What is a Anti-inflammatory Diet?
The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating style that focuses on consuming nutrient-dense plant foods while limiting inflammation causing foods such as processed foods and meats. The anti-inflammatory diet is not as restrictive as other popular diets. There are actually a wide range of healthy, nutritious foods to choose from the anti-inflammatory foods list. The idea of this diet is that if you avoid inflammatory foods, you will help curb the level of chronic inflammation in the body and better your health.
Inflammation in the body is generally a good thing that helps fight illness and is instrumental in the healing process. However, some people have ineffective immune systems that lead to persistent levels of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation like this has been linked to many severe diseases — such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
* If you have any health concerns, make sure to check with your doctor before starting any new eating regimen and to find out if this diet is right for you.
What Can You Eat on the Anti-inflammation Diet?
One of the beautiful things about the anti-inflammatory diet foods list is that it aligns closely with the general guidelines for healthy eating. The anti-inflammatory diet foods list favors fresh fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.
Here are general foods in the Anti-Inflammatory Diet food list:
- Fruits and Vegetables: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries.
- Vegetables: Leafy greens containing Vitamin-K reduce inflammation. Kale, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage are all great choices.
- Beans: Black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans
- Nuts and seeds: almonds and walnuts (olive oil and avocados are great too)
- Fish: Salmon, Tuna, sardines, and mackerel
What Can’t You Eat on the Anti-Inflammation Diet?
On the other hand, the Anti-Inflammatory diet food list discourages the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol. Inflammation causing foods and foods that are generally accepted as “unhealthy” are all things to avoid on this diet.
Common inflammatory foods to avoid are:
- Processed Foods: french fries and other fried foods
- Red Meats: Burgers, steaks, hot dogs, sausage
- Refined Carbohydrates: White bread, pastries, and other sweets
Challenges of the Anti-Inflammation Diet
The anti-inflammation diet is great for people suffering from chronic inflammation. While there aren’t any major downsides to following this diet, there are a few challenges when getting started.
- Processed and fried foods have become extremely popular. People often struggle with letting go of all the inflammatory foods to avoid.
- Dining-out on an anti-inflammation diet is possible. However, it requires discipline and preparation since most restaurants serve highly processed/fried foods.
- The anti-inflammatory diet calls for eating a significant amount of fruits and vegetables, which may be an adjustment from the normal American diet.
What are the Benefits of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
The main benefit of this diet is its ability to control inflammation in your body and reduce the risk of developing a major disease. Following an anti-inflammation diet has been shown to help people with heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and many others.
The anti-inflammatory diet comes with a myriad of other health benefits such as:
- Can help manage and relieve pain as you age
- Reduced risk of heart disease and other heart-related issues
- May enhance quality of life for people who have multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Improved recovery time from exercise and athletic training
- May delay the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and reduce joint pain
- Lowered blood pressure and improved mood
Can you do the Anti-Inflammatory Diet as a Vegetarian?
The anti-inflammatory diet lines up nicely with that of a vegetarian diet because fresh fruits and vegetables typically are not inflammation causing foods. Excluding seafood consumption, a vegetarian could very easily follow the anti-inflammatory diet by focusing on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats such as olive oil.
Concerns About the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Not surprisingly, the anti-inflammation diet closely mirrors the guidelines for a generally healthy diet. There are no major health concerns from following an anti-inflammatory diet. However, as noted before, there may be some initial difficulty when avoiding processed and fried foods that have become commonplace in society today.
Additionally, the anti-inflammation diet puts a heavy focus on foods that commonly contain allergens, such as nuts, seeds, fish, shellfish, and grains. Some people with food sensitivities or allergies may find it difficult to follow the anti-inflammatory diet. The anti-inflammatory diet can also be costly because of the focus on high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. It’s absolutely possible to follow the diet on a budget, but it does complicate the process significantly.
Resources for the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Fortunately, the anti-inflammation diet has been popular for a long time. Because of this, there are plenty of resources online to help get you started and support you throughout your time following this diet.
Here are some great resources:
- A Comprehensive Guide to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- Anti-Inflammatory Vegan Meal Plan
- Foods That Fight Inflammation
- Anti-inflammatory diet: What to know