What Is an Anti Inflammatory Diet?
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Is inflammation a bad thing?
Inflammation is not a bad thing! It is actually an important process which is part of how your body protects you. This process fights against things that harm the body, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. inflammation includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area.
In this article first I’m going to cover what chronic inflammation is. Then we’ll look at the components of an anti inflammatory diet and how to incorporate it in your daily regime.
It is the chronic or “silent” kind of inflammation that is your body’s proinflammatory response. As its name suggests chronic inflammation persists at a low level below the pain threshold. It leaves your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation has a negative impact on your tissues and organs and leads to several chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cancer.
The Connection Between Diet and Inflammation
The choices you make at the grocery store can have an impact on the amount of inflammation in your body. Scientists are still unraveling how food affects the body’s inflammatory processes, but they know a few things. In the past several years, changes in dietary patterns have been contributing to inflammation and an increase in inflammatory conditions. Specific dietary trends linked to the increase in silent inflammation include:
Excessive Sugar intake
Increased use of industrial seed oils (omega-6 fatty acids) and refined carbohydrates
Decreased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids
Excessive use of red meat
Processed food (soda, burgers, chips, etc.), to name a few
inflammatory processed meats
Research shows that what you eat can affect the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)—a marker for inflammation—in your blood. That could be because some foods like processed sugars help release inflammatory messengers that can raise the risk of chronic inflammation. Other foods like fruits and veggies help your body fight against oxidative stress, which can trigger inflammation.
The good news is that foods that are anti-inflammatory tend to be the same foods that can help keep you healthy in other ways, too. So eating with inflammation in mind doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive.
What Does an Anti Inflammatory Diet Consist of?
The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on the consumption of anti-inflammatory nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and an abundance of phytonutrient-rich plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. The diet also restricts the intake of potentially pro-inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates and saturated or trans-fats.
In addition, the glycemic load (GL) and the composition of omega fatty acids in the diet can impact inflammation. Therefore, two of the most important aspects of the anti-inflammatory diet include maintaining a stable glycemic response and a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.
Eat more plants. Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs. So eating a rainbow of fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes is the best place to start.
Focus on antioxidants. They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage. They’re found in colorful fruits and veggies like berries, leafy greens, beets and avocados, as well as beans and lentils, whole grains, ginger, turmeric and green tea.
Get your Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s play a role in regulating your body’s inflammatory process and could help regulate pain related to inflammation. Find these healthy fats in fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as smaller amounts in walnuts, pecans, ground flaxseed and soy.
Eat less red meat. Red meat can be pro-inflammatory. Start by setting short term but realistic goals. Try substituting your lunchtime beef with fish, nuts or organic soy-based protein a few times a week.
Cut the processed stuff. Sugary cereals and drinks, deep-fried food, and pastries are all pro-inflammatory offenders. They can contain plenty of unhealthy fats that are linked to inflammation. But eating whole fruits, veggies, grains and beans can be quick if you prep ahead for multiple meals.
The key to a successful anti-inflammatory diet is to regulate blood glucose levels and focus your diet on anti-inflammatory plant-based foods and omega-3 fatty acids. To learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet and get your free 7 day meal plan click here.