Our bodies are constantly fighting off bacteria, microbes, germs, sickness and fatigue. Inflammation is the body’s natural defense when it tries to heal itself after cuts and wounds. When we eat right, our body uses the nutrients we give it to fuel its purpose of warding off unwanted disease states.
Unknowingly however, our body undergoes inflammation due to certain foods we eat. Cheap, fast and easy food that our body does not want. When we have ongoing inflammation inside the body, disease states begin to appear. Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart disease, Diabetes, Alzheimers, even skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rashes can show up.
The proclaimed “Anti-Inflammatory Diet” takes into account the body’s natural defense mechanism and introduces certain foods that do not cause heightened inflammation and may even help to reduce current inflammation in the body. There is ongoing research to suggest this diet is beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases but it is still unclear about how much to eat of each food so that it results in decreased inflammation.
Overall, the anti-inflammatory diet is a lifestyle that includes healthy, antioxidant rich foods that keep your body active, moving and free of inflammation. What this lifestyle really comes down to is…
What Foods Cause Inflammation?
There are several foods that cause inflammation in the body but a few to pay close attention to include…
- Saturated fats from meat, butter, cream sauces
- High-fat cheese
- Chicken and meats with the skin intact
- Fried Foods
- Trans Fat
- White Rice
- Refined grains
- White bread
- Chemicals in food
- Additives (colors & flavors)
- Vegetable oil
- Margarine & Vegetable Shortening
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
What Foods are Anti-Inflammatory?
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Found in fatty fish like Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Mackerel, and Anchovies
- Ground Flax seeds
Fruits and Vegetables
- Dark and brightly colored fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli and carrots.
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and chard
- Brussel Sprouts
- Berries and Cherries
- Winter Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
Plant Based Protein
- Beans (Kidney, White, Lima, Black)
- Nuts (Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews)
- Seeds (Sunflower, Hemp, Flaxseed)
- Oatmeal and or Barley
- Rice (Brown, Black, Wild, NOT white)
- Whole Wheat (NOT white bread)
- Olive Oil, expeller pressed Canola Oil
- Tea (White, Green, Oolong)
The guidelines are simple, its not a diet- it’s a lifestyle. Eat a variety of foods, the fresher the better. Try to cut out as much processed and fast food as possible, it does you no good. Last but not least, eat more fruits and vegetables. Even when you think you had your fill of veggies, always eat more.
Like I said, this is a lifestyle diet, not a diet to partake in for 6 months and then revert back to your old wicked ways. The anti-inflammatory diet does however result in weight loss (it is not to be confused as a weight loss diet). Confused enough? Try it out and see for yourself! After a couple of weeks the difference will showcase itself. I promise you won’t regret it, your body won’t either.
“You are what you eat- so don’t be FAST, CHEAP, EASY or FAKE”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Inflammation and Diet” by Marisa Moore MBA, RDN, LD. September 1, 2014. www.eatright.org
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Benefits of Java” by Wendy Marcason RDN, LDN. September 29, 2014. www.eatright.org
Dr. Weil’s Anti-inflammatory Diet. www.DrWeil.com
-All photos used in this article were taken by Stephanie Rackley for and by The Healthy Chew -all rights reserved
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