We know foods can have different health benefits. But my favourite foods to suggest to people are anti-inflammatory foods. After all, we live in a world that’s designed to inflame us, and many people have health problems caused by inflammation. So let’s dive into the world of anti-inflammatory foods and nutrition!
What are anti-inflammatory foods good for?
First up – why would you want anti-inflammatory foods in your world? As the name suggests, they are anti-inflammation. So the theory goes – if you have problems caused by inflammation, anti-inflammatory foods may be able to help.
So what sort of problems can be linked to inflammation? Think:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Autoimmune disease of any kind – from eczema and hayfever to lupus and scleroderma
- Chronic pain and injury
- Acute pain and injury
- Mental health conditions including depression
- Digestive disorders
- Liver disorders
- Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Gum disease
Now it’s important to note – a little bit of inflammation isn’t a bad thing. Short-term, it’s needed to help the body recover from illness and injury. But long-term chronic inflammation is where the problems begin. And many of us experience this without even knowing it.
My favourite anti-inflammatory foods
So which anti-inflammatory foods are on the top of a nutritionist’s list? Let’s have a look:
- Berries and citrus fruit
- Green leafy veggies
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower
- Brightly coloured vegetables like beetroot and red cabbage
- Green tea
- Most herbal teas
- Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa/cacao content)
- Herbs including parsley, oregano, coriander and rosemary
- Spices including turmeric, ginger, chillis, cayenne and cinnamon
- Oily fish
- Plant-based omega-3s such as purslane, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Gut supportive foods such as fermented foods and broths
I recommend that my clients have a diet that contains about 50-80% anti-inflammatory foods, depending on their specific needs.
The best thing about anti-inflammatory foods is that it’s about adding in, not taking out. So if you have heaps of good stuff in your diet, it’s a lot easier than taking out lots of foods. You’re much more likely to stick to a plan that includes plenty of nutritious and tasty foods instead of one that cuts out everything potentially inflammatory.