Are you tired of feeling sluggish, dealing with constant aches, and having your energy levels crash even after a good night’s sleep?
While inflammation is not necessarily something you can cure with food alone (nor is it always bad), your diet has a powerful effect on how your body responds to it.
In this blog, we’ll uncover the basics of an anti-inflammatory diet and list the most common foods you should add to combat inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating designed to reduce inflammation through proper and balanced nutrition. It focuses on various whole foods that are high in nutrients and low in unhealthy fats, processed ingredients and added sugars.
This diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consuming fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats.
Since the typical Western diet is full of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats, it’s no surprise that inflammation levels across all ages are on the rise.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet is your best defence against chronic inflammation, reducing your risk of developing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Who can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet aims to reduce inflammation by cutting out certain trigger foods and replacing them with nutrient-dense, whole foods.
This diet is recommended for people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease
However, it can also be beneficial for anyone looking to prevent high levels of inflammation from occurring in the first place.
An anti-inflammatory diet is not a restrictive one. It doesn’t eliminate certain food groups or cut down calories significantly. Instead, it encourages you to focus on the quality of your meals and prioritize whole foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
As such, here are the top food groups and items recommended when starting an anti-inflammatory diet:
Eating plenty of fruits and veggies is always a good idea, but they’re particularly helpful in fighting inflammation. Load up on deeply coloured fruits such as berries, cherries, and grapes, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Whole grains like oats, brown rice, barley and quinoa are excellent sources of fibre, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients. They also contain antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and prevent inflammation.
Many people shy away from fats because they think it’s unhealthy. However, healthy fats like monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil and avocados) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish) act as natural anti-inflammatory agents within the body.
Specific food items containing omega-3 fatty acids are nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
Most of us can’t make it through the day without at least one cup of coffee or tea. Good news: both have anti-inflammatory properties, so you don’t have to feel guilty for indulging in your daily caffeine fix.
Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon are some of the spices and herbs known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. You can add them to your meals or even drink them as teas for a more powerful effect.
Whether you’re going full-out on an anti-inflammatory diet or just looking for a few simple dietary tweaks to help reduce inflammation, the foods listed above can transform the way you feel while also helping to restore balance and vitality in your body.
Our highly trained practitioners at Calgary Integrative Medicine help you achieve optimal health with our unique and balanced approach to preventative, corrective, and sustainable care.
Reset your diet and health by securing an appointment with us today!