Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101: Benefits, Foods, Meal Plan
Your body is equipped with its own internal protective mechanism: the immune system. It combats colds, insect bites and serious diseases and strives to keep your body functioning. One of the side effects of your immune system is an increase in inflammation. Although this is a completely natural process, the problem is that your body is in a constant state of inflammation called "chronic inflammation." If your body is fighting inflammation of any kind, an anti-inflammatory diet can help alleviate your symptoms and even lower the inflammation itself.
We have talked to two dieticians to make this statement for an anti-inflammatory diet: a guide on how to use this diet to reduce the chronic inflammation that causes weight gain, skin problems, and digestive problems.
What is an inflammation?
Inflammations can come from different sources and are usually the result of a reaction of the body's immune system.
"The role of our immune system in our health is to protect the body from foreign invaders, the so-called antigens. These invaders can take shape if the pollen that triggers your allergies, the bacteria in the nail that you are treading cause swelling and pain, or the food you are sensitive to causes hives and itching, "says Kristin Kirkpatrick. MS, RDN, Nutritionist and Senior Nutritionist at Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness & Preventive Medicine.
When your immune system responds to antigens, it attacks the antigens to restore your body to normal.
"The immune system releases cytokines that trigger inflammation and respond to infections. Swelling, for example, is the mechanism of your body to isolate an injury and protect other cells in the environment, "says Kirkpatrick. "Essentially, your body develops defense mechanisms during the inflammatory process. The injury is repaired and the inflammation finally subsides. "
What happens when your body is in a chronic state of inflammation?
"When we fight chronic inflammation, inflammation becomes an enemy," says Angel Planells, MS, RDN, a Seattle-registered nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
Inflammation can manifest itself in different ways throughout the body, from tiredness to tiredness to abdominal pain. Especially many chronic diseases are associated with chronic inflammation:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Type II diabetes
- Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
- Obesity / obesity
"We can help control some of these infections by focusing on the contents of our pantry," says Planells. And here starts the anti-inflammatory diet.
What is the anti-inflammatory diet?
Diet can play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. An anti-inflammatory diet is high in foods that lower the level of inflammation. Above all, however, it avoids foods that are often the cause of increasing inflammation. There are several studies that have shown a reduction of inflammatory factors with certain nutritional approaches. For example, a 2018 study has shown that anti-inflammatory diets can help prevent early death, while a recent 2019 study has shown that an anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent certain cancers.
What foods should you eat on an anti-inflammatory diet?
"We are looking for food with certain protective factors," says Planells. According to a 2015 study, many of the anti-inflammatory foods are rich in antioxidant polyphenols. As such, an anti-inflammatory diet is rich in brightly colored foods. The color stands for a high content of phytonutrients and antioxidants, says Kirkpatrick. These anti-inflammatory foods include:
- olive oil
- green-leaved vegetables
- different nuts and seeds (almonds, pistachios)
- fat fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel)
- Variety of fruits and vegetables in a number of colors
"These foods contain antioxidants that are beneficial and protective to the body," says Planells. "The lycopene in cooked tomatoes has a positive effect on the health of the prostate. The dark green leafy vegetables contain beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have a beneficial effect on age-related macular degeneration. We are able to absorb more of these anti-inflammatory nutrients when some fat is added. So put some olive oil on your green. "
Skip flammable foods.
"Basically, foods with only minimal or no nutrient density should be avoided [on an anti-inflammatory diet]"Says Kirkpatrick.
Foods that you should limit to an anti-inflammatory diet include anti-inflammatory foods such as:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Soda (and other sugary drinks)
- fried foods (french fries and other fried foods)
- red and processed meat
"Reduce the number of these foods and increase the number of beneficial foods if possible," says Planells.
A one-day plan for an anti-inflammatory diet.
Here are two examples of a one-day plan for an anti-inflammatory meal that you can follow.
Menu # 1
- breakfast: Steel oats with blueberries and almond flakes
- AT THE. snack: Apple with peanut butter (without added sugar)
- Having lunch: Salad with carrots, tomatoes and radishes with a side dish of wild grilled salmon
- P.M. snack: Sweet potato with pecans
- Dinner: Lentil soup with kale and wholemeal bread
- dessertBeet chips or mixed fruits with goji berries
Menu # 2
- breakfast: Greek yogurt with preserved walnuts and blueberries
- AT THE. snackPhoto: Baby carrots with hummus
- Having lunch: Kale Caesar salad with salmon
- P.M. snack: French fries with salsa
- dinner: Kalbi (korean steak), quinoa & kimchi
- evening snack: Peanut butter with apple slices
Who should try an anti-inflammatory diet?
Good news: The anti-inflammatory diet is safe for everyone.
"When we eat nutritious whole foods and combine stress management with adequate sleep and good relationships, we have an anti-inflammatory lifestyle," says Kirkpatrick.
Plannells adds: "I think there is always room for improvement for most of us. If we look at the dietary guidelines for Americans, the typical American consumes 1 serving of fruits and vegetables a day. The goal would be to improve our overall diet. It also means that we deliberately change our eating and shopping habits to be successful. "Because the anti-inflammatory diet focuses on eating more whole foods and avoiding processed foods that cause this diet is a great way for anyone to improve their health.
How do I start an anti-inflammatory diet?
Trying to get an anti-inflammatory diet may seem intimidating, but it's all about making small changes.
"I know that the recommendations (ie 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day) during my years of working with clients make them feel so inaccessible to some people that they throw in the towel," he tells Planells. "Behavioral changes do not happen overnight, so if you consume just one serving of fruit a day, try taking two or three of them and switching from one step to another."
While an anti-inflammatory diet may require more food preparation, there are tons of resources to help you plan.
"Watch some YouTube videos or visit a number of sites to gather ideas, and do not be afraid to find quick and easy solutions that will help you preserve your nutrients like canned food (such as tomato sauce) and Can absorb frozen foods (eg berries and various types of vegetables) to save time and money. These products are not inferior, as they are picked in ripe freshness and can help you quickly throw together a meal. "
CONNECTED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that cures your bowel, slows the signs of aging and helps you lose weight.