One of the healthiest ways to reduce inflammation does not come from pharmacy shelves but from our own refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Here at PDR we strongly believe that sustaining a healthy diet and being active is an important part of treatment and accelerates the recovery process.
Inflammation helps the body fight illness and can protect it from harm. In most cases, it is a necessary part of the healing process. However, some people have a medical condition in which the immune system does not work as it should. This malfunction can lead to persistent or recurrent low-level inflammation and, instead of helping our bodies, inflammation can become its enemy. Many major diseases – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s – have been linked to chronic inflammation. Picking the wrong type of food can accelerate inflammation while choosing meals that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients can significantly reduce the risk of illness.
What to eat to fight inflammation:
- Vegetables – especially green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, beets, onions, beans, seaweed.
- Fruits – the darker, the more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients. A variety is key.
- Grains – wild, brown, and basmati rice, buckwheat and barley groats, quinoa are recommended products to provide energy and minimize sudden spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels, which promotes inflammatory processes.
- Pasta – made out of wholemeal flour, rice, or bean pasta. Cook it al dente to lower the glycemic index, which is important in keeping stable blood glucose levels.
- Legume seeds – beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and soluble fiber, which helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
- Healthy fats – good quality extra virgin olive oil, organic, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, walnuts and hazelnuts, seeds, especially hemp seeds and linseed, chia seeds, avocado.
- Fish and seafood – salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, and mackerel are sources of omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Soy products – tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and soy dishes to ensure the right amount of antioxidant isoflavones.
- Mushrooms – truffles, portobello mushrooms, and Asian shiitake, enokidake, maitake.
- Proteins – cheese, high-quality dairy products, omega-3 fortified eggs, skinless poultry, and lean dairy products.
- Tea – green, white, and oolong teas.
- Healthy sweets (occasionally) – unsweetened dried fruits, fruit sorbets, and dark chocolate (min. 70% of cocoa).
What to avoid:
- Junk foods of all kinds, including snacks like pretzels, crackers, flour tortillas
- Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pasta, white rice, biscuits
- Fried foods
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Processed meats: bacon, beef jerky, canned meat, salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
- Trans fats: shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine