Part 2: 100 Foods You CAN Eat When on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Chronic inflammation leads to chronic conditions.
As discussed in Part 1 of our three-part blog series, chronic inflammation is an enemy to the body. It creates serious health concerns that can cause permanent damage to the heart, kidneys, lungs, soft tissues, nerves, and more.
We also explained how chronic inflammation is different from acute inflammation. Acute inflammation works to heal the body, while chronic inflammation harms the body.
Although there are numerous reasons why a person might develop chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases sit at the top of the list. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues, resulting in inflammation.
When living with an autoimmune disease, it is important to learn how to manage chronic inflammation and reduce the risks that come with it.
Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we like to target the inflammatory process in multiple ways. We take the time to formulate individualized treatment plans for each one of our patients.
Some patients may need to incorporate prescribed medications and vitamin supplements into their daily routine, while others might require physical or occupational therapy to improve joint pain and stiffness.
Even amongst all the different variations, almost every treatment plan comes with one common suggestion - the need to make lifestyle changes, including food choices.
This is where an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET comes into play!
Following an anti-inflammatory diet is a natural way to decrease overall inflammation and minimize the chances of developing health complications that come as a result of chronic levels of inflammation. When treating autoimmune disease, dietary changes do not replace medical treatments that may be needed, but they can complement and make these treatments more effective.
What CAN you eat as part of an anti-inflammatory diet?
There are so many tasty options! The term “diet” is nothing to be scared of when it comes to anti-inflammatory food choices.
FRUITS: apples, kiwis, pineapples, red grapes, green grapes, cantaloupe, papayas, figs, mangoes, pomegranates, bananas, pears, melons
BERRIES: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, boysenberries, elderberries
CITRUS FRUITS: oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits
STONE FRUITS: apricots, peaches, cherries, plums
VEGETABLES: broccoli, avocado, zucchini, carrots, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, chili peppers, yellow squash, turnips, mushrooms, green beans, onions, celery, pumpkin, red cabbage, cucumbers
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, arugula, green cabbage
SEAFOOD/FISH: salmon, herring, tuna, cod, sardines, anchovies, scallops, mackerel, bass
MEATS: lamb, buffalo, turkey, chicken, duck, pork, veal
WHOLE GRAINS: steel cut oats, brown rice, couscous, farro, spelt, bulgur, quinoa, barley, millet, buckwheat
NUTS: almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, chestnuts, cashews, peanuts
SEEDS: flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
LEGUMES: chickpeas, green peas, red kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, small red beans, black-eyed peas, lentils
SPICES/HERBS: ginger, turmeric, cayenne, rosemary, garlic, basil, sage, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
OILS: extra virgin olive, avocado, flaxseed, walnut, coconut
Note: The next food options are somewhat controversial whether they contribute to inflammation or not.
NIGHTSHADE VEGETABLES: white potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes
LOW-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS: milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cheese
The key to eating an anti-inflammatory diet is discovering what works best for YOU. It is important to remember that the food choices of one person might not be the greatest fit for another.
Essentially, this diet is all about loading up on anti-inflammatory foods while cutting back on pro-inflammatory foods.
What exactly are pro-inflammatory foods?
Take a look at Part 3 of our blog series to learn more about what foods contribute to inflammation and should NOT be consumed when following an anti-inflammatory diet.