Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

One year it’s this diet trend, the next year it’s that diet trend. The funny thing is that, aside from the all-celery and 8-grapefruits family of diets, all the smart diets end up saying pretty much the same thing: Eat bushels of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, less animal fat, and cut out refined foods. Genius!

Lately there’s been a flood of diet books based on the anti-inflammatory concept. The gist is that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to illness, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation inspires better health and can fend off disease. We generally think of inflammation as the painful part of arthritis, but inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes. Which is why proponents of the diet say it can reduce heart disease risk, keep existing cardiac problems in check, reduce blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and soothe sore and stiff arthritic joints.

Specifics vary from one anti-inflammatory diet to another, but in general, anti-inflammatory diets recommend:

  • Eat plenty and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat little saturated and trans fats.
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
  • Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice.
  • Increase your consumption of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.
  • Limit (or quit) your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy foods, increase lean protein and plant-protein source.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.
  • Generously use anti-inflammatory spices.

 

By incorporating these herbs and spices into your diet, you get great flavors with healing properties. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found, for example, that basil has anti-inflammatory activity compared to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin!

Top anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Cardamon
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Parsley

Ready to tame the inflammation? Try these:

Parsley, garlic, and superfood walnuts: Parsley & Walnut Pesto
Double yummy whammy!: Ginger & Turmeric Tea
The all-star anti-inflammatory round-up: Vegetarian Curry

192 comments

Ree O.
Ree O.10 days ago

Thanks for this article and the links to the recipes! I've started adding different herbs and spices to homemade soups to give them a different flavour each time I take a portion out of the freezer. I find it great to experiment with different combinations of these foods! :)

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 months ago

thanks

Maureen King
Maureen King5 months ago

Sorry,last comment went too soon.Oops

Flaxseed high in Omega 3.Unrefined.Anti inflammatory.Preferable to prescribed medications.

Maureen King
Maureen King5 months ago

Thanks.Excellent article.Deserves an A.
Along with white pasta and white rice,should have been white bread.
Every one should be trying to use more herbs and spices for their beneficial effects on health.
Take my Organic Cold Pressed Flaxseed capsule's twice daily.High in Omega

Linda Wallace
Linda W.5 months ago

Thank you.

Franck R.
Frank R.5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Jeramie D.
Jeramie D.5 months ago

This just described my diet. Thank you for all the reminders

Anon E.
Cela V.5 months ago

walnuts, really? tyfs

Julie F.
Julie F.5 months ago

great - thank you