What Is an Anti-Inflammatory Eating Plan?
Fad diets come and go—but the anti-inflammatory diet is different. Even though it’s called a “diet,” it’s actually an eating plan for life that may potentially ward off serious diseases.
Inflammation is the body’s response to infection or injury. It typically subsides after the body repairs the damage. Sometimes though, it does not go away. This is called chronic inflammation, and over time it can contribute to the development of serious health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and pulmonary and neurodegenerative diseases.
Some studies have found that consuming too many calories and carrying excess fat—as seen in obesity—play important roles in chronic inflammation. Researchers have also discovered that certain diets or foods can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
An Eating Plan for Life
There is currently no single anti-inflammatory diet. Various sources offer their own dietary guidelines to reduce inflammation and protect against disease. Some spell out eating plans such as the Mediterranean diet, which studies show may help control inflammation. Others encourage the consumption of foods that contain phytochemicals found in certain fruits and vegetables, which have also been shown to protect us from inflammation in different ways.
More research about anti-inflammatory foods is needed before any standard recommendations can be made. In the meantime, most experts suggest the following:
- Be aware of how many calories you should consume to maintain your weight. Avoid eating more calories than your body will burn in a day.
- If you are overweight or obese, talk with your doctor about the best way to lose weight.
- Eat a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in calories and low in nutrients.
It can be tough to eat healthy, especially if you’re facing a chronic condition that impacts your diet. Find a doctor who can help.