The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce pain

Inflammation is a protective response of our body, towards injury, a normal immune response, and necessary for healing. In some persons, this response continues non-stop and damages healthy tissues, blood vessels or joints; this is known as chronic inflammation. For example, in people with Type 2 diabetes, cancer, digestive illnesses, lupus, joint problems, their own immune system is harming them. This is true for a plenty of heart and brain diseases, while one’s risk is increased with Alzheimer’s disease. These are called as auto-immune diseases.

A lot of data is available on the anti-inflammatory diet, be it

the internet, books, or other resources. Here are a number of Dos and Don’ts and a long list of foods to help you in the fight against inflammatory diseases. But it’s easier said than done. The reason is that all these diet patterns change your eating pattern so drastically that it is often impractical to follow them for a long term. A new study has armed us with some easy modifications in our diet that can do wonders for our health.

Researchers have come up with a nutritional plan exclusively to help avoid chronic inflammation. They have aptly named it the anti-inflammatory diet. It is comprised of whole foods with a high content of antioxidants, dietary fiber and good fats.

Now, let’s see what it looks like:-

To eat-

  • Vegetables and fruits: at least 5 palm-size servings daily in a variety of colors.
  • Fish: 2 servings weekly, especially salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Omega 3 fats: found in fish as well as flax seed and walnuts

Other beneficial fats: extra-virgin olive oil

  • Lean protein: 2 palm-size servings daily, from meat or legumes
  • Spices: turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander
  • Whole grains: 100% whole wheat, oats, barley and quinoa.

Not to eat-

  • refined carbohydrates
  • added sugars
  • sodium
  • trans fats
  • saturated fats
  • processed meat
  • omega 6 fats found in vegetable oils, salad dressings and processed foods.

One should avoid refined carbohydrates because they can worsen inflammation.

Some easy tips to help you:-

  • Change your afternoon snack from chips or pretzels to lots of raw vegetable slices, such as broccoli, peppers, and cucumbers
  • Add fruit to your oatmeal instead of sugar, to your salad instead of croutons, and to your dessert menu.
  • Grill or bake a large enough piece of fish to have leftovers the next day
  • Cook fish with onions and garlic, topped with a variety of spices and olive oil
  • Always eat home-cooked instant brown rice instead of a boxed rice or noodle mix
  • Try a crockpot dinner of quinoa, chicken and vegetables
  • Buy canned beans (rinse off the sodium) to take the place of meat once a week
  • Make your own salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic

To start with, include these changes; gradually week by week introduce a new anti-inflammatory food and eventually you will find yourself eating an anti-inflammatory diet which will not only help ward off diseases, but also help stay fit and healthy.

Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD