Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is a powerful way to help you feel your best by reducing the harmful chronic inflammation resulting from an inadequate diet, stress, disease, or the environment.
Chronic inflammation occurs for a variety of reasons, which include:
– Eating too much.
– Eating the wrong foods.
– Emotional or mental distress.
– Losing sleep.
– Sedentary (sitting around too much) lifestyle.
– Infection or trauma.
– Wrong genes.
Realize that inflammation is not the enemy. Inflammation is an essential part of our immune system’s response to injury or infection. When your body senses danger, inflammation helps it defend against the threat.
When inflammation is chronic, problems start to develop. Chronic inflammation can lead to difficulties losing weight, experiencing pain, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, menstrual difficulties, heart problems, gastrointestinal complications, lower energy, and frequent infections, to name a few. Unfortunately, our Western diet is rich in omega-6 fats and processed foods loaded with additives and chemicals. Our body responds to this kind of diet with increased inflammation.
People following healthy diets naturally eliminate inflammatory foods such as red meat, inflammatory animal products, sugary foods, unhealthy snacks, and unhealthy dairy products. The anti-inflammatory meal plan consists of eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In addition, I recommend adding anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as ginger, cumin, garlic, and oregano.
Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet include:
– Reduced inflammation
– Improved energy and mood
– Decreased risk of obesity and heart disease
– Decreased anxiety and depression
– Improved blood sugar control
– Improved metabolic syndrome
– Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s
– Improved arthritis symptoms
– Improved body pain, joint pain, and muscle pain.
– Improved menstrual function
– Decreased cancer risk
Here are some great anti-inflammatory foods:
1) Vegetables: brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and most vegetables. The goal is to consume 3 cups of vegetables a day.
Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, pumpkins, potatoes.
2) Fresh fruit: cherries, fresh berries, grapes, citrus fruits, etc. The goal is to eat up to 2 cups a day.
3) Unprocessed plant proteins: soy foods (tempeh, tofu, miso, and edamame)
4) Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans.
5) Whole Grains: oats, buckwheat, millet, barley, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat (some need ancient whole wheat (kamut, einkorn, emmer, spelt, varieties, gluten-free better for others)
6) Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseed, nut butter (as natural as possible)
7) Herbs and spices: turmeric, ginger, garlic, cayenne, basil, oregano, cumin, thyme, clove, cayenne pepper
8) Omega 3s: Walnuts, flax seeds, walnuts, seaweed, algae, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and soybeans
Those who limit their food intake largely to the above foods will experience an incredible blessing.
To Your Best Health,
Greg Steinke, MD, MPH