“Inflammation” and “anti-inflammation” have become trendy topics. The anti-inflammatory diet has become especially popular. But many people are asking, What is inflammation? What foods are good for anti-inflammation? What foods do you avoid for inflammation?
This comprehensive article with break down common questions with easy to understand answers regarding the anti-inflammatory diet.
I’ve also included a printable anti-inflammatory foods list PDF! This includes 100 foods!
Lets’ dive into all things inflammation.
What is Inflammation?
To begin, what is inflammation? Simply put, inflammation is the body’s natural defense. It is a healing process which can result in swelling or redness. Inflammation occurs when white blood cells rush to an affected area to treat.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is temporary and necessary in our bodies. When we are injured, our bodies provide inflammation for recovery, for example, swelling after an ankle sprain. Additionally, inflammation is an immune response that keeps us safe from infections.
We need inflammation. Acute inflammation is not detrimental to our health.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is when inflammation becomes excessive. This is a prolonged immune response and can cause health problems.
Chronic inflammation is inflammation that lasts months or years.
Inflammation Side Effects
Chronic inflammation (long term inflammation) can contribute to chronic conditions, not limited to the ones listed below.
- Heart Disease
- Lung Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Neurological Conditions
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Eye Disorders
- Autoimmune disease
On top of that, inflammatory disease can lead to cancer development and progression. Data shows inflammation is a component of tumor progression.
Aside from these conditions, chronic inflammation can lead to not feeling well and uncomfortableness.
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Chronic Fatigue
- Mood Disorders
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
- Frequent Infections
How does Chronic Inflammation Happen?
There are many factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation.
- Persistent Infection
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Environmental Factors
- Unresolved Acute Inflammation
- Chronic Disease
As you can see, some of these are not controllable. However, we will focus on something that is controllable— diet and anti-inflammatory foods.
What is Anti-Inflammatory?
Now that we understand the consequences of inflammation, what is anti-inflammatory?
Anti-inflammatory means fighting inflammation by either reducing or counteracting inflammation in the body. Inflammation will happen, but anti-inflammation refers to lifestyle choices that work to reduce inflammation in the body to prevent chronic inflammation.
Ideally, anti-inflammatory practices can stop or slow down inflammation, leading to a lower risk of the above-mentioned health problems.
Diet is one way to manage inflammation.
What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet means adding foods to your eating plan that reduce inflammation and decreasing foods that increase inflammation. Many foods naturally contain anti-inflammatory properties while others promote inflammation.
In other words, the anti-inflammatory eating pattern focuses on consuming foods believed to decrease inflammation in the body.
Nutrition plays a key role in overall health and inflammation.
Likewise, gut health can affect chronic inflammation. Diet can directly alter gut health. So, diet can help reduce inflammation when we give our gut the proper foods. .
While an anti-inflammatory diet is not a cure-all, it may help manage inflammation and promote overall health.
Using the anti-inflammatory foods list PDF is a good place to start!
“When our immune system detects factors produced by our gut bugs and sees them as ‘foreign,’ it triggers an inflammatory response to help eliminate them. This is how changes in the composition of our gut microbiota can either contribute to inflammatory processes or calm down excessive inflammation.” – The Good Gut Anti-Inflammatory Diet
So, what foods are considered anti-inflammatory?
Top Components of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There are 4 components of an anti-inflammatory diet.
As a Registered Dietitian, I highly recommend incorporating these foods into your meal plan. That being said, it is important to find an overall balance of the foods you enjoy. Strictly sticking to just anti-inflammatory foods is not recommended.
Fiber has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. There are different types of fiber.
- Soluble Fiber: a type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water, forming a gel-like consistency in the digestive tract, and is associated with various health benefits, including improved cholesterol levels and better blood sugar control.
- Examples: Fruits, Vegetables, Pulses, Nuts, Seeds
- Insoluble Fiber: a type of dietary fiber that does not dissolve in water, adding bulk to the stool and promoting regular bowel movements, contributing to digestive health. This fiber supports beneficial gut bacteria.
- Examples: Eggplant, Peas, Beans, Onions, Apples, Oranges
- Resistant Starch: a type of starch that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon in its intact form. Unlike most starches that are broken down into sugar molecules in the small intestine, resistant starch behaves more like dietary fiber.
- Examples: Whole Grain Cereal, Oats, Barely, Black Beans, Soybeans
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can contribute to gut health and may have anti-inflammatory effects, influencing the overall immune system.
These are live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate amounts, confer health benefits by promoting a balanced and thriving gut microbiota.
Examples: Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is crucial for various bodily functions and overall health.
Omega-3s are considered essential because the body cannot produce them on its own, so they must be obtained through diet or supplements. They play a crucial role in reducing inflammation.
Examples: Fatty Fish, Flaxseeds, Walnuts
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants, known for their antioxidant properties and potential health benefits, which include reducing inflammation and supporting overall well-being. So, polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Examples: Berries, Green Tea, Dark Chocolate, Turmeric
There are numerous foods that can fit into these categories. Foods on the Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF offer at least one of these benefits!
On the other side of anti-inflammatory foods is inflammatory foods. These are foods that promote the unwanted inflammation.
Although these foods aren’t considered the healthiest, I want to emphasize the need for a balanced diet. It is ok to consume these foods in moderation.
So, what foods do you avoid for inflammation?
Inflammatory Foods List:
- Potato Chips
- Energy Drinks
- Deep Fried Food
- Processed Meats (hot dogs, sausage)
- Baked Goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
Health Benefits: Why Anti-Inflammatory?
So, why follow an anti-inflammatory diet? Following an anti-inflammatory diet can offer numerous health benefits.
First, anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation in the body and reduce risk of chronic inflammation.
As stated above, chronic inflammation is associated with various conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. By adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, individuals aim to reduce inflammation in the body, which may help manage or prevent these health issues.
Such a diet typically emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, promoting overall well-being, supporting a healthy immune system, and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Additionally, an anti-inflammatory diet may contribute to improved digestive health, better weight management, and increased energy levels. Ultimately, choosing anti-inflammatory foods can be a proactive and holistic approach to enhancing both short-term and long-term health.
It is important to note that most (if not all) anti-inflammatory foods have numerous health benefits. For example, fruits and vegetables provide fiber, hydration, and a ton of vitamins and minerals. While nuts and oils can provide the healthy fat our body needs while also being anti-inflammatory.
So, there’s no reason to not include foods on the anti-inflammatory foods list to your meal plan!
Should I Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Now that we see the health benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, you may be asking if you should be following this eating pattern.
Not everyone needs to strictly follow an anti-inflammatory eating plan. However, it’s recommended to consume many anti-inflammatory foods regularly.
Anti-inflammatory foods typically have added benefits aside from their anti-inflammation properties. So, even if you don’t struggle with inflammation, it is still a healthy choice to include these foods.
It is most important to focus on the big picture: an overall healthy eating plan. To sum it up, try to include a few anti-inflammatory foods weekly for their numerous health benefits.
Men’s Health & Prostate Health
As stated above, anti-inflammatory foods can help with unwanted inflammation. Additionally, many anti-inflammatory foods have added benefits like providing nutrients and fiber.
It is suspected that many cancers, including prostate cancer, have an inflammatory component. Therefore, anti-inflammatory foods may lead to reduced risk of cancer.
Above all else, it is believed a healthy eating pattern can lead to decreased risk of prostate cancer. This can include foods in the anti-inflammatory category and those not in this category. Many foods on the anti-inflammatory foods list fall into the healthy eating pattern category.
Next, there is a common condition called prostatis which is prostate inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce this inflammation. On the other hand, inflammatory foods can lead to further inflammation and discomfort.
Interested in more health tips? Download your free copy of my Ultimate Grocery List for Prostate Health.
Put it all Together: Anti-Inflammatory Foods List
Now that we’ve reviewed benefits of anti-inflammatory foods, you may be wondering what foods to eat to get rid of inflammation in the body. That’s where the Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF comes in.
This is a not a complete list of anti-inflammatory foods as many foods that are not listed can contain anti-inflammatory benefits. These foods are in no particular order.
100 Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Chia seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
- Brown rice
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Cannellini beans
- Green beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Dark chocolate (in moderation, with high cocoa content)
- Flaxseed oil
- Hemp seeds
- Cayenne pepper
This list gives you a lot of options. Incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet will contribute to an anti-inflammatory eating pattern. However, it’s important to focus on overall dietary balance and lifestyle factors for comprehensive health benefits.
Every food on the anti-inflammatory foods list does not have to be eaten regularly to obtain benefits. A mix of the above foods is recommended.
What can I drink to reduce inflammation? As you can see on the list, green tea, black tea, and coffee have anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, fruit or vegetable smoothies with herbs can provide many health benefits and reduce inflammation.
What is the number one best anti-inflammatory food? Unfortunately, there is not an answer to that question. An overall healthy diet that includes numerous anti-inflammatory foods is best. Our bodies love diversity. If there is a food you don’t like, you don’t have to force yourself to eat it but I would encourage you to find ways to enjoy new foods.
How do I choose anti-inflammatory foods? First, choose simple foods you know you enjoy. If you’re interested in increasing anti-inflammatory food intake, pair new foods with foods you already know you enjoy. This will encourage you to eat foods you normally wouldn’t. Above all else, don’t be afraid to try something new, get creative!
Check out the links below for some anti-inflammatory recipes!
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats
- Roasted Beet Salad
- Honey Baked Avocado
- Cinnamon Oatmeal
- Black Bean Salsa
- Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Trail Mix
- Ginger Turmeric Shot
Anti-inflammatory foods are an excellent way to decrease inflammation in the body. There are other lifestyle adjustments to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.
- Regular Exercise
- Stress Management
- Adequate Sleep
Each factor is equally important.
To summarize, reducing chronic inflammation is considered beneficial for overall health, as persistent inflammation is linked to various chronic conditions.
Adding foods on the anti-inflammatory food list is a great place to start on your anti-inflammatory journey. On the other hand, ultra processed foods may promote inflammation, so it’s best to avoid those.
Don’t forget to download the Anti-Inflammatory Foods list PDF below.
Unsure how you’ll fit all these foods into your diet? Check out my Meal Planner to easily include anti-inflammatory foods into your daily intake!
Printable PDF: Anti-Inflammatory Foods List
Below is a printable PDF list of anti-inflammatory foods!
Other Articles your may Enjoy:
Hansbro, P. (2023). The Good Gut Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Beat Whole Body Inflammation and Live Longer, Happier, Healthier and Younger. United Kingdom: Pantera Press.
Portions of this article were auto generated using GPT-3 by Open AI. Upon generating draft language, the article was reviewed and edited accordingly. ProstateCancerNutrition.com takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.