Easy Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan Tips
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to trauma or injury. It is meant to protect tissue in the short-term while the body heals — and in this situation, it’s a positive! We run into trouble when the body is in a constant state of inflammation, which is often the result of diet and lifestyle choices.
As with many conditions, the best way to treat inflammation — and prevent it altogether — is through a personalized meal plan. Creating an anti-inflammatory meal plan through a whole food, largely plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to decrease your level of inflammation and, in turn, prevent disease.
The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Whether we can see it or not, inflammation is a sign that something is off-balance. Inflammation can make itself known in the form of digestive problems, chronic fatigue, moodiness, food cravings and weight retention. It is also an indicator for many diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and digestive disorders. Because of this, there are many benefits of an anti-inflammatory meal plan, including:
- More energy
- Less bloating
- Less mood swings
- Weight loss
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced blood triglycerides and blood pressure
- Less swollen joints
Tips to Creating Your Own Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan
Now that we have covered the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, let’s look at some tips when designing your own.
Eat a Variety of Whole, Plant-Based Foods
A well-balanced anti-inflammatory diet is full of variety. It maximizes nutrients without restriction or calorie counting, allowing the body to tap back into its natural signaling and curbs cravings for junk foods that promote inflammation.
There are a few key food groups that kick-start inflammation, including:
- Animal products, including dairy
- Sugar, especially processed varieties and artificial sweeteners
- Refined grains like white bread
- Processed or fried foods high in omega-6 fatty acids (think potato chips, fries and donuts).
When newly embarking on an anti-inflammatory meal plan, it’s important to reduce your intake of these and focus instead on clean eating and a variety of healthy fats, whole low-glycemic carbohydrates with ample fiber, and proteins that don’t encourage imbalance. Here are some healthy anti-inflammatory food choices:
Vegetables: Veggies are the cornerstone of an anti-inflammatory diet plan. Collards, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, sprouts, cucumber, peppers, mushrooms and green beans, plus crucifers like kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts make excellent bases for most meals. Toss in some brightly colored carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, eggplant and tomatoes for variety.
Lean proteins: Plant-based proteins like lentils or cold-water fish like tuna, salmon and sardines are great options.
Citrus: Citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruit, and oranges are relatively low in sugar (compared to other fruits), and they provide a dose of vitamin C.
Whole grains: Consider adding low-glycemic carbohydrates from whole grains and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, and brown rice. Soak these overnight and cook well to ensure optimal digestion, which will help to reduce stress and inflammation on the GI tract.
Try it Raw
It’s also a good idea to explore raw nuts, seeds and oils in place of processed or cooked varieties, as certain plant foods can become more acidic and inflammation-producing when cooked. Look for raw, sprouted varieties as these will help your body take up more nutrients without the negative effects of cooked oils. Raw oils, like avocado and coconut, can provide delicious alternatives to heat-processed varieties.
Some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds can be found in herbs, spices and teas, which are easy to incorporate daily. These compounds, many of which contain antioxidants, help to reduce free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation. Work some green tea, turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro and parsley into your meals to keep inflammation at bay.
Avoid Binging and Restricting
Constant, unpredictable change, like alternating between very high and very low calorie diets, places stress on the body and can create inflammation. This can slow down your metabolism and promote weight gain. Yo-yo dieting puts strain on the body’s cells and organs and can interfere with internal processes including heart, digestive and lymphatic function. These perpetuate the cycle of inflammation.
Aim for Balance, Not Perfection
To get the most out of your anti-inflammatory meal plan, don’t stress (stress itself is inflammatory!). If you can aim for 85-90% anti-inflammatory whole food, you’re left with a little wiggle room for those extra pleasures, like packaged nut milks, condiments and coffee.
You may also wish to explore other non-food forms of inflammation therapy, which can be as simple as gentle yoga, a walk in nature, meditation and adequate sleep. All of these help the body reduce inflammation and function at its best.
In today’s world of convenience food, online delivery, and busy schedules, it can be hard to get the nutrients we need. If you struggle with inflammation, trying a diet focused on plant-based proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains may decrease symptoms of inflammation. Many proponents of the diet enjoy increased energy, less bloating, and better digestive health. PlateJoy is here to help you design the perfect anti-inflammatory meal plan.
*This content is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is provided for information purposes only. *