Accessibility View Close toolbar

1310 Washington Street

Pella, IA 50219 US

641-628-2099

Open mobile navigation

6-11-18

Health Update

Monday, June 11, 2018

Courtesy of Russell R Van Hemert DC

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

By Cathy Wong, ND | Reviewed by Richard N. Fogoros, MD

Updated February 23, 2018

The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation, a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. 

Often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and a lack of exercise, chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.

Since our food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti-inflammatory diet is thought to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent or treat the following conditions: allergiesAlzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stroke.

Foods to Eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Research suggests that people with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and fish may have a reduced risk for inflammation-related diseases. In addition, substances found in some foods (especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) appear to possess anti-inflammatory effects.

Foods high in antioxidants include:

  • Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)
  • Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)
  • Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice)
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Omega-3-fortified foods (including eggs and milk)

There's also some evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as gingerturmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.

Foods to Avoid

Omega-6 fatty acids (a type of essential fatty acid found in a wide range of foods) are known to increase the body's production of inflammatory chemicals. Since omega-6 fatty acids help maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and promote brain function, you shouldn't cut them out of your diet altogether. However, it's important to balance your intake of omega-6 fatty acids with your intake of omega-3 fatty acids in order to keep inflammation in check.

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include:

  • Meat
  • Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream)
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut and cottonseed oil)

Instead of vegetable oils, opt for oils like olive oil and avocado oil.

Additionally, studies show that a high intake of high-glycemic index foods like sugar and refined grains, such as those found in white bread and many processed foods, may rev up inflammation. Avoid sugary drinks, refined carbohydrates, desserts, and processed snack foods.

The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

More and more research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet may play a key role in scores of health conditions. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2017, for instance, assessed the association between dietary inflammation (measured by a dietary inflammatory index) and atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries) in women over the age of 70. Researchers found that dietary inflammatory index scores were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and heart-disease-related death.

Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce levels of certain inflammatory markers (such as a substance called C-reactive protein) in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Endocrine in 2016.

For the study, people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes followed the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. After one year, C-reactive protein levels fell by 37 percent in people on the Mediterranean diet, but remained unchanged in those on the low-fat diet.

Meal Ideas

Breakfast foods: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal.

Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon.

Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples and nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole.

Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, golden milk, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.

Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  • Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids while increasing your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring).
  • Replace red meat with healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, soy, beans and lentils.
  • Swap out margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • Instead of choosing refined grains, opt for fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, breads, and pastas that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.
  • Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavor with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

A Word From Verywell

Choosing a variety of these delicious, antioxidant-rich foods can help curb inflammation in combination with exercise and a good night's sleep, which may improve inflammation markers and possibly reduce your risk of many illnesses.

Sources:

Bondonno NP, Lewis JR, Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Dietary inflammatory index in relation to sub-clinical atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in older women. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(11):1577-1586.

Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Petrizzo M, Scappaticcio L, Giugliano D, Esposito K. Mediterranean diet cools down the inflammatory milieu in type 2 diabetes: the MÉDITA randomized controlled trial. Endocrine. 2016 Dec;54(3):634-641.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Sign up now or call us at 641-628-2099 to make your appointment!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

6:30 am

6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am

2:00PM

Thursday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Friday:

6:30 am

12:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "I saw Doc when I was a senior at central college. He really took great care of me and the patients received great treatments. I just graduated chiropractic school 6 months ago and want to thank Doc for the motivation to pursue chiropractic school."
    Joel M. / Pella, IA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Relationship with Self

    The relationship you have with yourself and the journey to self-understanding is an important part of your overall wellness. ...

    Read More
  • Indoor Activities and Exercises

    Are you preparing for the winter months or looking for exercises to do when you can't make it to the gym? Follow these exercises to maintain a healthy fitness routine. ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Stress - Take a Deep Breath

    Most of us pay little attention, if any, to the daily functioning of our many physiological systems. Our hearts beat, our digestive systems digest, and our various hormones, such as those deriving from the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas, do what they do. It's all good... until it's not. ...

    Read More
  • Proper Overindulgence Over the Holidays

    Proper Overindulgence Over The Holidays The term "overindulgence" is probably best assessed as a red flag, especially with respect to consistent overconsumption of high-calorie comfort food and desserts during the holiday season. An overall healthier perspective could be described as "indulgence" regarding ...

    Read More
  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles