At the moment, there is a lot of noise around anti-inflammatory diets in the health and well-being community. You’re probably wondering if this is something you should take seriously… Or is this just a temporary fad? After all, many of us think that inflammation occurs only when we get hurt in the form of redness and swelling. They’re both signs of inflammation, but not the kind we’re talking about here.
The kind of inflammation we’re talking about occurs inside the body, where it’s not visible. It’s part of the body’s natural immune system reaction. In other words, when your body is working to combat a disease, infection or injury, the inflammatory cells are sent here as one of the first lines of defense. The result? Redness, swelling… And in many cases, it’s painful.
It may not be very pleasant, but these classic symptoms of inflammation are perfectly normal and even necessary. The problem arises when the inflammation becomes chronic. If the inflammation persists indefinitely, the immune system becomes hyperactive. This reaction can cause some very serious health problems, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and much more.
The inflammation in the body cannot be completely eliminated, but there are many things you can do to keep the inflammation healthy. For example, keeping a healthy weight and avoiding smoking and alcohol is the perfect place to start. What you eat and don’t eat also plays an important role in the amount of inflammation throughout the body.
Here is everything you need to know about switching to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Who can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet?
If you want to prevent or alleviate the following health problems, you should consider an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto, MS
- Heart conditions
- Chronic pain
- Joint pain.
- Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases
- Diabetes mellitus
- Skin problems such as psoriasis and acne
- Gastrointestinal problems with emphasis on Crohn’s disease
Complete guide to an anti-inflammatory diet
It is important to understand that an anti-inflammatory diet is not a restrictive diet, which tells you exactly what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. An inflammatory diet consists of increasing the intake of foods that fight inflammation, while eliminating foods that cause inflammation.
If you choose an anti-inflammatory diet, you should think of it as a lifestyle change and not just another diet. It is a meal plan that works to improve overall health by minimizing inflammation. This meal plan is not focused on healthy eating, so you can lose some weight, but that is not the main goal.
No wonder most anti-inflammatory diets concentrate on fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates from whole food sources. Refined sugar and processed foods should be avoided. In addition, both gluten and dairy products are common factors sensitive to inflammable foods, so most people will want to eliminate them.
Try to eat foods rich in omega-3 (cold water, oily fish, dried fruit, seeds, Argan oil etc.) several times a week. Omega-3 is an essential nutrient to reduce inflammation, so consider including it in your daily vitamin supplementation. On the other hand, foods containing omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided, including processed products, sauces, mayonnaise, vegetable oil and corn oil.
The advantage of eating a diet that reduces inflammation is that many of the foods that cause inflammation are unhealthy and should be avoided anyway. Everyone can improve their health by reducing their intake of refined sugar, empty carbohydrates and highly processed foods. At the same time, it is always worth eating more dried fruit, seeds, healthy fats, lean proteins and vegetables.
What science says
Science has much to say about the negative effects of inflammation on our health in general. Inflammation is associated with serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. It is also associated with certain types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, where people on a diet rich in food that causes inflammation have a 50% higher risk of developing the disease.
On the other hand, eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can have a positive effect on overall health and improve health in many ways. There is evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can help people with chronic rheumatoid arthritis pain; a study conducted in May 2019 also showed that people following an anti-inflammatory food-centered diet have a lower risk of developing polyps/colorectal cancer, breast cancer and gastrointestinal problems.
Switching to an anti-inflammatory diet may not cure your existing condition, but it can certainly relieve your symptoms, slow your progression, reduce your pain and in many cases reduce your need for medication.
Other benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet include:
- Relief from age-related pain, especially joint pain
- Helping athletes recover more quickly after intensive exercise
- Protect the cardiovascular system
- Reduction of symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Foods that fight inflammation
After deciding to go on an anti-inflammatory diet, try to eat foods known for their proactive fight against inflammation. Fortunately, there is a wide range of foods to choose from and you can still enjoy your favorite foods.
If you want to keep things simple, start by switching to a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free foods are easy to find everywhere. There are also a number of gluten-free meal delivery services, so however busy your lifestyle, it is extremely easy to make a change.
Anti-inflammatory foods to add to your shopping list.
It contains many fresh fruits such as pomegranates, berries, bananas, mangoes, grapes and citrus. Dried fruit would also be good.
Eat a variety of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts.
- Vegetable proteins, such as beans and nuts
- Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, albacore, herring, lake trout and sardines
- Whole grains (if possible, choose gluten-free)
- Many leafy vegetables, such as hiding places, spinach and cabbage
- Ginger and turmeric.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Coffee and green tea.
- Black chocolate
Foods that cause inflammation
Since these foods cause inflammation, they should be eliminated or reduced as much as possible from the diet.
All refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and cakes
Food and beverages with high refined sugar content
- Red meat (limited to once a week)
- dairy products
- Processed meats such as lunch meat and hot dogs
- Fried foods in corn, vegetables, rapeseed oil, etc.
What are the disadvantages of switching to an anti-inflammatory diet?
There are no known disadvantages of switching to an anti-inflammatory diet. However, if you have health problems, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor before making any dramatic changes in your diet or lifestyle.
What to expect from the switch
Give yourself some time to learn which foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid. It may take some getting used to, especially if you are used to eating a lot of processed foods, red meat, gluten and dairy products.
Most people will notice a fairly rapid improvement, especially in terms of mood. However, as your system adjusts, you may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort.
If you have a health condition, it may take some time before you notice the improvement. It should take at least a few weeks, and a maximum of 12 weeks, to begin to notice positive changes, to see significant results.
In short, should you switch to an anti-inflammatory diet?
Actually, following an anti-inflammatory diet simply promises a healthy diet, and who could not benefit? Whether you are sick or not, switching to this lifestyle will have a positive impact on your overall health… …and your quality of life. Anyone can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, especially if they have a health problem that causes chronic inflammation.