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Anti-inflammatory Diet: Foods that help fight inflammation

Inflammation is a natural physiological process. The natural reaction in the body to certain stimuli will cause inflammation as a natural defense mechanism. Inflammation is not a bad thing in itself. But chronic inflammation has been linked to a long list of serious medical conditions. This is why an anti-inflammatory diet might be a good thing for some people. 

An anti-inflammatory diet is one that can help control inflammation when this natural process has gone beyond its basic defense purposes and has begun causing problems. When you are suffering from medical conditions that are directly linked to chronic inflammation, one of the best ways to combat this is with a diet that reduces or eliminates foods that cause inflammation. 

The fact is, our modern diet is filled with foods that are toxic and cause serious medical problems. One of the main culprits is the dietary compounds that cause or contribute to chronic inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is perhaps the best way to fight chronic inflammation. 

What is an anti-inflammatory diet? What are the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet? And what are the best things to eat for an anti-inflammatory diet? This guide will get you on your way toward a healthy and restorative anti-inflammatory diet. 

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is one that relies on foods that not only do not cause inflammation, but also actively reduce inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet would consist primarily of things like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

An anti-inflammatory diet would also necessarily reduce or eliminate things like red meat. Red meat contains high levels of fats that are directly linked to chronic inflammation. 

To fully understand an anti-inflammatory diet, it is important to understand what inflammation is and its role in the body. Inflammation occurs when there is an immune response in the body. These include classic outward symptoms like swelling, redness, and pain. These are natural reactions and are part of the immune system's response to toxicity or injury. 

Inflammation is actually a good thing as long as it remains under control. This is to say that inflammation is fine as long as it does not become a persistent condition as the result of other triggers besides immediate immune responses. When inflammation gets out of control it can lead to things like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. 

Thankfully, chronic inflammation can be reduced and controlled by your diet. Often it is the case that chronic inflammation is the result of the foods we eat. By changing our diet to one that actively reduces inflammation, we can reduce our risk of serious illness and regain our health. 

Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet

The benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet have to do with the ways this diet can repair damaged tissue and the conditions that result from this damage. There are a host of medical problems that are attributable to chronic inflammation. All of these conditions can be treated at least in part by taking on an anti-inflammatory diet. Some of the conditions that can be treated with an anti-inflammatory diet include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Asthma
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Metabolic syndrome

Scientists agree that all of these conditions are either caused by or aggravated by chronic inflammation. Simply reducing your consumption of foods that can cause chronic inflammation can lead to drastic benefits to your health and either prevent or help treat any of the above conditions. 

Some of these conditions occur simultaneously. The co-occurrence of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure is generally referred to as a metabolic syndrome. By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. 

Types of anti-inflammatory diets

There is no single anti-inflammatory diet. What characterizes what we call an anti-inflammatory diet is simply a plan of eating that consists of anti-inflammatory foods. However, there are specific diets that function as anti-inflammatory diets. Here are some top examples:

Traditional Mediterranean Diet

Doctors long ago observed that people who live along the Mediterranean Sea appear to have lower incidences of many of the medical problems associated with inflammation. The people who live in this region of the world have low rates of heart disease, cancer, and other serious medical issues that are known to be linked to chronic inflammation. One common feature of the populations who live in the Mediterranean is their diet

A Mediterranean diet will include:

  • A wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and unprocessed grains and legumes. These form the bulk of this type of diet. 
  • Olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • Fish is one of the principal forms of protein, with only small amounts of red meat. 
  • Small amounts of cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, but little butter or cream.
  • Wine in moderate amounts. 
  • Sweets are made from nuts, olive oil, honey, and dried fruits. 

Okinawan Diet

The Japanese island of Okinawa has become well-known for its extremely healthy population of people. It is not uncommon for the people of Okinawa to live beyond 100 years. Again, scientists attribute this health and longevity to the diet of the Okinawan people. 

The diet of Okinawa is heavy on anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables and sweet potatoes. They also have some of the highest soy consumption in the world. Coupled with the fact that the Okinawan diet contains no processed sugar and is low in red meat, it is considered one of the healthiest anti-inflammatory diets. 

The Okinawan diet consists primarily of:

  • Low-calorie foods
  • Vegetables, including seaweed
  • Legumes, especially soy
  • Moderate fish
  • Low meat and dairy
  • Alcohol in moderate amounts

Some of the things that are unique about the Okinawan diet include:

  • Large amounts of soy. This includes things like tofu and miso. Both of these foods contain isoflavones which are powerful anti-inflammatories. 
  • Sweet potatoes. This is the main starch in the Okinawan diet. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene and vitamins E and C. These are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. 
  • Low-fat. The Okinawan diet is naturally low in fat. 

Traditional Nordic Diet

While the main Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have their own distinct native diets, they all have some key features they share. These core foods include:

  • Rye products
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Fish
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Canola oil is the main oil

These foods appear to contribute to a population that suffers far lower cases of diseases related to inflammation since all of these foods are known anti-inflammatories. 

People who live on this diet have lower blood sugar levels and lower levels of many of the blood markers for cancer. It appears that the combination of fruits, berries, and rye all contribute to a powerful anti-inflammatory diet drastically that reduces the risk of nearly all of the diseases associated with inflammation. 

Foods to eat during an anti-inflammatory diet

Even if you do not want to take on a specific type of anti-inflammatory diet, there are some anti-inflammatory foods you can pay attention to and take care to include in your diet. These anti-inflammatory foods include:

Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds. Increasing your intake of fresh berries can vastly reduce your risk of developing many of the diseases linked to inflammation. 

Fatty fish

Fatty fish are high in omega-3 antioxidants. You may have noticed that fatty fish are integral to the traditional diets now understood to be anti-inflammatory diets. The healthiest anti-inflammatory fish include:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovies

Including fatty fish in your diet can help prevent metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. These vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. 

Olive oil

Olive oil is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet. It is considered to be one of the healthiest fats you can eat. Studies have linked the consumption of olive oil with a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions. 

Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil offers greater anti-inflammatory benefits than those provided by more refined olive oils.

Tomatoes

Another staple of the Mediterranean diet, tomatoes keep revealing the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds they contain. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants with impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Lycopene is also known to prevent several types of cancer

Foods to avoid during an anti-inflammatory diet

There is a wealth of anti-inflammatory foods. There are also some foods to avoid during an anti-inflammatory diet. These include:

  • Processed foods
  • Foods with added sugar or salt
  • Unhealthful oils
  • Processed carbs, which are present in white bread, white pasta, and many baked goods
  • Processed snack foods, such as chips and crackers
  • Premade desserts, such as cookies, candy, and ice cream
  • Excess alcohol

Anti-inflammatory diet Tips

Making significant changes in your diet can always be challenging. But the following tips should help you make the switch to an anti-inflammatory diet.

Stock up on a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Variety will make the change to an anti-inflammatory much easier. Having a good variety of healthy foods and snacks on hand will also make it easier to refrain from eating foods that cause inflammation, like processed foods. 

Gradually replace fast food with healthy meals you prepare at home. Meal prepping can make this process much easier and much more satisfying. You are far less likely to swing through a drive-thru for fast food if you have healthy anti-inflammatory meals prepped and ready to eat. 

Replace soda and sugary drinks with sparkling water. Stock up on healthy sparkling water that does not contain added sugar. You will soon lose your desire to drink sugary beverages. 

Other things to consider include:

  • Healthy supplements like those from Spartan Detox.
  • Beginning a moderate exercise routine.
  • Make sure you get plenty of good sleep. 
  • Always drink plenty of water. 

Anti-inflammatory diet FAQs

What is inflammation?

Inflammation occurs when there is an immune response in the body. These include classic outward symptoms like swelling, redness, and pain. These are natural reactions and are part of the immune system’s response to toxicity or injury. 

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is one that relies on foods that not only do not cause inflammation but also actively reduce inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet would consist primarily of things like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

What are some examples of anti-inflammatory diets? 

The best examples of anti-inflammatory diets include the Mediterranean diet, the Okinawan diet, and the Nordic diet. 

What are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods? 

The best anti-inflammatory foods include fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, fresh berries, and olive oil. 

Spartan Detox Plans

In addition to anti-inflammatory diets, you can also include healthy supplements, juices, and smoothies from Spartan detox and the Spartan Detox Plan. Spartan offers several plans designed to meet your specific needs. Whether your goal is to lose weight or to bolster your immune system, Spartan Detox provides plans that include the juices and smoothies that will help you meet your goals. 

Spartan Detox Plans are made from natural juices and smoothies are prepared every day using the best quality fruits outdoors, offering an exceptional taste and drink experience that will help your body feel energetic. 

Spartan Detox also provides support through your detox programs. 

Conclusion

Inflammation is a natural process. It is the natural reaction to toxicity, disease, and injury. The natural role of inflammation is to protect the body and help it heal when there is a problem. But when inflammation becomes chronic, either because of serious illness or from poor diet, it can lead to a long list of serious illnesses and conditions. 

Things like arthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are all caused in part by chronic inflammation. This type of inflammation is most often the result of diet. When we eat the wrong foods for too long, our bodies respond with chronic inflammation. 

By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, you can vastly reduce or even eliminate chronic inflammation. Simply by reducing the amount of red meat, processed foods, and sugary drinks and increasing the number of things like fatty fish and fresh berries can result in feeling better and even longer, healthier life.

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