7 Easy-to-Follow Diet Tips to Reduce Inflammation
Is inflammation good or bad for our bodies? Well, the answer is both.
First of all, inflammation is an essential process and plays a key role in helping our body fight against infection, injury and recover from diseases. Obviously, that’s the good part.
The bad part is that we end up with too much of it when we don’t exactly need it, causing a long list of disorders such as weight gain, arthritis, asthma and the like.
Stress, low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary behavior, as well as inflammatory foods, can all take a toll on our body and health and increase the risk of diseases.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce such risks. Various studies (1, 2, 3) have demonstrated that an anti-inflammatory diet can help us fight off chronic inflammation and counteract its negative impact.
If you want to stop leading a not so healthy lifestyle that can harm both your health and body, try to follow these basic guidelines. I’m not saying it’s easy-peasy but if it’s something that can ultimately improve and extend your life, I think it’s worth the effort, don’t you?
Here’s what you can do to reduce inflammation:
Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Health specialists recommend having at least 1 serving of vegetables at each meal, and 2 servings of fruit each day. Try the rainbow diet, which means eating fruits of various colors to cover more of the spectrum of different antioxidants.
Red: Strawberries, cherries
Orange: Carrots, oranges
Yellow: Bell peppers
Green: Broccoli, avocado
Brown: Almonds, walnuts
Consume healthier fats. Swap out saturated fats such as the fats found in butter and cheese for the healthier, unsaturated fats found in olive oil, almonds, walnuts, seeds. According to a study published in Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders – Drug Targets, olive oil helps reduce inflammation, reduces high cholesterol, and certain polyphenols may also prevent some forms of cancer.
Fatty fish is also a good choice when it comes to healthy fats. Speaking of fish…
Consume fish at least twice a week. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties. Opt for oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Reduce consumption of certain meats. Replace red meats like beef with lean meats, such as chicken or turkey, which are less inflammatory. If you’re a fan of beef, then you should consume beef that has been grass-fed, which is less inflammatory and a better choice than beef from grain-fed cows in feedlots.
Get more protein from legumes. You can also get your proteins from beans, nuts, peas, and lentils which are also packed with polyphenols that work as antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
Choose whole grains. Replace refined grains with whole grains instead. For example, whole-grain bread, brown rice, pasta, and oatmeal are much more nutritious and less inflammatory than their refined-grain counterparts.
Stay away from heavily processed foods. Foods that last longer are also processed and stripped of their nutrients to make room for chemical preservatives and additives. They are also more likely to cause inflammation. Therefore, limit or avoid processed foods such as prepackaged meals, refined sugars (soda, candy), processed meats (bacon, ham) or baked goods.
Other non-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:
Chocolate: Dark chocolate
Spices: Instead of seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavor with anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, fenugreek or ginger.
Drinks: Green tea; up to 5 ounces (140 ml) of red wine per day for women and 10 ounces (280 ml) per day for men.
You may not observe any effects of your anti-inflammatory diet in the first few weeks. That’s why it is important to consistently stick to your resolve for more than a month before ruling against inflammatory foods having a positive effect.
For a more in-depth analysis of inflammation and its effects as well as anti-inflammatory supplements, check out this post!
Here’s what I usually eat when I want to avoid inflammation:
Breakfast: chia bowl with fresh raspberries, oatmeal.
Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, roast chicken with turmeric and fennel
Snacks: blueberry fruit salad, nut butter, chia seed pudding.
Dinner: Baked sesame-ginger salmon
Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, green smoothie, herbal tea.
You can also check our 14-Day Meal Plan and find more inspiration with anti-inflammatory recipes!