Have you ever put on your favorite top and thought to yourself, “There is no way I could have possibly gained that much weight in the past few weeks?” The good news is, you are probably correct! Then what exactly is the story behind this deceiving trick that our laundry machines are playing on us? We would love to believe that the dryer once again shrunk our clothes and that it possibly can not be our own fault. The possible offender: inflammatory foods.

You have probably heard of the expression, “you are what you eat,” and they were not kidding! As you consume copious amounts of inflammatory foods it triggers your body’s level of cytokines (exceptionally inflammatory proteins) to increase as a protection mechanism in keeping your body healthy. Cytokines act as a red flag for your body to fight off a foreign danger; and this occurs just as any other foreign danger is signaled by the inflammatory response- only this time it is expressed as the bloating you see around your gut!

A major 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 do not offer your body the health benefits that you should be seeking on a daily basis. Many of these poor food options are found in processed foods and fast food restaurants. It is highly advised to avoid eating meals out or consuming processed food.

Another component of reducing gut inflammation is making sure you consume enough anti-inflammatory foods.  Anti-inflammatory foods possess a component that allows them to counter-act the damage being done to the body by inflammatory foods. The key 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 anti-inflammatory food suggestions 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.

Many local farmers markets have great options for fresh fruits and vegetables that would be great to add to your diet. 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!

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