Anti-Inflammatory Diet – Benefits
Before we get into the ins and outs of why an anti-inflammatory diet may be helpful, it may benefit us to understand what inflammation is in the first place. When we hear the word “inflammation,” we immediately think about the swelling or reddening of a rash, for instance. Although those are definitely two external signs of inflammation, but there’s more to it.
Firstly, an Anti-Inflammatory Diet can not only be used to control conditions such as Arthritis, Psoriasis, Asthma, and some heart conditions but can also benefit most of the population. Secondly, most of these conditions have the common underlying problem of inflammation, which is actually a natural process in our bodies and is proof that our bodies are working effectively, just like when you experience swelling, pain, and redness when injured.
Usually, inflammation helps us when injured. However, under some circumstances, chronic inflammation can damage our health. Therefore, if cells remain inflamed for too long, this is where damage is done and issues arise.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet or way of eating mimics a Mediterranean diet; with plenty of oily fish with fresh fruit and veg, healthy fats, and an abundance of herbs and spices. So what changes can you make to your diet to make it more anti-inflammatory? Below we have listed some key changes you can make today:
Herbs and Spices
Curcumin, a substance in Turmeric, is known to help reduce inflammation in the body. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. For instance, turmeric may also help improve symptoms of psoriasis and arthritis.
Garlic is also known for its amazing ability to reduce inflammation. As a result, try replace salt and sauces with plenty of herbs and spices and you will be well on your way to eating an anti-inflammatory diet!
Mackerel, Sardines, and Salmon are loaded with Omega-3 poly-unsaturated fats, which is critical for an anti-inflammatory diet. Consequently, the anti-inflammatory effects from omega-3s are helpful not just for relieving arthritis, but also for preventing other diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease. So, aim to include 2-4 portions of oily fish like salmon, mackerel, or tuna a week.
Pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds are rich in Vitamin E which protects the body against harmful free radicals and are known to reduce inflammation. For example, almonds are particularly rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E, and walnuts have high amounts of certain omega-3 fatty acids. To sum up, all nuts are packed with antioxidants that can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
Black, pinto, and kidney beans are beneficial in reducing inflammation. These types of beans combat inflammation because they’re loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, and protein. Therefore, add at least 2 servings of black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, red beans, or black-eyed peas to your diet per week, but preferably more.
In addition, wholegrains such as brown rice, seeded brown bread, and grains such as quinoa are rich in fibre, which has been suggested to help with inflammation
Vitamin E may be key in protecting the body against pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. One of the best sources of this vitamin is dark green veggies, such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and broccoli. Meanwhile, dark greens and cruciferous vegetables also have higher concentrations of certain nutrients—like calcium, iron, and disease-fighting flavonoids—than veggies with lighter-colored leaves.
What to avoid
Go easy on refined carbs such as white bread and crackers, which may also contribute to inflammation. In addition, sweets like doughnuts and pastries – with refined carbs and lots of refined sugar – are a double whammy if you’re trying to avoid inflammatory foods. However, if you’re a pasta fan, consider a whole-grain pasta over white, refined pasta. In short, red meat, processed foods, fizzy beverages, and alcohol can all contribute to inflammation so should be limited.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet – Meal Plan
Our team of nutritionists have created a 4 Week 5 Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan designed to help to fight off inflammation while still enjoying delicious satisfying food.
In short, to follow an anti-inflammatory diet means you should load up on foods that research has shown can help lower inflammation, and reduce your intake of foods that have the opposite effect, like processed meat, fried foods, and dairy. One of the best things about the diet is there are plenty of food options and loads of wiggle room, so you can pick and choose the anti-inflammatory foods you like best. Some main benefits of following this plan include:
- Improvement of symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders
- Decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and other diseases
- Improvement in energy and mood
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Business Development Manager
Annie is our Business Development Manager here at GourmetFuel. Annie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Innovation at the Technology University of Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked for a successful start-up company based in New York City where she gained valuable experience in product development, food safety, and allergen management and control. Her areas of interest are food business sustainability, health promotion, and nutrition research.
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