The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce chronic low-grade inflammation, an important risk factor in a number of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and healthy fats.
Overview As a result of lifestyle factors such as stress and lack of exercise, chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system releases chemicals that are meant to fight bacterial and viral infections and injuries, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight. Since our foods affect the level of inflammation in our bodies, it is believed that the anti-inflammatory diet reduces chronic inflammation and helps prevent or treat the following conditions: allergies , Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis , asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome and stroke.
Types of Foods to Eat Research suggests that people with high intakes of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and fish may have a reduced risk of inflammatory diseases. In addition, substances found in some foods (especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) appear to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Foods rich in antioxidants include: • Berries (like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) • Cherries • Apples • Artichokes • Avocados • Dark green leafy vegetables (like kale, spinach and kale) • Sweet potatoes • Broccoli • Walnuts (like walnuts, almonds, walnuts, walnuts ) • Beans (such as kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans) • Whole grains (such as oatmeal and brown rice) • Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include: ♦ Blue fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies) ♦ Flaxseed ♦ Walnuts ♦ Omega-3 fortified foods (including eggs and milk) There is also evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric and garlic can help relieve inflammation.
Foods to Avoid Omega-6 fatty acids (a type of essential fatty acid found in a wide range of foods) are known to increase the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Since omega-6 fatty acids help maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and promote brain function, you should not remove them completely from your diet. However, it is important to balance the intake of omega-6 fatty acids with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids to keep inflammation under control. Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids include: ♣ Meat ♣ Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter and ice cream) ♣ Margarine ♣ Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybeans, peanuts and cottonseed oil) Instead of vegetable oils, choose oils such as olives and avocados, and studies show that a high Intake of foods with high glycemic index such as sugar and refined grains, such as those found in white bread and many processed foods can accelerate inflammation. Avoid sugary drinks, refined carbohydrates, desserts and processed snacks.
The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Growing research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet may play a key role in many health problems. One study evaluated the association between inflammation from diet (measured by an inflammatory index for diet) and atherosclerosis (accumulation of plaque in the arteries) in women older than 70 years. The researchers found that diet-inflammatory index scores were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and heart disease-related death.
Meal ideas Breakfast: breakfast smoothie, chia bun, oatmeal. Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon. Sandwiches: fresh blueberries, apple and nut butter salad, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole. Drinks: ginger and turmeric, soy milk, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric, green tea. Tips for following an anti- inflammatory diet • Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables every day • Limit your intake of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, while increasing your intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed , walnuts and oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring) • Replace red meat with healthier protein sources such as lean chicken, fish, soy, beans and lentils. Swap margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts and seeds. • Instead of choosing refined grains, choose high-fiber whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, bread and pasta that show whole grains as the first ingredient • Instead of seasoning your food with salt, you can enhance the taste with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic , ginger and turmeric.
Choose from a selection of these delicious antioxidant-rich foods
can help reduce inflammation in combination with exercise and
good night’s sleep, which can improve inflammatory markers and
possibly reduce the risk of many diseases.