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Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

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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.

Next: Top anti-inflammatory herbs & spices, and recipes

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

115 comments

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11:51AM PDT on Oct 15, 2014

This soooo did not need to be two pages! However, that being said, it has a good list of healthy foods that you should want to consume, even if you're not worrying about inflammation.

4:54AM PDT on Oct 9, 2014

We are what we eat

4:47AM PDT on Oct 9, 2014

Thank you :)

3:50AM PDT on Oct 9, 2014

Thanks. It's all really common sense!

12:07AM PDT on Oct 9, 2014

Thanks for the good article.
Happily, that sounds like a summary of my diet - except that I include a pinch of nutmeg with the cloves, cinnamon with my breakfast. No wonder I feel so healthy, except for the current allergies I'm reacting to.

10:23PM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Thanks for the excellent information, Melissa.

12:38PM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Interesting!

4:33AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Thank you.

3:47AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Okay - thanks

3:40AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Thanks.

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