What can I eat? What about the rest of my family, the kids? What do I have to give up? Birthday cake? Isn’t it much more expensive?
Good questions. Let me assure you that an anti-inflammatory diet is not a sentence to give up all your favorite foods. You want it to be a meal plan that the rest of the family enjoys. The kids? You will set them up for a lifetime of health and longevity. You do not have to give up anything but having smaller portions of some foods is better. Remember when a muffin was a muffin, not football-size? Cookies were a treat? Of course, you can have birthday cake. Following an anti-inflammatory diet may be more expensive due to higher-quality foods, but as someone said, “have you priced cancer lately?”
Foods That Fight Inflammation
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, shellfish, herring, tuna provide excellent anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy oils that provide protection are olive oil and avocado oil for cooking. Flaxseeds, Chia seeds, walnuts are plant-based sources of Omega-3’s. If you cannot eat fish twice a week, you may rely on 2 grams of fish oil or krill oil supplement.
Fruits and Vegetables
Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Lots of them. What could be better? They provide powerful anti-oxidant chemicals that prevent cellular damage and provide high levels of phytochemicals that reduce inflammation and decrease risks of chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Berries, watermelon, apples, and pineapples are superstars. Citrus fruits provide high Vitamin C, an inflammation fighter. Garlic and onions provide flavor and also benefit the immune system.
Certain people with autoimmune diseases avoid the nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant. There is not a lot of scientific evidence that supports this, but some people feel better when they avoid them. Because they are laden with inflammatory nutrients, try to include a large variety of these foods unless they are contraindicated to your condition.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber, and B-vitamins. Read the Nutrient Facts of the Food Label and choose bread and grains with three grams or more of fiber per serving. Try the ancient grains such as quinoa, farro, bulgur, and oatmeal. Quinoa and many of the new pastas are gluten-free.
Beans and Legumes
Explore recipes for including a wide range of bean dishes. Black beans, red beans, white beans, pintos, garbanzo beans, and lentils to name a few. Beans over rice, Mediterranean bean soups, burritos, beans in salads are good ideas. Beans are a great source of protein, very high in fiber, low in fat, and inexpensive. Beans are great for digestive health, although if you are not used to eating them, start with small amounts to avoid colon blow.
Fermented foods support your gut microbiome. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough keep good bacteria in your digestive system to fight inflammation.
Herbs and Spices
Many options for adding flavor, antioxidants, and proven anti-inflammatory protection with herbs and spices. Tumeric, ginger, peppers, cinnamon, basil, rosemary, thyme should be used often.
Inflammation is linked to chronic diseases. Reducing inflammation with a delicious diet is healthy and possible. It may seem overwhelming initially, so go to my blog on Meal Planning for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet to learn more.