Are you inflamed – achy, sniffly and tired?

Find out how to spring into action with my six anti-inflammatory secrets

Are you often achy, sniffling, coughing or just tired all the time? If so, watch out. Pollen may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, tipping you into hay fever. But whether or not you get hay fever, inflammation underlies most diseases and food intolerances, slows you down and takes the edge off life, leaving you feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle. I’d like to show you how to anti-inflame yourself by giving you Polyphenol Power and an Antioxidant Edge!

Before doing so I need you to understand why inflammation triggers so many of the health problems we want to avoid.

When you injure yourself, pick up an infection or are exposed to something you’re intolerant to, the most common being pollen, wheat or dairy, your body tries to protect you by triggering inflammation. This happens because your cells start producing inflammatory cytokines with strange names (TNF, IL1, IL6 and others) and other inflammatory chemicals such as histamine and C-reactive protein (CRP). These gee up your immune system, trigger hot flushes and fever and put your gut-associated immune system on red alert.

If your immune system gets stuck in this ‘emergency mode’, you can develop an auto-immune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, underactive thyroid (Hashimoto’s), SLE and even multiple sclerosis. Also, if your fat cells are chocabloc full, your immune system can see them as the enemy and attack.

All this inflammation produces flu-like symptoms, body and joint aches and constant tiredness. Yes, the symptoms of flu are produced by your body, not by the virus. Of course, if you’re allergic to pollen, or eat a food you’re intolerant to, that can be the last straw, tipping you into inflammation. All those symptoms of hayfever – blocked nose, headache, itchy eyes, body aches – are just inflammation.

Calm down and take back control

You can, however, switch off this constant state of inflammation. That’s what painkiller drugs such as ibuprofen are designed to do. But they have their side-effects in gut damage so you have to be careful.

There’s a better way. I call it the two step.

1. Stop doing the things that cause inflammation.

2. Start eating and drinking the things that switch off inflammation naturally.

The things that cause inflammation are:

• exposure to allergens and food intolerances;

• too much alcohol, which damages the gut and taxes the liver, which plays a critical role in inflammation;

• airborne pollution including smoking;

• excess weight;

• misalignment and pressure on joints.

As hay fever season is approaching, it’s worth pointing out that the three most common intolerances are grass pollen, wheat and milk. I have a theory, unproven but which many people have reported effective, that these three which are all connected to grass, may have something in common and if you avoid wheat and milk when the pollen count is high, you may not reach the tipping point for symptoms. Also, increase my six favourite anti-inflammatories, especially quercitin from red onions.

My six top anti-inflammatory secrets

Olive oil

Good quality olive oil, rich in polyphenols, has so many benefits. Olives provide oleocanthals, which are potent anti-inflammatory painkillers. They give good olive oil that peppery ‘bite’ at the back of the throat and have been shown to lower inflammatory markers (IL-1, IL-6, TNFα) and raise NO (nitric oxide) in a recent study.

But there’s another hero ingredient in good quality olive oil – a polyphenol called hydroxytyrosol. This is an extremely potent antioxidant which, among other things, protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, thus also lowering it,...

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