What does an anti-inflammatory diet actually mean?

An anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating that focuses on foods known to reduce inflammation while minimising or avoiding those that increase inflammation. This approach can offer several benefits for overall health and certain conditions.

Reduced chronic inflammation
The primary goal of an anti-inflammatory diet is to lower chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

Lower risk of chronic diseases
By reducing inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet may lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Pain management
For individuals with conditions like arthritis, an anti-inflammatory diet can help alleviate pain and improve joint function.

Weight management
Chronic inflammation can contribute to obesity, and an anti-inflammatory diet can help with weight management, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Foods that contribute to inflammation include deep-fried, processed food and food high in sugar.

Improved heart health
Many anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Balanced blood sugar
Anti-inflammatory foods can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep it balanced throughout the day. It is important as balanced blood sugar will improve energy levels, support overall hormone levels and reduce food cravings.

Better digestive health
Some anti-inflammatory foods, such as ginger and turmeric, can help with digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal issues. A lot of the foods in an anti-inflammatory diet are high in fibre which can help prevent constipation by regulating bowel movement.

Cognitive health
Chronic inflammation is linked to cognitive decline and an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may help protecting the brain.

Healthy skin
Reducing inflammation through diet can help improve the appearance and health of the skin by improving conditions like acne, eczema or psoriasis.

Mental health
Research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet could have a positive impact on mood and mental health, potentially reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.

What foods are included in an anti-inflammatory diet?

  • Fruits and berries: Blueberries, raspberries, cherries, citrus fruits, grapes and apples.
  • Vegetables: Spinach, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and peppers.
  • Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, sardine, herring and anchovies.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, cashews and chia seeds
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa and brown rice.
  • Herbs and spices: Turmeric, ginger and garlic.
  • Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil and avocado.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and chickpeas.
  • Green tea: Contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Dark chocolate: In moderation, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can have anti-inflammatory properties. Choose 75% or higher for these benefits.

Reducing or avoiding processed foods, added sugars, trans fats, consumption of grain-fed red meat and alcohol can also help reduce inflammation in the body.

Looking at inflammatory triggers in addition to inflammatory foods, stress can be a big driver so finding ways to deal with stress is important. I will need to do a separate post around this but stress management techniques involve deep breathing, yoga, meditation, EFT tapping, exercise, walking in nature etc.

Drop me a message if you have any questions as I would love to hear from you. I offer free 20 minute consultations where we can chat about your health goals and any symptoms you experience that you would like to address through personalised nutritional therapy.

Ellen Sorlen

Founder and Owner of Nourish with Ellen

I’m Ellen, a fully qualified, insured and registered nutritional therapist with over 200 clinical hours. I strongly believe we need to nourish our bodies to flourish as individuals. Balance and moderation are the keys to a happy and healthy life and this is something I value and make sure are applied to the work I do with my clients.

Nutrition is so much more than just the food we eat, it’s about how we eat, our relationship with food but also with ourselves. It’s about lifestyle choices, mindset and purpose.My mission is to find what works for YOU and your individual circumstances. Get in touch to find out how I can help you take control over your health.

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