Anti-Inflammatory Diet

A host of different factors can cause inflam­mation, but diet and nutrition are significant contributors. An anti-inflammatory diet that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, healthy fats and antioxidants can have considerable benefits.

One of the most inflammatory diets is the Standard American Diet (SAD). It’s high in fried foods, refined carbohydrates, simple sugars, unhealthy fats and added chemicals, which can all contribute to triggering inflammation in the body.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vibrantly colored veggies are naturally high in polyphenols and antioxidants, which may help counter the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation.

BroccoliCauliflowerBrussels sprouts
CucumberCeleryAsparagus
SpinachKaleCollard Greens
CabbageEggplantPeppers
SquashSweet PotatoBeets
CarrotsCherriesPeaches
All BerriesTomatoHums

Protein and fats

Protein and fat are two of the three macro- nutrients that form the foundation of a healthy diet. However, most Western diets are laden with processed meats, such as deli meats, bacon and sausage, as well as un­healthy fats like margarine and shortening. Good sources of protein and fat include:

Wild-Caught Fish like Salmon, Tuna and MackerelOrganic Grass- Fed BeefExtra Virgin
Olive Oil
Hemp SeedsChia SeedsAvocado Oil
Organic PoultryPistachiosAlgae Oil
Free-Range EggsPumpkin Seeds 
LentilsAvocados 

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the third macronutrient and serve a vital role in a ba anced diet. Carbohydrates have a bad reputation, but there’s no reason to cut them out of your diet entire y. Instead, limit refined carbs such as white bread, bagels, cookies, etc. while filling up on whole grains which are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Steel Cut OatsBuckwheatQuinoa
FarroMillet 

Spices and Extras

Green and Black TeaDark Chocolate (>70% cocoa)Apple Cider Vinegar
TurmericGingerCumin
PaprikaRosemaryCinnamon
GarlicCloveSage

Note: Try to shop organic, grass-fed, free-range, unpro­cessed and low sodium when possible.

Foods to Avoid or Limit

Do your best to read the labels on pack­aged foods. If the names are too hard to pronounce, they are likely chemical-based ingredients and not very good for you.

  • Processed and high-sodium foods such as cured ham, bacon and sausage
  • Too many simple carbohydrates like white bread, bagels, white pasta, instant rice, sweetened cereals, baked food and desserts
  • “Reduced sugar” foods containing high amounts of artificial sweeteners such as yogurt, muffins and breads, fruit juices, ketchup, sports drinks and salad dressings.

Sugar hides behind many names, and these are the ones you’ll most commonly see on food labels: Brown rice syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, dextrose monohy­drate, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose syrup, high fructose syrup, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, nectars, sucrose, sorghum syrup, wheat syrup.

Other Good Anti-Inflammatory Habits

Physical Activity

Physical activity is essential for good health. For important health benefits, adults should aim for at least 2 ½ hours to 5 hours a week of moderate intensity activity. Find activities that you enjoy doing and remember that some activity is better than none!

Cardio: walking hiking, dancing, swimming, jogging or running, biking, Zumba and sports like tennis or basketball.

Strength: weight training, calisthenics, Pilates, vigorous yoga, CrossFit, barre and heavy gardening.

Flexibility: yoga and stretching.

Quality sleep

In the short term, sleep deprivation can affect your mood, judgment and inhibit your ability to learn and retain information. In the long run, the lack of adequate sleep can contribute to a host of health problems. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults age 26 to 64 should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of an interrupted sleep each night, while older adults age 65 and over should sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

Stress management

Stress comes in many forms; physical, mental and emotional stress ken all effect your health in various ways. But not all stress is bad. Like inflammation, stress is meant to be an acute process in the body designed to serve a purpose, then resolve it. However when stress becomes chronic, it can take a toll on your well-being. Strategies for managing stress can include eating a healthy diet, being active, getting enough quality sleep, as well as practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.