What is an Anti-Inflammation Diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet is also known as a wellness diet. This diet is not intended to be a weight loss* program in it true sense. It basically requires you to choose and select food items in a way that will ensure your body stays in a state of optimal health. Not only will an anti-inflammatory diet have an effect on the inflammatory processes going on in our body, it will also provide the minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, protective phytonutrients and dietary fiber that our body needs.
Why People Need to Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Research has proven that chronic inflammation can be a cause of many serious illnesses that affect our body. Russell Greenfield, MD says, “It’s very clear that inflammation plays a role much more than we thought with respect to certain maladies”. These include heart diseases, many cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and others. Just like when we hurt our skin there is redness, heat, pain and swelling, a similar healing process takes place inside our body too. So inflammation is the cornerstone of the body’s healing response. Bringing inflammatory cells to a site of injury enables that injured part to receive nourishment and directs immune activity to its target.
This inflammation is helpful for a certain period of time but when it becomes prolonged it cannot serve its purpose and instead starts to harm the body and cause illness.
There are many factors which promote such harmful inflammatory processes inside our body. These include stress, lack of exercise, genetic makeup of the body and exposure to various toxins (like second hand cigarette smoke). The biggest contributing factor however is the dietary choices that we make. Special food substances can contribute to inflammation and certain food items can act as anti-inflammatory agents.
Anti-Inflammatory Diets: What Do You Eat?
According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, eating a diet high in Omega 6 and low in omega-3 can be associated with increasing* levels of cytokines (these are proteins released from cells that lead to inflammation). There are a few principles that you should follow in order to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet regime. You should aim for variety in your food choices and try to include as much fresh fruit in your diet as is possible. Also, cut down consumption of processed food products and fast food items and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
Most adults need 2000 to 3000 calories per day. Of this 40% should be from carbohydrates, 30% from fat and 30% from protein.
Eat a majority of less-refined, less processed carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. This means that you should eat food with less wheat flour and sugar like bread and packaged snacks or containing high fructose syrup. Also you should eat more whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat along with beans, squashes and sweet potatoes.
You should reduce* your intake of saturated fat products like butter, cream, high fat cheese, unskinned chicken, fatty meals, and products with palm kernel oil. Try to use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and avoid using regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils. Include avocados and nuts like walnuts in your diet or butter made from these nuts. Eat salmon, sardines, herring, black cod, hemp seeds and flax seeds to obtain omega 3 fatty acids.
Decrease* your animal protein consumption except for fish, yogurt and natural cheese. Also, eat more vegetable protein from beans like soya beans.
Consume cereals to include fibre in your diet and eat fruits from the complete color spectrum for phytonutrients
Top Anti Inflammatory Foods List
- Cruciferous Vegetables: This group of food items includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or kale. They are loaded with antioxidants and this way they help curb the process of inflammation going on in our body. They act as natural detoxifying agents helping our body get rid of harmful waste substances.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Adopted from the Mediterranean diet, this substance serves as the secret to longevity. It provides a good dose of healthy fats which can help ward off inflammation and hence lower the risk of diseases like asthma or arthritis as well as acting as protecting our heart and blood vessels.
- Blue Berries: These berries not only help reduce* inflammation but also protect the brain from aging and helps prevent diseases like cancer and dementia.
- Turmeric: This spice is well known in Asia for its natural anti-inflammatory effects. It contains a substance called curcumin which is supposed to have the same effect as over the counter pain killer. It helps relieve pain and inflammation when rubbed over wounds as well.
- Sweet Potato: This food item is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, beta-carotene, manganese as well as Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. This rich cocktail of nutrients also helps fight inflammation in our body effectively.
You are what you eat. And the food that you consume not only serves the purpose of providing nourishment but also keeps your body healthy. Eating a balanced and healthy diet will help ward off more diseases than you can possibly understand.