The Anti-Inflammatory Diet — Foods You Can Eat to Help With Inflammation

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Patricia Burch
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The Anti-inflammatory Diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation – a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and lack of exercise, chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.

Since food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti- inflammatory diet is thought to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent or treat the following conditions: allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stroke.

Foods to eat on the Anti-inflammatory Diet
Research suggests that people with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and fish may have a reduced risk for inflammation-related disease. In addition, substances found in some foods, especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, appear to possess anti-inflammatory effects. Foods high in antioxidants include berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) cherries, apples, artichokes, avocados, dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens), sweet potatoes, broccoli, nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts), beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans), Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice), and dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao). Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies) flaxseed, walnuts, and omega_3 fortified foods – including eggs and milk. There is quite a bit of evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.

Some good meal ideas include for Breakfast: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal; Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetable, soup, grilled salmon; Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples and nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole; Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.

Tips on following this Anti-inflammatory Diet.
Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day. Increase your consumption of foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids  (such as flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring). Replace red meat with healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, soy, beans and lentils. Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids (such as vegetable oils, salad dressing, mayonnaise, cookies, cakes, processed pork products, fatty chicken cuts, fatty beef cuts, dairy and eggs).

Swap out margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats in olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Instead of choosing refined grains, opt for fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, breads, and pastas that list whole grain as the first ingredient.

Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavor with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

There will be more information coming on inflammation and diets later. I want you to know that when you choose these delicious antioxidant rich-foods, it helps to curb inflammation in combination with exercise and a good night’s sleep, which may improve inflammation markers and possibly reduce your risk of many illnesses.

Source of information Very Well health, Bondonno NP, Lewis JR, Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Of course, this information is for educational purposes only. You should consult your physician before trying any diet .

For more information, you may contact Lethia Lee at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension office 910-592-7161. Or E-Mail me at Lethia_Lee@