Anti-inflammatory Diet Overview
An anti-inflammatory diet is suggested to reduce inflammation you have in the body. Inflammation is thought to be the underlying cause of many chronic conditions and diseases such as heart disease, chronic pain, arthritis and Alzheimer's. The overall eating plan of an anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, wholes grains, legumes and spices while reducing red meat, saturated and trans fats, and refined carbohydrates.
Inflammation is the bodies immune response to injury or foreign and harmful substances. Outwards signs that you can see and feel are more commonly thought of when you think of inflammation such as being stung by a bee, the area becomes red, swollen, and sore before it heals. This is the body’s immune cells, white blood cells, responding to the bee sting and trying to heal it from the inside out. This kind of acute response, is the bodies way of protecting and healing itself. We rely on our immune system to protect us but in some cases, chronic inflammation due to the consumptions of certain unhealthy foods can lead to health problems in the future. The inflammatory diet suggests that the foods we eat can either elicit or reduce the amount of immune response inflammation we have within our bodies. We may be unaware of internal inflammation but chronic inflammation may lead to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's or even cancer. Depending on the foods you eat, your inflammatory response will either work to reduce unnecessary inflammation or increase it.
Dr. Barry Sears, author of the Zone Diet, calls inflammation a silent epidemic that triggers chronic diseases over the years. "You could feel fine but have high levels of inflammation," he warns [ The Zone Diet]1] as well as the [Mediterranean style diet are both similar to the Anti-inflammatory diet. All share similar food suggestions and suggested restrictions and most likely have similar health benefits of reduced inflammation as well as reduced rates of disease.
The anti-inflammatory diet consists of eating lots of vegetables (all kinds), fruits, and legumes. These plant foods contain phytochemicals that may be a key factor in helping reduce inflammation. Including protein rich foods from sources like beans, whole grains, fish and natural yogurt is also part of the diet while reducing red meat and full fat dairy products. A variety of herbs and spices (see below) are also recommended as they have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help add additional support in reducing inflammation as well as wonderful flavor to all your meals.
What to eat on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food to eat on an anti-inflammatory diet include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and spices. Here are a few of the foods typically eaten on an anti-inflammatory diet:
- Lots of vegetables such as: o Leafy greens (spinach, brocolli, kale, collard greens),Onions, Garlic, Cauliflower, Cabbage, radishes, Asparagus, most all other vegetables
- Fruits such as: Blueberries Strawberries, Pomogranate Watermelon, Apples, Pears, Mango
- Beans, nuts and seeds such as: Black beans,Kidney bean,Chick peas, Walnuts, Almonds,Chia seeds, Sesame seeds
- Water can help reduce toxins
- Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
- Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
- Anti-inflammatory spices. Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Basil, Cardamon, Chives, Cilantro, Cloves, Garlic, Parsley
- Limit red meat and full-fat dairy foods, increase lean protein and plant-protein like beans.
Foods to reduce in an anti-inflammatory diet
- All refined foods and processed foods, especially processed meats.
- Saturated and trans fats.
- Refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice
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Laurel House. “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Eat to Heal (and Lose Weight)” PlanetGreen.com, May 19, 2011, http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/the-anti-inflammatory-diet.html
Level1Diet. “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Anti Inflammatory Foods to Eat & Avoid, Supplements to Take & How Much to Exercise:,” Level1diet.com, September 3, 2011, http://www.level1diet.com/
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