Best anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet

best anti-inflammatory foods
Written by Vicki Ma (Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian)

Anti-inflammatory eating is the latest diet trend and looks like it’s here to stay –  but is this really beneficial for us?

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to stress. There are a number of factors within our environment, lifestyle and diet that can trigger an inflammatory response throughout our body. Stress, lack of sleep, pollution and poor diet can all contribute to inflammation. When our body is constantly inflamed, it could become more susceptible to aging and other chronic conditions.

Inflammation and Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition caused by the breakdown of cartilage. Overtime, most older adults will develop some form of osteoarthritis in the joint. Whilst pain is the most common symptom, studies have indicated that inflammation plays a key role in the progression of this chronic disease.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

The good news is, there are certain foods that may help reduce the risk of inflammation or reduce the severity of inflammation present when it occurs. This approach of eating is called the anti-inflammatory diet. Having a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is not only beneficial for our health, but can also decrease our risk of developing chronic conditions.

To help you get started, here are a list of anti-inflammatory foods that you should consider eating!

Herbs and Spices:

Not only enhance the taste and flavour of meals but it also plays an important anti-inflammatory role. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric

Green Leafy Vegetables:

Are full of polyphenols and antioxidants, which play an important anti-inflammatory role.

  • Broccoli
  • Baby Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Kale

Legumes:

Are a type of soluble fibre which helps keep our bowel healthy and improve blood glucose control.

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Soy beans
  • Butter beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Kidney beans

Nuts:

Are rich in healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Studies have shown that these foods can help reduce inflammation.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamias
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts

Seafood:

Such as oily fish, contains a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to be an effective tool for managing inflammation. Aim to have fish two to three times per week for maximum benefits.

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardine

Oils:

Try to choose cold pressed oils as these contain higher amounts of polyphenols and antioxidants. Oils with high amount of monounsaturated fats also have anti-inflammatory properties. These include:

  • Olive oil
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Rice Bran oil
  • Peanut oil

Bottom line

Choose a healthy balanced diet that includes a variety of wholesome, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods. Minimise intake of processed foods high in saturated and trans fats which can trigger inflammation.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammatory markers and improve your overall health and well-being.

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References:

McLeod, C; Kubizniak, M; Bennett, K. (2016). Anti-inflammatory Eating: Recipes from your Dietitian’s Kitchen. [e-book] Australia: The Bone and Joint Clinic. Available through: National Library of Australia < http://www.bjchealth.com.au/> [Accessed 10 October 2016]

Sears, H. (2015). Anti-inflammatory Diets. Journal of the American College Nutrition. 34 (1), 14 – 21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2015.1080105

Calder, P.C, and Grimble, R.F. (2002). Poly-unsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 56, Suppl 3, S14–S19

Goldring, MB; Otero, M. (2011). Inflammation in Osteoarthritis. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 23(5), 471-478. http:// 10.1097/BOR.0b013e328349c2b1

Pawelec G, Goldeck D, and Derhovanessian E. (2014) Inflammation, ageing and chronic disease. Current Opinion in Immunology. 8 (29), 23-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coi.2014.03.007

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Disclaimer: the advice on this website has been intended for educational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or accredited practising dietitian.