Three Unsuspecting Food Groups that May Increase Inflammation

When it comes to inflammation, there are often SO many contributing factors. I bet you never thought some of the things listed below could, in fact, be making your symptoms worse… When it comes to food, our bodies can become increasingly sensitive to various foods that are often touted as ‘miracle foods’. The message here is that while these foods definitely still have amazing properties, too much of anything can have the opposite effect.

If you’re feeling like you’re in a state of inflammation and that your body is under stress then addressing your diet is just one way to reduce symptoms. My team and I cover off food and diet in detail as part of the Inflammation Ninja On-demand eCourse. But for now, consider how you may be affected by some of the food groups we’ve listed below.

#1 Nuts

Nuts are super nutritious but can be highly inflammatory for anyone suffering from IBS like symptoms. Why so? Nuts (specifically raw nuts) contain moderate levels of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. These are nature’s way of ensuring the nuts can pass through the digestive system of an animal and still find their way back to the soil to continue to grow. The main issue with phytates is that when they are ingested through nuts and seeds they can bind to dietary minerals in the body, slow absorption of nutrients and cause gas and bloating.

To reduce the anti-nutrient effects of phytic acid in nuts, try the following:

  • Soak nuts overnight with some vinegar or Greek yoghurt and then bake in the oven at the lowest temperature (60-80 degrees Celsius is ideal) for 10-12 hours. This activates the anti-nutrients in the skin and makes the nuts more digestible.
  • Soak nuts overnight with a dash of apple cider vinegar or greek yoghurt and then rinse thoroughly. Blitz with filtered water and strain to make nut milk.

Most nuts are also fairly rich in omega 6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s). Excess PUFAs are linked to inflammation in the body, especially when not balanced out by ample Omega 3’s (non-inflammatory fatty acids).

#2 Histamine-rich foods

Histamine is not commonly talked about but can cause huge inflammatory spikes in the body. Histamine is a chemical that is produced as an immune response in the body when it is exposed to allergens either internally or externally. Histamine is also raised when we are stressed. While histamine is a substance made by the body, it also comes naturally in many foods. When we get a build up of histamine in the body through stress, food, allergies OR a combination of all of these our histamine bucket can spill over resulting in a physiological response by the body.

Symptoms of histamine intolerance/overload include:

  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Itchy eyes/runny nose/congestion
  • Premenstrual cramping
  • Foggy head

Foods that are histamine rich:

This might surprise you but some of the “healthiest” foods are rich in histamine. If you think you might have a histamine sensitivity then it is worth cutting back on these foods for a month in order to see if you improve:

  • Leftover foods – any foods for longer than 2 hours will start releasing histamine
  • Alcohol
  • Pickled or canned foods
  • Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, beet kvass
  • Matured cheeses
  • Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages
  • Shellfish
  • Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Chocolates and other cocoa-based products
  • Vinegar
  • Processed sweet and salty snack foods
  • Yoghurts

#3 Lectins

Lectins are a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes. They are abundant in raw legumes and grains. They’re also found in dairy products and certain vegetables. While lectin content in food is fairly constant, the genetic modification of plants has created some discrepancies.

Lectin found in plant foods and legumes are nature’s natural defense against microorganisms, pests, and insects. And again, they can withstand the digestive tract of animals in order to go back into the soil. Genius but not great for us humans.

The trouble here is that lectins are incredibly difficult to digest by the human body. As a result of this, the human body can produce antibodies, resulting in the activation of the immune system and inflammation of the gut. This for lots of people can include cramping, pain, bloating and excessive gas.

While many foods contain lectins the ones you should keep an eye on are:

  • Grains – particularly wheat.
  • Nightshade fruits and vegetables – Such as white potatoes, tomatoes, goji berries eggplants, and capsicums.
  • Legumes – Red kidney beans, lentils, peas, soybeans, peanuts, and cashews.
  • Dairy products.

Did any of your favourite foods come up on that list? If you want more advice on how to eliminate inflammation from your life then check out my Inflammation Ninja eCourse.

Real Food. Happy Bodies. Happy Planet.

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