Anti-inflammatory food and healthy lifestyle

vegetables vs miracle food - comic

If you suspect that your body undergoes a chronic inflammation  – especially if you are tired all the time or if you have a chronic disease – some good anti-inflammatory eating habits can make a big difference to your health! Let’s dive into those!

Anti-inflammatory diet 101

I don’t think I’m gonna surprise anyone by saying that we must focus our diet on fresh and whole foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, oily fish. You can favor in particular:

  • Green vegetables (cabbage1, leeks, broccoli …)
  • Black and green tea2
  • Apples
  • Garlic and onions3
  • Watermelon4

cabbagebroccoli - drawingtea

But first and foremost, you need to investigate your eating habits and see if any of the foods you consume could be the cause of a chronic inflammation. To do so, start from a very simple food base. For example: only rice and green vegetables, for a few days. Then, every 2 days, reintroduce a food into that diet, and see the effects it has on you. The main categories to watch out for are:

  • Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts (especially peanuts)

question about eggs, wheat, milk - comic drawing

An anti-oxidant diet is also anti-inflammatory

Oxidation and inflammation often go hand in hand. Thus, observing an anti-oxidative diet  will also have an anti-inflammatory protective effect. So, avoid processed food, alcohol, excessive cooking… Then eat a variety of fruits, vegetables nuts and whole grains (you can even go for offal – yum). They will bring you the many antioxidants you need.

Wholegrain cereals

Although many cereals are not recommended because of gluten, the choice remain yours (I advise you to test without, then with, and draw your own conclusions). That being said, favor whole grains that have an anti-inflammatory effect, compared to refined grains that may have the opposite effect[Note]Whole and Refined Grain Intakes Are Related to Inflammatory Protein Concentrations in Human Plasma [/note].

Good fats

“Good fats”, especially omega-3’s, have a protective and anti-inflammatory effect:

  • Fat fish (sardines, herring, salmon)
  • Linseed oil
  • Nuts
  • Avocado

sardines - drawing

Anti-inflammatory spices

Many spices also have an anti-inflammatory effect:

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg

cinnamon

My little favorite: turmeric (curcuma)

Turmeric (a.k.a. Curcuma) is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. It can be eaten fresh or powdered – both work fine. On the other hand, its bioavailability remains rather low unless it is consumed with black pepper. So don’t hesitate to combine pepper and turmeric in all your dishes!

turmeric

Little thumbs up

Beyond food, some habits have an anti-inflammatory effect:

  • Exercising (except endurance)
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Hot Bath5
  • Being outside and enjoying the sun (for vitamin D, but not only)

yoga position - comic

Being overweight is a risk factor

The fat tissues trigger the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. As a result, obesity and overweight favor a state of chronic inflammation.

overweight - comic

Magnesium

There is a study that shows the anti-inflammatory effect of magnesium6 (Decrease in pro-inflammatory C-reactive Proteins). However others have found no impact on inflammatory markers7… In all cases, magnesium has other positive effects so you should try and see for yourself!

Conclusion

Anti-inflammatory nutrition can play an important role in your fight against chronic fatigue. It is close to the anti-oxidant diet in many aspects: it is foremost necessary to avoid inflammatory foods before even consuming others that have a beneficial effect. You now know the recipe: vegetables, fruits, good fats, spices and moderate exercise!

I try to limit certain meals to whole rice, some broccoli and a bit of olive oil! It’s not always exciting but it works pretty good so far. And you? What are your tips? Leave me a message in the comments.

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  1. Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Is Inversely Correlated with Circulating Levels of Proinflammatory Markers in Women
  2. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study
  3. Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties
  4. Watermelon consumption improves inflammation and antioxidant capacity in rats fed an atherogenic diet.
  5. The effect of passive heating on heat shock 70 and interleukin-6: A possible treatment tool for metabolic diseases?
  6. Dietary Magnesium Intake is Inversely Associated with Serum C-reactive Protein Levels: Meta-analysis and Systematic Review
  7. Magnesium supplementation, metabolic and inflammatory markers, and global genomic and proteomic profiling: a randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial in overweight individuals

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