Inflammation is a part of your body’s defence system to fight against any invasion of harmful microorganisms. The term inflammation might sound scary, but it’s not an alarming phenomenon. However, in some instances, the immune system stimulates a faulty inflammatory response, resulting in chronic health conditions. The best possible way you can combat unwanted inflammation is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Implementing an anti-inflammatory diet will reduce inflammation and offer a steady flow of energy to the body through an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, fibre, and phytonutrients.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet: An Overview
Healthcare professionals and nutritionists suggest an anti-inflammatory diet for people diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, or gut disorders. We all know inflammation gets characterised by redness, heat, pain, and swelling. It acts as the body’s healing response, bringing more protection to the injured or infected area. However, when the occurrence of inflammation serves no purpose, it will damage the body cells and cause illnesses. Besides stress, lack of physical activity, genetics, toxic exposure and diet play a massive role in inflammatory conditions. Hence, learning to incorporate certain anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is the best strategy to reduce long-term health risks.
Inflammation is a complex condition, and an anti-inflammatory diet fits the context of managing chronic inflammation through healthy food choices. An anti-inflammatory diet requires a lot of modification in the regular meal plan. The diet contains food that creates lower inflammatory responses by switching sugary and refined carbs with whole and nutrient-dense foods. Besides clean and clear food choices, you should implement multifaceted plans, including medication, stress management, and other factors to solve the condition.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although people can lose weight on an anti-inflammatory diet, it is not specifically a weight-loss program. Nor is this diet an eating plan to stay on for a limited period. Instead, an anti-inflammatory diet is a way of selecting and preparing anti-inflammatory foods based on how they can help you maintain optimum health.
Foods to Eat in a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet limits the consumption of fried foods, refined grains, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, and processed meats. So, if you looking to switch over to an anti-inflammatory diet, below are some specific anti-inflammatory foods.
Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, are packed with antioxidants that show anti-inflammatory effects to keep you safe from chronic conditions.
A study says berry (and their products) offers dietary polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins, to modulate inflammatory status.
Fish is another superfood in a natural anti-inflammatory diet. It is rich in protein and omega-3-fatty acids that prevent auto-immune and metabolic disorders. Fish, particularly fatty fish low in mercury, offer the most anti-inflammatory proteins.
Leafy green vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that effectively fight inflammation. You can consume it in juices and smoothies for maximum benefits.
Lycopene in tomatoes ensures to fight against inflammation and acts as a versatile ingredient in salads, in dips, and can even be consumed raw. However, make sure to eat tomatoes in moderation. Read more about the side effects of tomatoes in this article.
Avocados have monounsaturated fats that reduce cholesterol and soothe inflammation. It also provides vitamin K, E, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Nuts and Seeds
Eating a handful of nuts and seeds rich in protein and omega-3-fatty acids helps reduce inflammation and heart disease risk. Some healthiest nuts to snack on are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews.
Sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are on the menu for our gut microorganisms since their fibre converts to anti-inflammatory butyrate.
Ginger is abundant in active anti-inflammatory constituents, such as phenolic and terpene compounds. It can ease the effect of severe inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. One of the major benefits is that ginger blocks the action of pro-inflammatory cytokines, among other anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric, the golden spice, prevents chronic inflammatory signals, easing the effect and preventing joint damage, arthritis, liver damage, and heart disease.
The darker the beets’ colour, the higher their anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming it in salads, juices, or smoothies will repair the cell damage.
Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
Olive and coconut oil are a powerhouse of antioxidants and serve as a great way to combat inflammation that might cause arthritis, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Cocoa in dark chocolate has antioxidants that lower inflammation and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It is also rich in zinc and flavonols, boosting immunity and keeping your heart healthy.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Inflammation can happen for various reasons, and poor diet is a predominant trigger. To keep the effect at bay, make sure to avoid the consumption of the following food sources.
- Refined Carbohydrates: White bread, pastries, pasta, sweets, and breakfast cereals.
- Fried Foods: Foods that are rich in trans fatty acids and saturated fats.
- Red Meat: Burgers, steak, and processed meat high in saturated fats.
- Soda and Sweetened Drinks: Drinks that have added sugar will increase the chance of inflammation.
- Trans-fatty Acids: Chips, baked goods, frozen pizza, and salted popcorn might increase the bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Reference Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan
You can incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the mini-meals in between. By subscribing to HealthifyMe, it is simpler to receive individualised nutrition based on your lifestyle and dietary choices.
Here is what a daily anti-inflammatory diet plan could look like:
- Breakfast: A bowl of oatmeal with sliced strawberries, unsweetened peanut butter, and chia seeds.
- Afternoon Snack: Green tea and mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio, pecans)
- Lunch: Salad with tomato, chickpeas, avocado, and salmon made with olive oil.
- Evening Snack: Unsalted almonds with an orange
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with sautéed spinach and sweet potato
Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Diets
The eating pattern of an anti-inflammatory diet offers various benefits, such as:
Emphasises Healthy Eating
The anti-inflammatory diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, ensuring a good balance and promoting healthy eating habits.
The diet is well-liked for its variety of foods, which range from berries and oranges to tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables. Due to this, you can add versatility to your cooking.
The foods you consume in an anti-inflammatory diet will lower the risk of chronic inflammation through antioxidants.
A recent study has found that the diet can aid in weight loss and reduce inflammation in those with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Long-term Better Health
A nutrient-rich diet prevents heart disease, stroke, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
The HealthifyMe Note
An adequately structured anti-inflammatory diet will help you reduce the underlying causes of inflammation, reducing the risk of various health disorders. Anti-inflammatory foods are unprocessed and unadulterated ingredients, obtained straight from mother nature, preserved with nutritional value, and positively impact immune health.
Downsides of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There are no massive downsides associated with an anti-inflammatory diet. But making significant lifestyle and diet changes can be challenging and require more effort. Here are some of the downsides of this diet.
Adherence is Tough
If your current diet is full of inflammatory foods such as processed foods, red meat, and dairy products, you may undergo a difficult adjustment period. However, adhering to each step will make you live better and healthier despite the struggle.
May Have Allergens
The anti-inflammatory foods might have allergens, including nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and grains.
Insufficient consumption of dairy products might result in vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.
Tips for Carving a Consistent Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan
If you are battling inflammation or related disorders, the first thing you want to do is make changes in your eating habits and choices. Even though the process is quite tricky, being consistent by implementing a few simple tips will help you reduce the condition.
- The popular plate method covers non-starchy veggies, lean protein, and healthy carbs.
- Include colourful fruits and vegetables with excellent nutritional value.
- Swap refined grains for whole grains by adding extra flavour and an extra anti-inflammatory response.
- Eat more plant-based protein food sources like beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
- Limit the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, focus on drinking plenty of water.
- Regular physical exercise will lower the response to inflammatory factors.
- Physical and emotional stress can cause inflammation. Hence be consistent with quality sleeping schedules.
Inflammation can happen quickly on an ultra-processed diet. Therefore, you need to choose a diet based on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, simply-prepared lean meat and other proteins. Talk to a health professional before going on an anti-inflammatory diet. The right eating plan and regular exercise can help you maintain optimal health and overall well-being.