In my previous article, I shared 8 Ways to Reduce Inflammation. The first and most powerful way to do so is to adopt an anti-inflammatory eating plan. Rather than viewing this as a short-term diet, it should be viewed as a lifestyle choice if you’re seeking to truly reduce inflammation in your body and begin the healing process.
Here are the general guidelines of anti-inflammatory eating. Keep in mind that some foods that may trigger inflammation in one person and not another, depending on several other factors including the state of gut health.
As always, you can get in touch if you’re looking for personalized support. These may need to be tweaked depending on your current needs, health status, and goals.
Anti-Inflammatory Eating includes:
Eating the rainbow every day
Aim to have at least 5-6 different colors (from fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices) on your plate throughout the day. Seriously…think: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple! Vibrant whole foods are packed with phytonutrients, which are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, both of which quench inflammation… the more colors the better!
A wide range of whole foods
It’s easy to get into a routine of eating the exact same 2 or 3 fruits or veggies – we’re creatures of habit, but it’s extremely important to be consuming a wide range of different whole foods each week. Greater diversity in these foods = greater microbiome diversity, which is a hallmark to a healthy digestive system that keeps you feeling your best.
Tip: Don’t always buy the same foods when you go grocery shopping. Be intentional about trying new and different foods. Not only will you be promoting health, but you may find some new foods you really enjoy!
Related: Gut Health
Sufficient fiber intake
The importance of fiber cannot be overstated, yet most of us consume less than 50% of the fiber we need in order to stay regular, prevent both minor and major health issues, and feel our best. I’m planning a full article all about this (coming soon!) to really break down the confusion around this topic. When you think of fiber, think fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds!
Tip: One way to get more fiber is to work your way up to 2 tbsp/day of ground flaxseed. For freshness, I prefer to use a coffee grinder to grind whole flax seed, but you can also purchase ground flax seed. Grind 1/4-1/2 cup at a time and keep tightly sealed in a glass jar in the fridge or freezer to prevent oxidation. (I also store whole seeds in the fridge.) Sprinkle on oatmeal, granola, salads, veggie dishes, or mix in a little unsweetened applesauce.
Anti-Inflammatory Eating excludes:
Processed, refined foods
Eating processed and refined foods is a sure-fire way to worsen inflammation. Not sure if it’s processed or refined? Here’s a simple way to think about it: if it comes in a bag or box, if it has a label: it’s a processed and man-made product: pretending to be food. Read this article for more.
Instead: Opt for the majority of your foods to be whole, fresh, vibrant, colorful healing foods!
I’m talking about food-like products that are loaded with sugar. These are pro-inflammatory, they suppress the immune system for several hours, and promote bacterial overgrowth and imbalances.
Food allergens and personal food triggers
Any type of food reaction (whether allergens, intolerances, or sensitivities) can bring on inflammation of the gut, which can lead to leaky gut. It’s also true that leaky gut can lead to food sensitivities and intolerances – it works both ways.
Not sure what your personal food triggers are? Let’s discover them together.
Gluten + Dairy: The Short Version
If you’re feeling chronically inflamed or already have inflammatory conditions, eliminating gluten and dairy can be a powerful step in the right direction. These can both worsen existing inflammation. If you’re going to have dairy, choose organic hard cheeses like parmesan.
With these 6 pillars, you will be well on your way to reducing inflammation and promoting vibrant health!
Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.
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