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Anti-inflammatory diet

The anti-inflammatory diet

Certain illnesses like lupus, Parkinson’s and arthritis can wreak havoc on the joints. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a great way to reduce the pain and swelling associated with these conditions. 

Philip Meeker, a chef and food educator at Brightseed, shares five tips for getting started on this diet.

“When you are eating the anti-inflammatory diet there are a few basic principles to keep in mind,” says Meeker.

1. Lower your sugar intake. “You can eat between zero grams to 14 grams of sugar on the anti-inflammatory diet,” says Meeker. “It’s not a lot. In fact, one fruit a day can give you that much sugar.”

This also means you need to lower your carbohydrate intake, because refined carbohydrates like white bread, French fries and white rice, turn to sugar in the body.

2. Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.  This includes oily fish like tuna, sardines and salmon.

“We don’t get a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in the Western diet,” says Meeker.  “We get a lot of omega-6, which are found in processed foods and vegetable oil, but you need to balance it out with omega-3. A one-to-one ratio is what most dieticians recommend.”

3. Eat plenty of whole grains and vegetables. Whole grains have more fiber than refined carbohydrates, which can actually help prevent inflammation. They also have less sugar.

And vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, squash and dark leafy greens are high in antioxidant vitamins and low in starch.

4. Go easy on the dairy. “Dairy is ok if you are having yogurt or kefir, anything that’s fermented,” says Meeker.  “But you want to keep a low quantity of that in your diet.”

5. Avoid processed food. Processed foods like chips and cookies contain unhealthy fats that can cause inflammation. So it’s important to eat low to no processed food.  Instead opt for fruits or vegetable.

“There are a lot of different anti-inflammatory diets,” says Meeker. “And you and your doctor can pick out the right one together. These diets can be challenging, but what’s great about them is that they work.”

For more helpful nutrition tips, click here.

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