy greens per day.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, contain sulforaphane, a very powerful phytonutrient compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body.

They are also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, that can help reduce inflammation. Studies have found that consuming cruciferous vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

Indian Meal Plan for Inflammation Management.

Here are some of my favourite recipes for inflammation management. Please note, nutritional and lifestyle modifications must be customised and changes from person to person. The below recipes only give you insights with regard to the type of food you must include to manage inflammation. Please reach out to me personally, by filling in the free consultation form below, for a customised meal and fitness plan.

anti inflammatory foods
amla for inflammation
broccoli for inflammation

Do fill in the free consultation form below and reach out to talk to me directly.

Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.

I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.

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About Roshni Sanghvi

Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.