Lately, nutritionists and specialists in diseases which cause inflammation recommend to their patients’ certain diets based on foods that are playing an important role in reducing the inflammation. The anti-inflammatory diets should not be confused with weight loss diets. Anti-inflammatory diets are not promising spectacular weight loss because this type of diets is meant only to decrease the intensity of the inflammatory component of certain systemic diseases. This article will show you what are the benefits of anti-inflammatory diets and what to eat to lower inflammation.
What are the benefits of anti-inflammatory diets?
Nutrition experts say that there are many anti-inflammatory diets and all are based on the general concept according to which the exaggerated inflammation in the body leads to impaired general health, so reducing the inflammation, practically restores health. Some examples of inflammatory diseases or diseases in which the inflammation is one of their effects are arthritis, appendicitis, sinusitis, diabetes, heart diseases, different types of cancers, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Experts say that maintaining a high level of inflammation in the body can cause over time the occurrence of chronic diseases.
Initially, inflammation is asymptomatic and can persist in the body even when a state of apparent good health is present.
The modern diets are containing too many fatty acids which are unhealthy, while healthy fats like Omega complex are found in smaller quantities in the food we eat. High contents of Omega 3, which is the most healthy among all the Omega complex’s fatty acids, are found mainly in fish and dietary supplements.
But when eating too many unhealthy fats the dietary balance tilts in a negative direction, and if no counter-measures are taken, it will lead to the occurring of the inflammation in the body.
Here’s What to Eat to Lower Inflammation
There is no standard anti-inflammatory diet, but just to give you an idea, any diet that is close to the Mediterranean diet is anti-inflammatory. The Mediterranean diet is an anti-inflammatory diet based on fish oil, proteins, carbohydrates and monounsaturated fats. Mediterranean diet is not the only anti-inflammatory diet, though it is one of the most popular diets in this category.
Here’s what to eat to lower inflammation:
- Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Decreased consumption of saturated fat
- Adding a constant source of fatty acids such as Omega 3 (fish, fish oil, or nuts)
- Decreased consumption of pasta and rice
- Encouraging the consumption of whole grains
- Increased consumption of lean meat (chicken) and decreased consumption of red meat or whole milk
- Avoid processed foods or refined sweets
- Encouraging the consumption of spices, as they have an important anti-inflammatory role
Specialist’s recommendations on what to eat to lower inflammation
Doctor Andrew Weil believe that chronic inflammation in the body creates a predisposition to serious diseases such as heart diseases, different types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Also, in his book entitled True Food, Dr. Weil offers the best solutions that can reduce inflammation in the body.
According to Dr. Weil, here’s what to eat to lower inflammation:
Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids because they have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Include in your diet red cabbage, squash, arugula, carrots, and apricots! Eat around 4 servings a day.
Whole grains which are rich in fiber are digested more slowly, thus preventing insulin fluctuations that can cause inflammation in the body. Choose brown rice, oats, quinoa, pearl barley. Eat at least 3 servings a day.
Oils containing polyphenols because they have antioxidant properties and help to prevent inflammation in the body. Choose extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, or grapes seed oil. Other sources of polyphenols are raw nuts, cashew nuts, or avocado.
Fish and seafood contain Omega 3 fatty acids that play a crucial role in reducing the inflammation in the body. Consume herring, sardines, trout, salmon, anchovies, mackerel, cod, or other seafood at least twice a week.
Spices are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Adding spices such as chili, basil, cinnamon, and turmeric to the food you’re preparing will reduce the inflammation in the body. Among all these spices, the turmeric is known as the most powerful anti-inflammatory.
Is an anti-inflammatory diet really effective?
Experts say that although the theoretical foundations are promising, long-term effects of this diet have not yet been studied in full.
Asian diets have been proven to help to reduce the risks of heart diseases, and asian diets are very similar to anti-inflammatory diets.
Some clinical studies have proven that an unhealthy diet rich in fats but low in healthy fats (for example, Omega complex fatty acids) is associated with an increased level of cytokines, which are the molecules that trigger the inflammation process in the body.
At least 3 grams of Omega 3 per day reduces inflammation in the body, and more specifically it is recommended for reducing the manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis, reducing morning stiffness, and the number of joints affected by the disease.
Given that these diets appear to have a solid theoretical foundation, anti-inflammatory diets are becoming more and more popular.
On the other hand, nutritionists say that what to eat to lower inflammation is not enough, therefore an anti-inflammatory diet can’t reduce the inflammation without the help of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy body weight also seems to have a beneficial effect on reducing the inflammation in the body.