Inflammatory and Anti-inflammatory Nutrition within the AIP Diet
The Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet is a dietary regimen aimed at reducing inflammation in the body while promoting the immune system and overall well-being. Every individual, and consequently, every digestive system, is unique. The consumption of foods has its own impact on each person therefore. For example, some individuals may be sensitive to certain foods that are generally considered anti-inflammatory, while these same foods may have a positive effect on others. In this blog, we will delve deeper into inflammatory and anti-inflammatory nutrition within the AIP diet.
What is anti-inflammatory nutrition?
Anti-inflammatory nutrition is food that helps the body reduce inflammation. Examples of foods with anti-inflammatory effects include fresh vegetables/fruits, grass-fed meat, healthy fats, and other foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances found in foods that have a protective effect against the so-called 'free radicals,' which have a negative effect on cells and tissues, potentially leading to inflammation. In addition to antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids are also important. The Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet can help reduce inflammation in the body.
AIP as an elimination diet
The AIP diet is designed as an elimination diet, where specific foods are excluded from the (daily) diet for a certain period. This is done to assess whether the diet can contribute to reducing inflammation in the body to make you feel better. It may be that in the initial phase, you may not tolerate some 'food reintroduction' very well, but in a later phase, it may be better absorbed. Purchase your phase card here and learn what you can and cannot eat in each phase.
Inflammatory nutrition: Food additives (E-numbers)
A characteristic of the AIP diet is that it includes many unprocessed foods. Therefore, food products with many so-called E-numbers are avoided. E-numbers are additives added to food to enhance certain properties such as color, taste, or shelf life. In individuals with a sensitive immune system, E-numbers may potentially cause an allergic reaction. For example, monosodium glutamate (E-621) is often used to enhance the flavor of food products, including canned soup, bouillon powder, or frozen pizza, among others. Someone who is sensitive to such an additive may experience symptoms such as headaches or fatigue.
Inflammatory nutrition: Refined sugars and salt
If someone with a sensitive immune system frequently consumes foods with inflammatory additives, it may lead to health issues. Commonly recognized foods that may cause complaints are products with (excessive) refined sugars and (excessive) salt. Foods with an abundance of sweeteners or salt are inflammatory. This is harmful because it stimulates the immune system to produce 'cytokines,' proteins produced by immune cells that are involved in the body's inflammatory responses. If someone consumes food with high levels of sugar and salt regularly, the body will produce more cytokines, potentially leading to various symptoms and even autoimmune diseases. Learn more about autoimmune diseases here.
More than just a diet
The AIP circle focuses on reducing stress and improving rest and sleep. Spend more time walking in nature, avoid (excessive) screen time on the computer, and refrain from eating too much before bedtime. All of these actions contribute to reducing inflammation levels and thereby alleviating symptoms. The AIP diet aims to achieve an anti-inflammatory effect through nutrition. However, the way individuals respond to food will vary from person to person. Every individual is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all dietary pattern. Nonetheless, it is important for everyone to be conscious of the quality of the foods they consume. Purchase your recipe book here and start eating healthily. This awareness will also lead to a healthier dietary pattern. The AIP diet circle can be supportive in this regard.