The anti-inflammatory diet has become popular in recent years because it is said to reduce levels of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a key risk factor for a variety of illnesses including arthritis. An anti-inflammatory diet is designed to specifically incorporate foods known to reduce inflammation and avoid foods that are known to cause it.
What is inflammation?
As a response to any illness, disease, infection or injury, your body reacts with inflammation to fight what it considers harmful. Once the harm is neutralised, the inflammation stops. However, some people experience chronic inflammation over a long period of time which can cause a whole host of health problems.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, chronic infections such as HIV, autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxic chemicals and long-term stress. Over time, this inflammation can lead to illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Foods to eat
When attempting to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, there are plenty of foods you can still eat that promote health and wellness within your body. Whole foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are best. These include:
- Dark chocolate
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
Foods to avoid
On the other hand, foods high in omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided. While these are important for bone health, brain function and metabolism, you should be careful to only consume small amounts.
Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include:
- Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream)
- Vegetable oils
You don’t have to follow a strict meal plan to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, but following these tips will likely ensure you stay on track.
- Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.
- Reduce your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids.
- Cut down on your red meat intake and replace it with lean meats, fish, beans and lentils.
- Incorporate more healthy fats to replace saturated fats. For example, switch out your vegetable oil for olive oil or avocado oil.
- Replace processed foods like white bread with fibre-rich whole grains.
Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet
There is evidence to suggest that by switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, you can reduce the risk of many illnesses caused by chronic inflammation. A 2016 study in the journal Endocrine, showed that an anti-inflammatory diet led to a 37% decrease in inflammatory substances, such as C-reactive protein, in people with type 2 diabetes after just one year. High levels of CRP can cause a wide range of illnesses in the body.
Are you looking for a food catering delivery service that prioritises healthy foods? POW Food
is a healthy meal delivery service that works with leading nutritionists to develop meals that aim to elevate our mental and physical performance to show that healthy food can also taste great. For more information, visit our website.