We talk a lot about foods that lower inflammation and how inflammation impacts the body. It’s the body’s defense mechanism against injuries and infections that causes swelling, redness and pain. It’s usually a sign of healing. But chronic inflammation can indicate a chronic illness like an autoimmune disorder, arthritis, dementia, heart disease or blood sugar concerns. That can cause ongoing joint pain or stiffness, fatigue, weight gain, skin problems, a weakened immune system and other problems.
The link between diet and inflammation is well known. Some foods trigger the immune system in ways that release proteins that can either fight or increase inflammation. Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets are forms of anti-inflammatory diets. They are both high in antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and probiotics while being low in processed foods.
If you have tried either diet in the past but not stuck to it, a most basic anti-inflammatory diet might be right for you. It’s gained popularity over the last few years in the wellness community, as inflammation is linked to many chronic illnesses. Much like DASH or the Mediterranean diets, it focuses on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, nuts, spices and healthy fats. There is also a focus on pro-gut foods like onions, garlic, oats and bananas to support the bacteria found in the microbiome. Bananas aren’t the best choice for most people with blood sugar concerns, but that varies from person to person, and the other foods are excellent.
Studies have found that the diet may aid mental health problems like depression and anxiety that may be linked to inflammation. Diet is not a replacement for medical help for mental health problems. But, like everything else in health, it’s good to support your mental well-being with food as well as your body!
What we love about this diet is how accessible it is. Many people find DASH too limiting. Others find that the Mediterranean just doesn’t suit their tastes. The Mediterranean diet can be adapted to any cuisine. But the anti-inflammatory diet takes the work out of it and already fits the American style of food.
We always pause when we hear the word diet, but this isn’t very limiting. If you’re concerned about your blood sugar, you probably avoid most foods the diet limits. It tells you to cut back on this that are fried, processed meat and carbs, added sugar, trans fats and excess alcohol. All of that is pretty sound nutritional advice. The diet gives you a healthy framework without strict rules.
As always, you should speak to your doctor before changing your routine. But, if you want to try a new diet, the anti-inflammatory diet could be a healthy option.