Inflammation is such a buzz word these days. While inflammation in normal amounts is actually great for your body, too much inflammation can be harmful. This is when inflammation becomes chronic. There’s no surprise that certain foods can help relieve some of that chronic inflammation and work against a number of chronic diseases, like autoimmune diseases. So the big question is, do anti-inflammatory diets work?
Types of Anti-Inflammatory Diets
There is no one right way to eat when you are trying to fight inflammation. Several eating patterns have shown to be beneficial in reducing inflammation. Some of these eating patterns include:
- Mediterranean diet: This diet emphasizes the use of olive oil with a variety of fish & seafood, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts. It encourages less consumption of red meat, dairy, refined grains and refined sugars.
- Paleo diet: The Paleo diet is based on the diet of humans in the Paleolithic era. This eating patterns includes fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, all animal proteins.
- Japanese or Washoku diet: This diet is based on traditional Japanese cuisine that includes soy-derived products, fish, fruits and vegetables and umami to lower the use of sugar and other additives.
- Autoimmune Protocol: This elimination diet is a strict version of paleo that excludes nuts, seeds and eggs
Studies show that all of these diets show improvements in inflammatory markers. In addition, some of these studies, gut microbiome composition improves and other health markers like triglycerides are positively affected.
Components of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
All of these anti-inflammatory eating patterns prioritize specific compounds in foods that help fight inflammation. Some of these compounds include:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These essential fatty acids are mostly found in seafood. Metabolites of omega 3 fatty acids form bioactive compounds that help resolve inflammation. Additionally, metabolites also regulate the immune system to support the resolution of inflammation.
Phenolic compounds are found in plants. These powerful antioxidants help sequester free radicals to prevent oxidative stress. Furthermore, they also stop pro-inflammatory mediators from taking action in the body. Phenolic compounds are a large umbrella of which many anti-inflammatory compounds fall underneath. Some of these commonly known compounds include phenolic acid, flavonoids, tannins, quinones, curcuminoids and lignans.
Sulforaphanes are compounds found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. This bioactive molecule lowers circulating cytokines that promote inflammation in your body. Furthermore, sulforaphanes are powerful phytochemicals that support your body’s natural detoxification process.
What Anti-Inflammatory Diets Eliminate
While it’s important to include a variety of these anti-inflammatory foods into your eating pattern, it would be a disservice to leave out the foods that are inflammatory and what those do in your body. All of the diets mentioned above avoid the following inflammatory foods: processed foods, refined grains, processed meat, sugar, artificial sugars, fried foods and salt. So why are these inflammatory? Here are a few of the inflammatory foods and what they do to your body.
Fried foods contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGE). AGEs are formed in foods when they are cooked at very high temperatures, by way of frying, roasting or broiling. AGEs are linked to increased inflammation in the body.
Excessive sugar intake is linked to low-grade chronic inflammation, neuroinflammation and autoimmune diseases. Numerous studies connect sugar sweetened beverage intake to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
While these sugars were promoted in the past to help keep blood sugar stable and reduce the chance of weight gain, recent research has found otherwise. One study found that a majority of the artificial sugars on the market affect the gut microbiome composition and skew the balance to more inflammatory bacteria.
Anti-inflammatory diets do work. Most of them include beneficial compounds that help fight inflammation. Combining anti-inflammatory foods and lowering the amount of inflammatory foods you consume is the golden ticket to improving your inflammation. If you would like more help getting started on an anti-inflammatory journey, please reach out to schedule a free discovery call. In addition, for more tips and tricks for managing your autoimmune disease with diet and lifestyle, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.