An anti inflammatory diet is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change that can put you on the road to health and longevity.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil:
It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. When inflammation persists or serves no purpose, it damages the body and causes illness. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like secondhand tobacco smoke) can all contribute to such chronic inflammation, but dietary choices play a big role as well. The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health.
General Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips
Dr. Weil Recommends:
1. Aim for variety.
2. Include as much fresh food as possible.
3. Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food.
4. Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables
6. Try to include carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Foods to Avoid
1. The “3 Ps” Processed, packaged, or prepared foods.
2. Hydrogenated and trans fats found in margarine, shortening, lard or products made with them.
3. Meat, poultry, and farmed fish.
4. Fried foods
5. White sugar and sweets, including soft drinks and sweetened juices.
6. Synthetic sweeteners: Nutrasweet, Splenda, saccharin, aspartame, AminoSweet, etc.
7. Iodized Salt (use sea salt instead)
8. Food additives: colors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc. Some of the main ones include sulfites, benzoates, and colors named FD&C #”X.” Unfortunately, many foods consumed by children are loaded with these harmful, toxic ingredients.
9. Dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese, etc.)
10. Wheat products
11. Other gluten-containing grains. Gluten is found in most grains and is highly inflammatory. Choose grains or seeds like buckwheat, quinoa, or millet for your baking.
13. Avoid regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Eat
After reading Dr. Weil’s very informative article, I condensed it into this list of anti-inflammatory foods you should eat. Be sure to read his article for other dietary recommendations.
1. Whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat, in which the grain is intact or in a few large pieces. These are preferable to whole wheat flour products, which have roughly the same glycemic index as white flour products.
3. Winter squashes
4. Sweet potatoes
5. Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. If you want a neutral tasting oil, use expeller-pressed, organic canola oil. Organic, high-oleic, expeller pressed versions of sunflower and safflower oil are also acceptable.
6. Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, almonds, and nut butters made from these nuts.
7. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms from all parts of the color spectrum: berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, cabbage, and dark leafy greens.
8. Choose organic produce whenever possible. Learn which conventionally grown crops are most likely to carry pesticide residues and avoid them.
9. Drink tea instead of coffee, especially good quality white, green or oolong tea.
10. If you drink alcohol, use red wine preferentially.
11. Enjoy plain dark chocolate in moderation (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent).
12. For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, and black cod (sablefish, butterfish); omega-3 fortified eggs; hemp seeds and flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground); or take a fish oil supplement (look for products that provide both EPA and DHA, in a convenient daily dosage of two to three grams).
13. High quality natural cheese and yogurt.
14. 40 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains.
Here is Dr. Weil’s handy anti-inflammatory food pyramid: