What is an anti-inflammatory diet? I asked dumbfounded.
That was the first time I heard my holistic doctor talk about it. “An anti-inflammatory diet? What is that?”
It was a suggestion and an effective one at that. My mother had been suffering from some knee pain, inexplicable weight gain, and chronic fatigue, and was I talking about her issues with some friends -including Stan my holistic doctor- as if they were all separate issues, probably caused by age.
Turns out, they weren’t.
Not entirely anyway; mom was suffering from typical signs of chronic inflammation (think arthritis), and we hadn’t put two-and-two together.
I’m probably not the only one who’s ever asked that question; after all, not many of us can recognize inflammation in the body (it’s not just arthritis) or know what anti-inflammatory foods are. If you’re anything like me, you came here asking “ what is an anti-inflammatory diet? ” and possibly “how can it help me?”
Well, the good news is:
Research shows certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties and may help the body release chronic inflammation.
The even better news is that we collected that data and we’re laying it all out here in this post. So stick around to learn about the nutrients that present anti-inflammatory properties, our favorite anti-inflammatory foods, and everything you need to customize your own anti-inflammatory diet.
Inflammation is a natural part of the body's immune response and defense mechanism. When the immune system recognizes some harmful stimuli, it works to remove it and then pads the area with inflammation to start the healing process.
For example, if you twist or sprain your ankle, it may become inflamed for a few days or weeks until the body has returned to normal. This may also happen internally due to microbes, pollen, trauma or more - anything the body marks as a threat.
In general, this process can be acute or chronic.
If you’re interested in learning what is an anti-inflammatory diet? You must understand natural inflammation vs. chronic inflammation.
It starts rapidly and lasts only for a few days, like with the ankle sprain. It is characterized by apparent signs of inflammation like swelling, redness, heat, and pain. Once you’re healed, it stops.
If the inflammation persists, then you enter “subacute inflammation,” the period between acute and chronic inflammation which may last between 2 to 6 weeks.
Inflammation is meant to be temporary. Chronic disease is usually driven by inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is a type of slow inflammation process that tends to last between several months to years, and which can be detrimental to your health. Since it tends to lack noticeable symptoms, it could go unnoticed and grow into more severe conditions.
Diseases like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, depression, and cancer, have all been linked to chronic inflammation.
Some of the most common signs of chronic inflammation in the body are:
Inflammation can show up anywhere in the body, but it can be frequently found in joints and the gut.
Because these are the two most visible forms of inflammation they are also the easiest ones to use as a benchmark for the benefits of anti-inflammatory foods.
Symptoms like heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and can all be signs of inflammation in the intestines or the gut. Eczema, leaky gut, IBS, Crohn's disease, food allergies, celiac disease, and other gut-related conditions create the conditions for chronic inflammation.
Joints connect two or more bones in your body and they’re highly susceptible to inflammation. You can find them in your knees, ankles, feet, knees, hips, elbows, and more. The joints are surrounded by soft tissue that cushions motion and blows when fluid starts to get accumulated in these areas you can get inflammation symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Some causes of joint inflammation:
Don’t worry, below we’ll answer what is an anti-inflammatory diet?
Any substance, food, or medication that reduces inflammation in the body is anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory agents block the chemicals that cause redness, swelling, and pain in the body.
Ibuprofen, aspirin, and arnica, are all anti-inflammatory OTC substances for common inflammatory processes like sprains and headaches.
There are many pro-inflammatory causes in the body from trauma (like being injured in sports) to misidentification of organ, tissue, or cells as threats by the immune system.
However, studies show that poor eating habits increase inflammatory markers and elevate inflammatory responses in the immune system.
Diets with high saturated fats, trans-fats, or refined sugar consumption have been associated with higher production of pro-inflammatory molecules. There are anti-inflammatory foods and pro-inflammatory foods, as well.
The following have been linked to inflammation:
Even though there is no specific “diet” for people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), IBS, or Gout; there are anti-inflammatory foods and anti-inflammatory diet options for everyone.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet? An approach to healthy eating focusing on nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.
Research shows that some foods may help manage and control inflammation, reducing painful episodes and flair-ups.
An anti-inflammatory diet must be rich in antioxidants that reduce the number of free radicals in your system. Free radicals are reactive molecules that damage healthy tissue and may lead to inflammation.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet (or any diet, for that matter) without micronutrients? Certainly not an effective one. Here’s a list of vitamins and minerals you’ll need in your own version of the anti-inflammatory diet.
If you’re looking into defining and establishing an anti-inflammatory diet in your life, you can’t leave out these micronutrients. Here are a few different examples of what all the foods above, might look like in practice.
At Organifi we have been asking ourselves what is an anti-inflammatory diet? We know this lifestyle is one of the healthiest and most longevous ones.
Green Juice is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Red Juice leverages blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and acai with other antioxidant superfoods. Gold tea rounds it up with maximum-strength curcumin, cinnamon, the stress-killer Reishi mushroom and more. Soon, we’ll add a joint-specific mix to our catalog - stay tuned.
So, what is an anti-inflammatory diet? It’s a natural approach to eating based on foods that help suppress inflammation markers and reduce oxidative stress.
To reduce inflammation in the body, learn what is anti-inflammatory, eat more anti-inflammatory foods and fewer pro-inflammatory ones
Base your anti-inflammatory diet on whole foods with nutrient-dense profiles that are particularly rich in antioxidants — they minimize the work for the immune system. Avoid processed foods, refined sugar, excessive alcohol, and empty white carbs.
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