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An Anti-flammatory Diet

Updated: May 20, 2022

Learn which foods combat inflammation.

What is the anti-inflammatory diet

  • The anti-inflammatiory diet is not a specific “diet” per say. You don’t count calories and and you aren’t forced to measure everything you eat. This is more of a style of eating that focuses on more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, and use of omega 3 and spices to help decrease inflammation, while decreasing or eliminating foods like red meat, processed foods, and alcohol.

  • Diets like the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and the Whole30 diet are examples of anti-inflammatory diets.

  • The main purpose of this diet, or way of eating, is to do what the name implies, fight off inflammation. Those with auto-immune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain syndromes all tend to have higher baseline levels of inflammation than the general population.

Why it works

  • Plant based foods have been shown to be good sources of anti-oxidents. Anti-oxidents are molecules that help eliminate what are called free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the body through normal metabolic functions, but also can be created by stress, smoking and by certain chemicals. Free radicals lead to cell damage that then can lead to increased inflammation.

  • Omgea-3 work by blocking enzymes that help produce inflammation. Because of this some doctors recommend taking a supplement. Omega-3 are very common in fish and seafood, but can also be found in chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

What foods to eat

  • So what foods are considered anti-inflammatory?

  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collards

  • Fatty fish like salmon, markel, and tuna

  • Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and cherries

  • Olive oil

  • Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat breads

  • These tend to be higher in fiber which is also linked to decreasing inflammation

  • Herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and cloves.

Special note:

Nightshade vegetables: There has been talk about the nightshade vegetables causing inflammation. These are foods like peppers, potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes. There has been little evidence to prove that these foods do in fact cause inflammation. Every person is different so some people may react differently to different foods. A way to test if these foods are inflammatory for you is to remove them from your diet for 2-3 weeks and notice if you feel any different.

Carbohydrates, gluten, and diary- for some these can lead to inflammation just like the nightshade vegetables. Elimination of these foods can help determine if they create more inflammation for you. Not everyone is the same, so what seems to increase pain for one person may not necessarily increase pain for another.

Tips on how to incorporate into life

  • As stated earlier, avoiding highly processed foods, alcohol, red meats, and added sugars are important to decrease inflammation

  • In the world we live in today most people are busy and don’t have time to have home cooked meals or whole foods on hand.

  • Remember that progress and changes are made through small steps.

  • For dinner, you can make a meal and save the leftovers for another night. This leads to less cooking and less clean up!

  • Try replacing buying lunch with a home-cooked lunch.

  • Buy different fruits and vegetables at the grocery store each week to have on hand.

  • Cut back on soda and coffee and teas that have added sugar. Try replacing with water or sparkling water.

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