Reduce the level of chronic inflammation – at the root of chronic diseases – through an anti-inflammatory diet! Learn how to create an anti-inflammatory kitchen with these top 20 anti-inflammatory food tips and 10 anti-inflammatory recipes and shopping list.
The strategy of eating your way to lower inflammation levels has gained momentum. A recent Google search for “anti-inflammatory diet” yielded more than 516 million hits! Scientists recognize that inflammation can fuel the major chronic disease killers of our time, from heart disease to cancer. While acute inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or attack, is good, chronic inflammation is not. When the body’s inflammatory response fails to stop or is activated when there is no real trigger—sometimes lasting for days, months, or even years—chronic inflammation results. This underlying inflammation can become the root of many diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes (see my book The plant-based plan to beat diabetes for more information), cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological degeneration.
That’s why it’s so important to discover ways to infuse more anti-inflammatory ingredients into your lifestyle by creating an anti-inflammatory kitchen. I’m sharing some of my favorite anti-inflammatory recipes below, as well as my top 20 anti-inflammatory food tips to promote an anti-inflammatory cooking style.
Promoting anti-inflammatory living
Perhaps no one is more familiar with anti-inflammatory living than Andrew Weil, MDdirector of integrative medicine at the University of Arizona and author of several books including; Good nutrition for optimal health. “All diseases of aging have a common root: inappropriate inflammation. It is now a mainstream view that the inflammatory process promotes diseases such as coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. There is also a link with cancer. anything that upregulates inflammation increases the pressure for cells to divide rapidly,” Weil reports. “Inflammation is at the cornerstone of the body’s healing process. it is so powerful yet so destructive. If it is chronic at low levels that are imperceptible throughout the body, it creates the basis of age-related diseases.
Fighting inflammation with diet
A growing body of evidence links specific foods and dietary patterns to lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Both epidemiological studies and intervention trials support a link between diet and reduced risk of many chronic diseases, and experts believe the diet-inflammation link may be one explanation. In a study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists found that diets high in refined starches, sugars, saturated fat, and trans fat and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids appear to activate the inflammatory response. But a diet rich in whole foods, including healthy carbohydrates and sources of fat and protein, along with regular exercise and smoking cessation, appears to cool inflammation.
Weil points out that epidemiological evidence links traditional dietary patterns, such as the Japanese and Mediterranean diets, to lower rates of disease. Both diets have characteristics associated with lower levels of inflammation. The traditional Japanese diet is low in fat, sugar, flour and dairy products and high in fish, vegetables, sea vegetables, rice, green tea, fruit and soy foods, while the Mediterranean diet is low in meat and sugar and high in fish. whole grains, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, vegan and vegetarian diets—high in plant foods—have been linked to lower levels of inflammation.
“You can go through life with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle or you can go through life with a pro-inflammatory lifestyle. Diet has a huge impact on inflammation. People should stop eating processed, processed, processed foods and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in phytonutrients that protect against cancer and other diseases and focus on high-quality plant proteins such as legumes, nuts, grains and soy foods. “, emphasizes Weil.
Scientists are also investigating the benefits of individual foods on inflammation. While a dietary pattern rich in plant foods appears to be at the root of lower inflammation, specific foods such as berries, tomato products, walnuts, turmeric and red wine appear to hold particular promise, according to recent research. Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, Director of Nutrition at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, reports that the modern Western diet—high in calories, fat, and sugar and low in nutrients—is pro-inflammatory. . . In fact, obesity is a pro-inflammatory condition. But individuals can combat this inflammatory condition with diet, he says.
Burton-Freeman explains that the phytonutrients in plant foods reduce disease risk through multiple pathways related to inflammation. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week crossover trial led by Burton-Freeman (and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition), a strawberry drink reduced the inflammatory response of overweight men and women to a high-fat meal. In another study authored by Burton-Freeman, tomato paste prevented meal-induced inflammation in men and women of a healthy weight.
“There are nutritional strategies that can fight inflammation,” he says. “The effect of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can be seen even in a single meal. Think of a lifetime of meals unprotected from inflammation or a lifetime of meals protected.”
Top 20 Anti-Inflammatory Food Tips
The scientific evidence goes on to paint a picture of an anti-inflammatory diet that looks like this:
- Eat a rich variety of plant foods to provide a variety of nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Draw a colorful plateproviding a rainbow of phytochemicals responsible for the colors in plants.
- Avoid highly processed, refined, low-nutrient foodssuch as refined grains and sugary foods and drinks.
- Focus on whole, minimally processed plant foodssuch as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Packaging in fruits and vegetables (at least half your plate!) to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Add dark green leafy vegetables in the diet often, such as cabbage, spinach, mustard and arugula.
- Cook with mushrooms oftenwhich are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Include frequent intake of berriessuch as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries.
- Balance the calories to promote healthy weight; Excess calories can promote inflammation.
- Focus on healthy carbsin particular, which are less refined, high in fiber and low on the glycemic index.
- Eat most of your grains in their whole form (intact kernels are better than flour), such as farro, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, and sorghum.
- Limit your intake of added sugarssuch as cane sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
- Reduce animal proteinswith seafood as the main animal source (if consumed).
- Make plant proteins the star of the dishsuch as legumes, soy foods and nuts.
- Focus on healthy fatssuch as mono and polyunsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts and avocados.
- Minimize unhealthy fatssuch as saturated fats found in animal foods and tropical oils, and trans fats (which have been banned in recent years).
- Include a regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources such as walnuts, flax, soy foods and chia seeds (and fish for non-vegetarians).
- Flavor foods with antioxidant spices and herbssuch as garlic, green herbs, ginger and turmeric.
- Enjoy healthy drinks such as water, tea or coffee (no added sugars or saturated fat) and moderate red wine (if you choose to drink alcohol).
- Leave small amounts of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) as a treat.
Healthy and delicious anti-inflammatory cooking
An anti-inflammatory style of cooking happens to go hand in hand with a general optimal eating pattern recommended by many health experts and organizations. Even the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises an eating pattern that shares much in common with this eating style. With an emphasis on whole plant-based foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, aromatic herbs and spices, healthy proteins, and moderate consumption of wine and chocolate, it can be not only a healthy lifestyle, but a delicious one as well.
Anti-Inflammatory Shopping List
To create an anti-inflammatory kitchen, use this food shopping list.
Fish and shellfish (vegetarians and vegans can skip)
- Sardines (canned in olive oil or water)
- Tuna (light, canned in water)
Fruits (fresh, frozen or canned without sugar)
Herbs and spices (fresh or dried)
Legumes, soy foods, nuts, seeds
Vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned without salt)
- Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
- Red wine in moderation (if you choose to drink alcohol)
- Tea (green, white or black)
Note: This is a partial shopping list—many additional cultural, traditional foods contain anti-inflammatory compounds.
Try these top 10 anti-inflammatory recipes:
Avocado quinoa salad with pomegranate
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Quinoa
Turmeric Peanut Rice Bowl
Apple Raisin Red Cabbage Slaw
Vegan Sloppy Joes
Ratatouille with white beans
Smoked Sweet Potato Chili
Snow Peas and Seitan Vegetable Stir Fry
Italian Zucchini Boxes with Vegan Pesto
Arugula salad with tomatoes
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