Discover our quick guide and a list of foods that fight inflammation for better health, increased energy, and possibly living a longer life.
Quick Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Foods That Fight Chronic Inflammation
Are you trying an anti-inflammatory diet for better health? Discover some quick tips and a list of foods to eat as you look for options on this popular lifestyle choice.
An anti-inflammatory diet is designed to help you lead a healthier life by eating foods that fight chronic inflammation. It uses your body's own mechanisms to repair your tissues and organs while bringing your body back into balance.
Starting this diet may sound complicated, but once you know what foods to eat and what to avoid, it becomes easier quickly.
What Is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation represents a near-constant immune response to internal factors within your body. Normal inflammation, conversely, is your body's response to infection, such as a cut on your finger. Your immune system should remain at rest until it's called upon to fight germs and diseases.
Chronic inflammation is unhealthy because it reduces your body's ability to fight infection due to your immune system always working in a state of high alert.
Chronic inflammation may be an underlying cause of:
• Heart disease
• Type II diabetes
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Multiple sclerosis
• Alzheimer's disease
• A host of digestive problems
What Causes Chronic Inflammation?
Your body might show symptoms of chronic inflammation due to:
• Autoimmune disorders like lupus
• Exposure to environmental toxins such as industrial chemicals
• Untreated injuries or infections
• An unbalanced microbiome in your small intestine
• Lifestyle factors including:
– Frequent alcohol consumption
– Chronic stress
– Exercising at maximum intensity
– Not exercising enough
An unhealthy gut microbiome is on the list because 75% of your immune system exists in your small intestine. When it's out of balance, usually from eating too much unhealthy food, it can be a root cause of chronic inflammation in other parts of your body. Foods that fight chronic inflammation can improve your gut microbiome.
What Are the Benefits of Foods That Fight Inflammation?
The main benefit of embracing foods that fight inflammation is that you lower your risk of the chronic diseases listed above. Because you lower your risk of getting those diseases, you have a better chance of living longer.
How Do You Follow an Anti-inflammatory Diet?
Transitioning to a new dietary lifestyle may seem daunting at first. But, like any habit worth starting, it will get easier as you move forward. You didn't learn to walk or drive in a day, yet now you're an expert at both!
Replace one meal daily with anti-inflammatory foods to see how your body adjusts. Do these foods make you feel better? Do you notice any changes? After a week or two, increase the anti-inflammatory diet to two meals per day.
Stick to It
Once you work up to an entire meal plan of anti-inflammatory foods, stick with it. You'll likely feel better, you may have increased energy, and your mind may be sharper following your dietary changes.
Find Foods You Love
You'll find a wide variety of foods on an anti-inflammatory diet. If you find it too bland, include herbs and spices listed below that boost flavor in foods that fight inflammation.
There are plenty of online resources and books to help you research recipes for preparing meals with your favorite foods. You could get lost in all the yummy recipes out there!
What Are the Best Foods That Fight Inflammation?
Experts believe a balance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, and spices are some of the best foods that fight inflammation. Mix and match these based on your preferences, but also look for foods high in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation at the cellular level.
These fruits are high in anti-oxidants. Pick a variety of colors across the entire rainbow to get the most benefits.
Dark-colored vegetables are some of the best foods that fight inflammation because those colors contain polyphenols and antioxidants. Aim for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
• Collard greens
• Green leaf lettuce
• Sweet potatoes
Try to reduce your consumption of red meats and replace them with poultry or fish.
• Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Nuts, Seeds, and Beans
Nuts and seeds are excellent vegetable sources of protein. Beans and legumes are postbiotic, and they help your gut microbiome process foods that fight inflammation.
• Pumpkin seeds
• Sunflower seeds
• Beans: black, red, white
Herbs and Spices
Flavorful, colorful herbs have a dynamite taste, can spruce up a salad, and offer nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.
What Foods Should I Avoid on an Anti-inflammatory Diet?
In general, here are some foods to avoid on the anti-inflammatory diet with some healthier replacements:
• Processed foods high in sodium. Replace with fresh, minimally processed foods.
• White grains and carbs, like white rice and white bread. Instead, go for brown rice and whole grain bread for good carbs.
• Red meat high in saturated fat. Choose chicken and fish instead.
• Cooking oils high in saturated fats. Replace them with olive oil.
• Sweet drinks high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Replace with water or green tea sweetened with stevia.
Now that you've got some relevant, practical tips for starting an anti-inflammatory diet, here's to your health and happy eating!