Whether you have a chronic illness or are interested in eating well to prevent disease, the

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Whether you have a chronic illness or are interested in eating well to prevent disease, the anti-inflammatory diet is gaining traction as a viable way to plan your meals in order to avoid inflammation that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, painful joints, and other ailments. Read on to learn about the components of an anti-inflammatory diet and what foods you should avoid.

Experts note that an anti-inflammatory diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, a heart-healthy way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. One study of more than 1.5 million healthy adults showed a marked reduction in risk of heart disease death, cancer death, and development of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
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Replace white flour products with those made from whole grains, and look for other ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet. Protein should be limited to fish and lean chicken, with red meat removed or severely restricted. Instead, focus on getting protein from beans, soybeans, and nuts.

Eat low or reduced fat versions of dairy products rather than the full fat varieties, limiting dairy consumption to high quality cheeses and yogurt made from natural ingredients. Soy also has anti-inflammatory properties, so consuming soy milk, tofu, and edamame can be beneficial. And don't be afraid to add spices like cinnamon, ginger, curry, and others, which can prevent inflammation and are a good way to add flavor to foods without fat.

Healthy sweets, such as plain dark chocolate, should be enjoyed sparingly, with other types of sugary treats limited. One to two glasses a day of red wine are fine under this diet, but other types of alcohol should be avoided. Also, consider drinking two to four cups of white, green, or oolong tea each day.

If you are concerned about avoiding foods that cause inflammation, you should cut saturated fats and trans fats from your diet. These harmful fats are primarily found in processed foods and meat. Refined carbohydrates and white flour, such as that found in pasta and rice, also cause inflammation. Instead, switch to whole grain

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